Playing with Imagined Others: Developing a Musical Ear in Conversation with Recordings

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This article presents an analysis of musical skill development through transcription, playing along with recordings, and score reading. Grounded in Becker’s understanding of music-making as the product of collective action and Mead’s notion of the self, I argue that musicians can form their musical ear and proprioceptive skills in playing in relation to an imagined musical other. The mechanisms through which imagined interactions form musical selves include use of contrast pairs, imagined reactions, and provision of exemplars to imitate. Recordings can take on such significance that they become the primary reference point for musicians’ concepts of sound.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-431
Number of pages20
JournalSymbolic Interaction
Issue number3
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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