chapter  4
13 Pages

The performer’s experience

Positional listening and positional analysis
WithJohn Covach

This chapter focuses on positional listening as it arises among performers, though any discussion of the performer’s experience can only be understood, strictly speaking, from the perspective of the listener: the performer is thus a distinct kind of listener. From a performance perspective, it is also important to note that positional listening as considered is not the result of any imperfect positioning that may result from, say, a poor on-stage monitor mix or a faulty playback system during recording. Positional analysis attempts to capture, in music-analytical terms, the positional listening experience of the performer. For performers playing within a texture that is at least somewhat stratified, the listening position will often diverge significantly from the Ideal Listening Position (ILP). Positional analysis must thus account not only for the listening position within single sections, but also for the shift in the listening position-ILP relationship throughout entire songs.