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Listening to Improvised Music 231 Zazie, for example, preferred that her field recordings remained recognisable to her audience,17 and Andrea Neumann occasionally performed in a project, in which: We do this movie, and we make a little bit fun about this - we were pretending to be women from the 30s who listen with two-metre-long hearing aids to the nature. [...] Then we pretend to sound like water, or like the tree, or like herbs, or like the sky. However, despite its scarcity among practitioners, this mode of listening was more common, and often the first point of reference, among (non-expert) listeners, and there was not one musician I interviewed who hadnât experienced an audience member coming to them after a performance with tales of a âfilmâ, visual analogy or narrative that they had imagined during the concert. Whilst this was, of course, quite acceptable for musicians who encouraged an âopenâ interpretation of their work, even for these performers such imagery was rarely their intention, and, as Matthias MuÌller explained: I donât hear things like this. I donât hear raindrops when you play [makes popping air sounds noises]. [...] Sometimes people come after concerts and say âOh yeah, when you played this... I really saw a wood... I saw a forest in front of me and the winds coming through the treesâ, and... I accept it... they take something. But I donât think about it at all really, and I never, when Iâm listening to someone... think about things like this. Instead, MuÌller asserted that, for him, âSound is Soundâ, and implied that such musical materials should be heard free of any association, somewhat in the manner of John Cage. Cage, as in the 1960s, was important to todayâs improvisers on two main levels: in accepting any sound as musical material and proposing that these sounds (if not all sounds) should be heard and appreciated free of their everyday context, source and meaning.18 And, as Andrea Neumann explained, aside from the film project above: Iâm definitely influenced by Cageâs philosophy - especially that any sound is an interesting thing to listen to, [and] that [thereâs] not âMusicâ... and that the other things are just noises... but that everything can be included and can be an interesting thing. And Klaus KuÌrvers described how: Our ear is only trained to recognise what it knows, and the main role of our ears is to shut out disturbing sounds and to focus instead on what one wants to hear. I always say that thereâs a secretary in the ear who says âNo, weâre 17 18 See p. 174. See p. 42, and footnote, p. 70.