Friday, March 27, 2009
Lasswell's Formula: Making sense of the listening experience
There is a formula I learnt decades ago, when we studied the mechanics of human communication at college. Propounded by Harold Lasswell, this approach to understanding the communication process is actually beautiful in its simplicity.
Lasswell analyzed any communication by asking:
“Who says what, to whom, in what channel, with what effect?”
It seems an appropriate way of looking at the process of appreciating classical music as well!
We could freely translate that formula to:
Who (the composer/performer) says what (the music), to whom (the listener(s)), in what channel (the medium), with what effect (the impact).
Does this simple model of communication help to make more sense of that mysterious process of listening to and enjoying music?