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Deep Listening: A Composer's Sound Practice [Paperback]

Pauline Oliveros
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 Mar 2005
Deep Listening: A Composer's Sound Practice offers an exciting guide to ways of listening and sounding. This book provides unique insights and perspectives for artists, students, teachers, meditators and anyone interested in how consciousness may be effected by profound attention to the sonic environment .

Deep Listening® is a practice created by composer Pauline Oliveros in order to enhance her own as well as other's listening skills. She teaches this practice worldwide in workshops, retreats and in her ground breaking Deep Listening classes at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Mills College. Deep Listening practice is accessible to anyone with an interest in listening. Undergraduates with no musical training benefit from the practices and successfully engage in creative sound projects. Many report life changing effects from participating in the Deep Listening classes and retreats.

Oliveros is recognized as a pioneer in electronic music and a leader in contemporary music as composer, performer, educator and author. Her works are performed internationally and her improvisational performances are documented extensively on recordings, in the literature and on the worldwide web.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (8 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595343651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595343652
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 395,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Pauline Oliveros (1932) is one of America?s most important composers. Deep Listening® is her lifetime practice. Currently she serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy NY, Darius Milhaud Artist-in-residence at Mills College, Oakland CA and president of Pauline Oliveros Foundation in Kingston NY.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars practical and useful 16 Oct 2008
This book is very practical in its approach, incorporates many exercises to be practiced alone or in groups. A good book for anyone interested in refining their sense of hearing (i.e. improve their listening skills) especially musicians and composers.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a manual 3 Feb 2009
It seems to me that this book wasn't really intended for a general audience. It reads like a manual, a list of exercises to be performed when partaking in a Deep Listening study group, and the book contains very little background information or - as it says on the Amazon page - "insights and perspectives". Not so.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essentials of Oliveros' Excellent Teachings 17 April 2005
By Ramón Sender Barayón ( - Published on
Pauline Oliveros has devoted more time and effort to understanding how listening effects the life form than anyone else I have encountered. From the moment I met her some forty-plus years ago and we became both friends and colleagues, Pauline shared with me her profound interest in how environmental sounds affected both her musical performance, her composition, and her sense of self. This 'listening beyond hearing' led her to expand her understanding of how focused sound perception can function as a gateway into the moment, into the Now. Inasmuch as all sound occurs only in the present moment, it can function as a natural path to the meditative experience, taking us from focused listening (concentration and one-pointedness) to the wider, relaxed state of Deep Listening, as she has named it.

This book contains the summation of the author's Deep Listening experience in her research, composition, performance, workshops, retreats and classes. It includes as well some fascinating essays and quotes from her students. All in all, this compilation will serve as a valuable guide not only to musicians and composers, but also to anyone interested in a coming to a deeper understanding of themselves and their interaction with their sonic environment.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A New Age text 11 Jan 2010
By David Bennett - Published on
Boy, is this not what I expected. Having heard some of Oliveros's music as well as that of other artists available at the Deep Listening web site, I had not realized how much of her approach to the practice of Deep Listening involved straight-up New Age notions. This book offers descriptions of Tai Chi or Yoga (or whatever) practice--eg, the Swimming Dolphin ("...Repeat the same motion opening the next chakra, then the third chakra...then the eyes, the third eye, and then extend the arms upward with palms open gathering energy from the universe."), or the Dragon Tail ("The floating palm is sensing and gathering energy as it passes each energy center"). There is emphasis on posture for meditation ("Imagine a golden thread shooting out of the crown of your head to a distant star"), practices like The Heart Chant ("Can you imagine that the heart energies are joining together for healing yourself and others?"), and so on. Though there are passages about mindful attention to music and the soundscape, they are, for me, overwhelmed by the material on yoga, meditation, and New Age practices. No criticism is intended--it may be for you or not, but I felt that a more explicit description was needed here of what sort of book this is.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A meditation on listening 15 Jan 2006
By Linda O. Keeffe - Published on
Deep listening by Pauline Oliveros, is by far the most unusual book I have read concerning the art of listening. It is less a work on composition or methods of sound making, and more a holistic search for inner tranquility in order to hear the noise all around you. Although coming from the sound artist perspectice and probably less interested in reading a detailed work on sound practice, or a manual for producing art sound. I was a little disappointed at the lack of narrative in the book, it presents methods of meditation rather than methods of recording the sound around you. The most interesting article in the book, was the documenting of recording an outdoor experience by TJ Szewczak, this was fascinating and insightful, his description of recording the length of a river and the various changes in the sound space as he followed the course of its length is perhaps a result of being aware of the practice of deep listening. Perhaps her book highlights the possibilities of what one could learn if they attended the seminars or retreats on Deep Listening. Otherwise I think you have to be of a certain mindset to read a book on ways of meditation, which I feel this book is.
5.0 out of 5 stars Awareness-rising, useful 6 Oct 2013
By Daniel Prieto - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Besides being one of my favorite composers, Oliveros is a lucid author, synthesizing in this book an important part of her experience as listener and composer. Many of the exercises that she presents in her book are effective for developing awareness on the sound environment and the own sonic life. Besides that, this book has been inspiring for my own work as teacher and composer.
5.0 out of 5 stars Important For All Improvising Musicians 28 Mar 2013
By G. Marsh - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pauline Oliveros presents alternatives for musicians (and listeners), no matter what genre they are camped in. As a jazz performer, teacher, composer I consider her contributions to improvised music to be as important as Charlie Parker's, John Cage, etc. Her approaches are open to all and help bring about inner peace.
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