Audience reactions to the program notes of unfamiliar music
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Many classical music listeners attend concerts with some knowledge of the music to be performed, especially when the repertoire is familiar and comes from the Western music canon. In the case of music that is new to the listener and/or sung in an unfamiliar language, program notes may provide essential information; however, there is little understanding of what information should be provided or the impact of this information on the listener. This article presents the findings of practice-led research that sought to determine the types and modes of information that might enhance the experiences of both listeners and performers. Listeners (n = 29) attended a performance of unfamiliar music. The music was performed twice, with program notes shared only after the first performance. All respondents listened differently to the music once they had been given the program notes. Only 39% of listeners reported that the program notes had had a positive impact on their listening experience. More experienced listeners were far more likely to reject the program note information in favour of their own interpretation particularly if they had experiences of music-making.
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Blom, D.; Bennett, Dawn; Stevenson, I. (2016)In concerts of western classical music the provision of a program note is a widespread practice dating back to the 18th century and still commonly in use. Program notes tend to inform listeners and performers about ...
Developing a framework for the analysis of program notes written for contemporary classical music concertsBennett, Dawn ; Blom, Diana; Stevenson, Ian (2020)At classical music concerts, a program note is the usual medium for communicating information about the music to be heard and performed. Although there may be crossover of information, the program note is distinct from ...
The program note as creative knowledge and skills: shaping a collaborative interpretation of newly composed musicBennett, Dawn; Blom, D. (2014)In the classical music concert, a program note provides listeners with information about historical context, personal composer details and the musical thinking behind a work. For repertoire in the Western art music canon, ...