Serious listening 👂

What is it?
How often do you do it?
For how long?
And can you think of a better name for it?

To me, serious listening involves eliminating to the extent possible all distractions. No reading (even liner notes or Roon equivalents), etc.; just listening to music. The ideal situation is near darkness, some I’m focused on the music. With great music and a good recording, the effect is almost magical.


I would agree with that. I listen to some music for a while almost every evening, with lights off.

Almost every evening for about 1h30.

It is particularly enjoyable after a workout or a hard climbing session.

Although my system is working for at least 10 hrs most days, serious listening is limited to around 30 minutes, every other day or so.
I’m in favour of dim lights and no other distractions too.


Same same

Ahh…correction…my system works 3-4 hours late evenings past dinner time …

If I find I’m losing my enthusiasm for music, then serious listening is the answer. Concentrating on the music and avoiding any distraction. Doing this invariably leads to rediscovering that work you thought you knew. The danger of having “musical wallpaper” detracts from appreciation of the music. I certainly find I can’t, for example, read a book whilst music is playing - it’s too distracting - the reverse is also true.


Yes, a good vigorous use of the motor system is a nice balance to intensive exercise of the sensory system.

Turning down the lights is a good move.

And also - something Mrs. jimdog often does when focussing on the music :headphones: is to close her eyes

A yoga person I once knew called it Prat ya hara , withdrawal of the senses, iirc

Ideally listen to a whole LP from start to finish.

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Ah, just trying it now with Paul Bley, The Nearness of You.

Sounds good.

I listen to music essentially in serious mode, without doing anything else, and alone.
Around 1 hour per day , sometimes more.
But rarely an entire album. I prefer to listen to my favorite tracks on 3 or 4 albums, or discover an album I have not played often.

Yes, sometimes an album.
Or sometimes a personal playlist that is right for that evening.

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For my system to sound best I have to move the speakers because it is a dual purpose room: optimum speaker position is not optimum for other usage. So for me serious listening is when I move the speakers into optimum position, and move a seat into optimum position. Because it is a bit of a hassle (each speaker 48kg) I only do when plenty of time for listening, i.e. weekends, though not when we’re going to use the big (12ft wide) screen for a cinema experience. The remainder of the time, in non-optimum position, I switch in some DSP to reduce some peaks, making it sound good enough.

When I move house, planned after retirement I hope for a less difficult room, and room treatment will feature.

My serious listening (actually virtually all listening other when sampling tracks online to assess new music) is almost invariably whole albums, the music I like mostly not making sense and less immersive any other way - and it is impossible to get tired of listening*, often listening for 6 or 8 hours or more in a session when set up for serious listening. More casual times in non-optimum setup I might just play one album, or just as long - maybe all playing is serious listening!

*Sometimes I hear people say they get tired of listening after a while - which makes me think poor person, something seriously wrong with their system (or the music they play!).

Is jumpimg around the room, waving arms and making shapes serious listening? I do this a lot. What about pulling faces whilst listening?
Where’s the line between serious enjoyment, and serious listening?
I suppose its about relfection (not acoustic) and how far reflection through music takes one. In my case the answer is usually a question.

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Immersion for me: subdued lighting with no distractions. Eyes closed for an hour whilst I lay back and become one with the music.


Agree with some other views,lights off,no distractions and listen to whole albums,probably only get to do this twice a week.

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Most of my serious listening is towards the end of the evening. I have to sort out quite a few domestic issues like tidying up after dinner etc. The thought of doing that after a concentrated listening session is a distraction in itself. In other words, clear the mind.
Then as its approaching bedtime tiredness sets in. Then I wish I had more enegy to listen further. The last thing you want is your precious pick-up cartridge spinning in the run out groove by the dead wax as you doze away for 90 minites! CD safer if your enegy is flagging.
This raises the issue of playing a “favourite” piece one day and being suitably moved and then the next time it can leave you cold.
Funny how music can be this way. Or is that just me?

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Yes, so true.

What a piece of music does to you, or says to you, or what emotion the music might trigger in you, as a tone poem, as a flow of resonances, as a kind of mute story that speaks in sounds depends on what you’ve been doing and thinking, and trying not to think about, and what you’re expecting to have to do and what you’re hoping for, and more.

And those elements change every day, and adjust every hour.

So, as the inverted commas you put around the word favorite suggest, Paul Bley’s ‘Not One, Not Two’ might do it one evening, but the next day you might need Mozart’s Requiem - and the next day - nothing.


That’s the good thing about muaic. There is so much out there, even more so these days. You don’t need a massive LP/CD collection to enjoy it.

I just stick on StationToStation that usually focuses the mind.

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For me serious listening =

Lights off, beer in glass, with a copy of e.g. Who’s Next*, with the volume set at an appropriately (loud) level.

*I estimate I’ve got 15/20 albums which enable such a visceral experience. Eva Cassidy, Nightbird and Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall are 2 others.

Thankfully, my dwelling is detached but this doesn’t stop my neighbours knowing when I’m in this mode.

…and I have fallen asleep with Who’s Next playing very loud :sleeping: