Usually, we use the word listener when describing the perceiver in a musical context. This, however, does not fit well with the premise of my research which is that music cognition is multimodal in nature. I am reluctant to use the word listener, since it favours listening over the other modalities. The composite spectator-listener (as used by Fells in this paper) includes both the auditory and visual modalities, and is much better than only listener but still lacks the other modalities. Audience, on the other side, is a modality-independent word, but restricts the music perception to a concert-like situation. Perhaps it is better to just use perceiver, even though this is a quite vague term.

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.

2 thoughts on “Spectator-listener”

  1. Don’t forget that “audience” and “audition” share the same root!

    The “performer” or “player” adds for himself another modality: haptics/force-feedback/touch!

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