Taking an epistemological stance towards music in a real-time listening situation entails a definition of music as a temporal and sounding art. This means that music cannot be described in abstract and detached terms as something “out there” in a virtual space but rather as something that impinges upon our senses in an actual “here and now.” Musical sense-making, therefore, should be considered a kind of ongoing knowledge construction with a dynamic tension between actual sensation and mental representation of sounding events. Four major dichotomies may be considered in this regard: the focal versus synoptic overview of the sounding music, the continuous/discrete processing of the sounds, the distinction between sensory experience versus cognitive economy, and the in-time/outside-of-time distinction. The author argues that a deliberate combination of these diverging approaches makes the musical experience a richer one.

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