Introduction to Class #2: Exploring Place in Music

WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO:The place in which you hear music is a protagonist in the experience of that music. Even spaces which are meant to be neutral places in which to listen have a role in determining the experience you have of that music. Composers throughout the 20th Century played with ideas of the role of space in music. The context of where you are when you listen is important to the experience.



  1. Interesting – the idea of a space as protagonist. That’s right, of course, since the space in which you hear something can’t be divorced from the experience. So why do so many classical music presenters seem to pretend like the space has no role in the experience? They act like the concert hall is absent, like it doesn’t have a role, like it doesn’t help define the experience. Yet I think of the best experiences I’ve had listening to music and they all seem tied to a space. It’s like the music I like best permanently sears itself into my memories of the place in which I heard it.

  2. When the LA Phil moved from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to Walt Disney Concert Hall, the orchestra literally had a different sound because of the different (superior) acoustics of Disney Hall. This difference could be heard with eyes closed. But there was also a big difference when eyes were open — the large curved wood organ pipes, the warm cocoon feeling and greater intimacy of the interior space. For that matter, Ojai has a different feel since the redesign of Libby Bowl, not just in the appearance of events on stage, but also in the way the whole park is included in festival events.