In another thread @jarek said:
Over the past decades, the ‘music’ that I listen to has been getting more and more abstract. I mainly listen to field recordings now such as those by Chris Watson - https://chriswatsonreleases.bandcamp.com/ … I’m not sure how ‘skillful’ this is though as I’m not sure what the Buddha meant when he talked about ‘music’ as in the 7th precept (of 8) - such as in:
As long as they live, the perfected ones avoid dancing, singing, music, and seeing shows; and beautifying and adorning themselves with garlands, fragrance, and makeup. I, too, for this day and night will avoid dancing, singing, music, and seeing shows; and beautifying and adorning myself with garlands, fragrance, and makeup. I will observe the sabbath by doing as the perfected ones do in this respect. - AN3.70
It is also unclear to me if the music part of this precept is about playing music or listening to music? I guess that it is playing music, as listening to music would’ve been covered by seeing shows in the time of the Buddha?
Which leads me on to recorded music. Listening to recorded music (I’m supposing) wasn’t around in the time of the Buddha. This is something that can now be done alone and at very low volumes and some recorded music might be considered quite skillful from a Buddhist point of view? I’m thinking of maybe the generative music of Brian Eno for example.
Maybe some of the minimalists work of the 1960’s and 70’s, especially those involving tape loops and the like would also be considered skillful? Many of these examples do not ‘fire the passions’, but can very much calm them as a precursor to meditation. And what about generative music compositions such as Longplayer?
And I would of course be remiss in not mentioning 4’33" by John Cage.
So I’m wondering. Where do others draw the line in terms of skillful and unskillful in terms of listening to … ummm … ‘sounds’?