Morton Feldman’s String Quartets, Personal Development and Deep Listening Enhancement

Morton Feldman

Morton Feldman, 1926-1987

Those people who are not used to listening to Western concert music will find Morton Feldman’s String Quartets strange, awkward and hard to understand. His String Quartet No. 1 lasts roughly an hour and a half; String Quartet No. 2 lasts a bit more than six hours, which is a test of physical and mental resistance for both the interpreters and the listener.

For my listening experience, I chose Flux Quartet version of String Quartet No. 1, which they recorded for Mode. You may be wondering: “Did you really listen to that string quartet for an hour and a half straight through?” Yes, I did. And I have listened to it around ten times, two of them while meditating. Yes, I used Morton Feldman’s music for my personal development. “Wait a minute, are you also telling me that you’ve listened to the six-hour-long String Quartet No. 2 straight through as well? Are you out of your mind!?” No, I haven’t… yet. But I will soon. And no, I’m not out of my mind. I’m planning to listen to it as a kind of meditation experiment. My first listening will be a six hour session of “deep listening” while I’m meditating. If you are not familiar with the term “deep listening”, I recommend you read about Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016). The reason why I will listen to it that way is because I believe that by deep listening to music you can enhance your empathic listening to people. And empathic listening is the most important tool for those of us who work in the field of coaching, personal development, leadership and team building. Actually, it’s also important for anyone who wants to get by in the realms of personal relationships and language communication.

By the time I’m writing this article, I’ve been practicing meditation for 97 consecutive days (to follow up my meditative activity I use a free application called Insight Timer. This is an adventure I embarked since I followed the course “A life of Happiness and Fulfilment” by Raj Raghunathan, author of If you are so smart, why aren’t you happy. Mi intention is to practice meditation and deep listening in order to become more present in my day to day life.

If there’s anyone who would like to join in this experience with Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2, you will be more than welcome if you woud like to spend those six hours with me (I know, very unlikely to happen but anyway…). For this I recommend Flux Quartet version: excellent sound quality and execution!

Michael Thallium

Global & Greatness Coach
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