The great beauty

You can just skip the text
and watch the 12 embedded videos,
they are selected and ordered
to be a training session.
Start from the one above!

Good morning,

This is the ultimate release of my method about learning how to listen to every genre of music.
Moreover I provide a reasonable explanation to why some people seem to respond differently to various musical genres or to different valuable bands in the same genre or subgenre.

In particolar it is guaranteed that with this method you will learn how to listen to

1) blues
2) classical
3) jazz and romantic/modern classical

the three genres I am interested in. 

In my model jazz, romantic classical and modern classical and some baroque are the same thing.

Why a training? Because every day I wake up I can listen only to one of the three, and it is random.
And this happens to all the people helped me in the experimental versions of the system in the last 8 years of discussions and trials.

Tastes change sometimes, and sometimes it hurts, expecially when you have spent some bucks for a ticket and you are the only one in the theater sleeping instead of clapping, so I started to find a way to get prepared at home before attending a live event. 

You are going to change too, and in fact you will change at the end of the post after watching all the videos (start from the one on the top if you haven't already), but don't be worried: my method is additive, not substitutive.

You will continue to appreciate the artists you already like and love, not only you will notice details you had never noticed before. You will appreciate them more than before, because you will be become conscious of anything they put in the music.

In my system snobbery comes from a reduced skillset, not a better one.

When you are picky it is probable that you are using only one of the ways of listening to music and not at its full potential. I provide a framework to understand which channell you are using and what to do to add the other twos. Then eventually you will boost all of them at its maximum.

It is not magic, there is a reason why you have preferences between artists in the same genre, I know it sounds cynical, but there is no magic vibration between you and the music that is missing, it is just your brain is paying attention to a direction and not the other.

You don't have to read nothing, just to listen to music you already know in a particular order.
It is a game, meant to be fun. In fact I suggest to stop reading, skip everything I write below and watch the videos, they are designed to let you learn and are your first training session. 

This is the method, listening to music in an complete way, like a meal: appetizer, main course, vegetable and fruit. Sometime you skip something or you eat candies only, but if you eat everything everyday you are ok.

Or if you prefer it is like going to a gym and exercize legs, chest and back.

Anyway if you want to have some written reference, I strictly recommend 
What to listen for in music by Aaron Copland
there is a certain overlap between his method and mine.

At the end you will get the same results, so you can use that too, but mine is faster and tested.

He uses classical music only as training, in my method the genre is not important.
I have a rap only training. I have a metal one, I have a MTV one, a jazz only.
Just open this website on your PC and not on mobile and look at the right side: there are some scripts I tested.

It is not important listening to different genres, but to different approaches to the same genre, because there are only three ways to listen to music and there are examples in each genre.

The blues mindset, the classical mindset, the jazz/romantic mindset.

Physical, intellectual, emotional.

1) body and soul
2) brain
3) heart

Listen to the video... it is your second exercize ;)
You did your first one listening to I lie by David Lang from the Great beauty.

This song can be appreciated by more than a listening strategy (it has more stuff in it going on at the same time) and it is a good warm-up. You can say it is polysemous.

And since I don't know you, it is a good starting point, because whatever is your background you can have fun with it.

It stimulates each one of the three strategies. But at the end you don't know which one is on.

Every morning I try to switch on each one of the three mindsets while I am making breakfast.

I call this warm-up listening a routine. You need to jump from the three artists of the routine randomly to get into the zone. You need to shuffle the routine, not to use it sequentially.

The first routine I tried in 2018 (and it is good) was a playlist of three classic rock albums, that it was clear to me I had difficulty to listen sequentially and so I tried to shuffle. 

1) Beatles - Revolver

2) Velvet Underground & Nico

3) Radiohead - Ok Computer

This is the third exercize, a song from the first, a song from the second, a song from the third.

It is not easy, I got dizziness and headache the first time I tried and I had to stop.
So I decided to use the first song of each album as an acid test to check which of the three ways of listening I was using in that moment.
For example in the very moment I am writing this line I can listen with pleasure only to Airbag by Radiohead and it is so good, I mean, you know it, it is good.

Revolver is blues.
Velvet & Nico is classical music.
Ok computer is jazz.

If you fail, it is ok, it is demanding even for me I invented it.

But let's try something easier and more affordable (because the differences are less marked):

1) Michael Jackson
2) Daft Punk
3) Beach Boys 

A song for each one that I am going to present you in this post.

The videos embedded in this post below are a routine: you can just skip reading and play them if you are not interested in the theory!

In this way you will activate all the three different listening strategies, and that's why there is a numbering everywhere.

Actually it is about a couple of years I do something similar to what I am explaining, but it is only during this quarantine I got the time to sort the ideas.


According to my method the different ways of listening to music that someone can turn on or turn off in some days are related to three distinctive predominant characteristics of the music texture:

1) syncopation (in circular patterns)

2) counterpoint or at least a linear melody

3) chordal harmony

where with chordal harmony and counterpoint we are not assuming anything about the context.

It could be pentatonics or 12 tone series for the linear melody, or it could be a simple I-IV-V or systematically tritones or clusters for the chordal harmony, tonal or modal or atonal it does not matter.

Syncopation is typical of Afro-American musics and is very rare in Classical music, at least in the Common Practice repertoire.

According to your musical genre or convention you can call it groove, clave, swing, funk, reggae, bossa nova, beat, rumba, rhythmic counterpoint, phasing, Indian tala, Balinese gamelan, "the soul feel", "that thing" almost undefinable but you know when it is there or not.

Call it FelaKuti-ness or MaceoParker-ness or Stravinskij-ness, if you want, it doesn't really matter the name.

I call it funk or blues or swing or groove according to context and use.

You don't have to go far, Michael Jackson had it.

In classical music, sometimes it is the role of the pianist or the orchestra conductor to add swing to music, as in this example:

To learn the ability number 2, you don't have to go far, it can be embedded even in very popular music, like Daft Punk.

I call it classicalcounterpoint, linear, horizontal, melodic according to context and use.

Do you want to learn ability number 3?
I call it baroque or jazzy or romantic classical or chordal, or vertical according to context and use.

Listen to this by Brian Wilson:

Seriously, my school ends here, you could just listen to these 4 videos over and over.

And then pick up Boulez or Trout mask replica or Ornette Coleman or Stockhausen or Tales from the topographic oceans or Zen Arcade or BB King or Wagner or Keith Jarrett or Pink Floyd or Taylor Swift, I don't care, they will have a much stronger effect than before.

Rock music is a controversial genre, the main variable you are sensitive to is the reason for well known rivalry between bands or subgenres.
If you learn to listen to rival subgenres or bands through exposure you are a better listener.

Very interesting are for example the cases of 

1) Beatles
2) Rolling Stones
3) Who


1) Metallica
2) Iron Maiden
3) Megadeth


1) Joe Satriani
2) John Petrucci (Dream theater)
3) Steve Vai

or really subtle and almost unexplainable, because it seems to me I am splitting hairs in four

1) Jimi Hendrix
2) Jeff Beck
3) Carlos Santana

In a certain sense Hendrix has the mindset of a blues guitarist, Beck of a classical composer, Santana of a mainstream jazz musician.

These are three groups of artists that  apparently manage the same material and belong to the same subgenre, but in average are better listened the 1 by people who subconsciously respond to syncopation and better hooked by riffs, the 2 by people who respond to linear development of music and better hooked by melodies, the 3 by people who  respond to vertical harmony and better hooked by chord progressions.

Arpeggios count as chords of course.

This song by Steve Vai is vertical in my model, even if notes are not played simultaneously:

Listening to this tune you are training strategy number 3.

If you prefer 1 and 3 it is likely that you are a classic jazz/ be bop fan, if you prefer 2 and 3 it is likely you are a common practice repertoire classical music listener.
If you have no strong preference  and enjoy all them you are a very flexible listener and you have no problems whatsover with free jazz and avantgarde like 20th century classical music. 

In particular way I experimented that if someone exercizes through exposure to recognize and respond to the threes at the same time it is virtually a universal listener: from punk hardcore to Berio, from delta blues to Cecil Taylor every kind of music is easily enjoyable.

By the way, you have your first four routines! Pick one if you want.

Do you want to learn to listen to blues, classical and jazz music? 
Listen to Beatles, Rolling Stones and Who until you get it.

Because in my model Beatles are listened with the same ear of blues.
Rolling Stones are listened with the same ear of classical.
Who with the same ear of jazz.

Of course there are exceptions, the "I like I can't get no satisfaction" does not count because it is a bluesy song. You have to like random songs by Stones to get in there.
Or "I like Blackbird" does not count too, this is classical music by Paul McCartney.
But if you have the blues ear you will appreciate any song by Beatles from Hamburg period to Let it be.

Listening to Beatles or Little Richard or Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington is a reasonable thing to do if you are interested in Afro American musics.

Not easy to replicate, but achievable after some days of effort:  when you are well accostumed for example to listen to

1) James Brown

2) Bach

3) Scriabin

you are at your maximum skillset.

The more you listen to James Brown and you enjoy his music, the more you are able to listen to syncopation and so on.
It is not something you get through studying, but through exposure, spending time listening to the three artists. 

What should you do to increase your listening ability in counterpoint? Listen to Bach.

What should you do to be better at listening to harmonies? Listen to Scriabin.

This is the essence of the method, suggestion of artists to listen to for the purpose of getting better in different skills.
It does not last forever, every morning I have to recover it through 1 hour of selective random listening to music that operates in the three directions.

So the idea is very simple: every day you should listen to music that stresses on the three techniques.
The routines are examples of artists you can mix according to your needs.

You can mix them up, they don't have to belong to same genre and you don't have to forcefully listen to something you don't like, just replace with something you like of  the same position from a different routine until you get in this flow state from which you stop listening to music, it just happens.

For example a playlist of 

1) Bob Marley
2) Ockeghem
3) Debussy

is a valid routine (a really good one).

1) Aretha Franklin
2) Mozart
3) Frank Zappa

1) Ravi Shankar
2) Van der graaf generator
3) Maria Callas

1) Gamelan music
2) Rossini
3) Bill Evans (jazz pianist)

are all valid routines

1) Bad Brains
2) Ramones
3) Nirvana

is a valid routine, no kidding, I used it this morning!

If you have watched all the videos your first training session is almost over, let's celebrate!