Stanley Lieber (stanleylieber) wrote,
Stanley Lieber

How to listen to Stanley Lieber's music

As a very young child I would lay upon the kitchen floor, staring up at the underside of a swivel chair as my mother chatted on the phone with my grandmother. The sounds of the neighborhood would wander in through the screen door and find their way to my ears. I would ask my mother where the music was coming from, and she would have no idea what I was talking about. If my aural memory is to be trusted, it was probably the sounds of construction workers and their tools that I was actually hearing.

Once I'd entered school, my educators began to think I might possibly suffer from hearing loss, as my attempts to "sound out" the spellings of words met with frequent, bizarre mistakes. For example, I would write that it was rumored George Washington had chopped down his father's cherry chree, or I might compliment my younger sister on her pretty gress. I recall the very moment it dawned on me that "sounding out" words spoken by people with a hillbilly accent wasn't going to get me far in terms of accurate spelling. Of course, when I tried to relate this epiphany to adults they feigned befuddlement.


"It's really very strange, Father, but I suppose I can learn to appreciate it's texture."


After a number of years I would begin classical instruction on the piano. At some point I would attain a level of proficiency suitable for reciting lengthy pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart in front of an audience, but the constraints of a written score were often distracting to the point of confusion. At times I would sit down to play a piece I'd been practicing for months, only to have it slip completely out of my mind. Only after purposely working out a few bars of improvisation could I return to the memorized piece and continue where I had left off. This happened to me in front of an audience more than once. However, I typically placed ahead of my contemporaries in competition, and consequently I often wondered how closely the judges were actually paying attention to our performances.


"It is remarkable how the reverberations of my hammer seem to suggest the gentle rhythms of mother's record albums..."


The recommended usage of Stanley Lieber's music is as follows:

  • Don headphones
  • Begin work on a drawing, your writing, or some other creative endeavor
  • Play on repeat*

* This method is also recommended for extended periods spent in the isolation of an office cubicle.

As you come to know the Stanley Lieber piece or compilation in question, you will begin to recognize approximately how far along your are, temporally speaking, as each sound escapes into your ears. In this way you will have some rough indication of how much time has elapsed since you began work. While it is entirely possible that you will lose track of time completely and find yourself all but consumed by the music, it is not recommended that you allow this phenomenon to supersede the work at hand. In cases of extreme distraction it is advised that the music simply be turned off.

Though I've never been able to achieve that, personally.


"Uh, sorry, you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it!"


In the end, it is possible you may gain as much enjoyment from dropping the recording in question underneath of your bike, and simply rolling over it. Many times it is difficult to tell whether you are the short guy with big hair and a glittery purple coat, or the chain-smoking pair who just want to get their tunes heard by the boss without having their asses pinched by same.

I'm really not sure where I was going with this.

Vintage photos by my mother

Tags: howto, inri, music, stanleylieber, theory

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    my mother was a grade school teacher and i used to spend time in the grade school library even before i was old enough to go to school. this is…

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