Carpentron: Ear

The Listener

An attempt to appeal to the ear is a delicate matter, and one of central importance to the issue at hand here. The preferences of one listener may vary widely from the preferences of another. The ear is a more sensitive organ than the eye. It is much more easily offended. But its sensitivity gives it a direct link to emotions that images alone find it difficult or impossible to reach. If a picture of a deceased loved one might move one to tears, the sound of the loved one's voice will move one beyond tears. There is something about the temporal nature of sound - it cannot be frozen as a picture, but must always be in motion - that affects us deeply.

Our sensitivity to sound leads to a lack of universality regarding what sounds good. One person may prefer the hum of a car engine while another longs for the cacophony of a city street. There are some constants, but there is great deviation. In attempting to create art that appeals to the ear, the artist must not try to appeal to all ears, since such a thing is not possible, but must know what the tastes of his targets are.