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English definition

This is one of two interlocking pairs of terms (Natural/Cultural being the other one) related to reduced listening and to the Quatre Écoutes in Schaefferian theory.

- Ordinary listening goes immediately to the causality of the sound, its origins, as well as its meaning (écouter and comprendre in the quatre écoutes) but which does not reflect on itself very much (ouïr or entendre) or how it functions.

- Practical listening concentrates on a particular manner of listening. Take, for example, the sound of galloping. Ordinary listening hears it as the galloping of horses, but the practical listenings can lead to different outcomes: the acoustician seeks to determine the nature of the physical signal, the Red Indian hears "possible danger of an approaching enemy", and the musician hears rhythmic groupings. (Paraphrase of Michel Chion (1983). Guide des Objets Sonores. Eds. Buchet/Chastel, Paris. 1995 translation by John Dack/Christine North.)

Wednesday 16 February 2005, by Rob Weale