Music in context

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Have you ever noticed how the playback context affects your feelings towards music? This morning Terri and I ran through the Englischer Gardens in the heart of Munich. Similar to New York's Central Park, the Gardens are more wild and, to my eye, beautiful in their naturalness. As we ran I listened to my favorite operas and it struck me just how the context of being in Europe, relative to enjoying the same in my listening room, changed my perspective of the music.

Here, where Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and many great composers lived and found inspiration, I could not help but be swept away with the notion that what I was seeing in the gardens must have been similar to what they saw, felt and enjoyed -and their music an expression of those feelings and emotions.

I felt closer to the music this morning than I have in years, and no, I wasn't listening to a high end stereo, just running and enjoying it through cheap headphones. Sometimes it's just the music itself, not the medium that matters.

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Paul McGowan

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