#GoRadio 23: Reduced Listening

Stop and listen to the sounds around you. Try to tune into individual sounds. Describe each sound without referring to its cause or meaning. Think about its pitch, tempo, volume and so on instead. Write these down. Michel Chion, the film theorist and composer, writes: 

“A session of reduced listening is quite an instructive experience. Participants quickly realize that in speaking about sounds they shuttle constantly between a sound’s actual content, its source, and its meaning. They find out that it is no mean task to speak about sounds in themselves, if the listener is forced to describe them independently of any cause, meaning or effect. And language we employ as a matter of habit suddenly reveals all its ambiguity: “This squeaky sound,” you say, but in what sense? Is “squeaking” an image only, or is it rather a word that refers to a source that squeaks, or to an unpleasant effect?”