1 : given to or marked by melancholy : gloomy
*2 : ill-natured, peevish

"Atrabilious" is a somewhat rare word with a history that parallels that of the more common "melancholy." Representing one of the four bodily humors, from which it was once believed that human emotions originated, "atrabilious" derives from the Latin "atra bilis," literally meaning "black bile." The word "melancholy" derives from the Greek "melan-" and "chole," which also translates as "black bile." In its original sense, "atrabilious" meant "melancholy," but now it is more frequently used to describe someone with an irritable or unfriendly temperament. A word with a meaning similar to that of "atrabilious" is "splenetic," which is named after the organ in the body (the spleen) once thought to secrete black bile.


Performance listening

When performers listen to works that are part of their own repertoire, they may experience a form of vicarious performance. For conductors, instrumentalists, and vocalists, arms, fingers, and vocal cords may subliminally re-create the gestures and performance actions involved during actual performance. In such cases, listening may be mediated by an acute awareness of the listener's body. For example, musical passages that are difficult to execute may evoke a heightened sense of tension -- whether or not the sonic gesture conveys some musical tension.

Kinesthetic listening

This form of listening is characterized by the auditor's compulsion to move. Feet may tap, hands may conduct, or the listener may feel the urge to dance. The experience is not so much one of `listening' to the music, as the music `permeating' the body. Kinesthetic listening is best described as `motivation' rather than `contemplation'.


Emotional listening

Emotional listening is characterized by deeply felt emotion. The music engenders feels of sorrow or joy, resignation, great satisfaction. Occasionally there will be overt signs of emotion, such as the sensation of a lump in one's throat, imminent or overt weeping, or smiling. The emotions may be related to current events in the listener's life, but the feelings are more apt to seem non-specific and to arise `from nowhere'.


Ecstatic listening

The term `ecstatic listening' is meant here in a very concrete and technical way. On occasion music will elicit a sensation of "shivers" localized in the back, neck and shoulders of an aroused listener -- a physiological response technically called frisson. The frisson experience normally has a duration of no more than four or five seconds. It begins as a flexing of the skin in the lower back, rising upward, inward from the shoulders, up the neck, and sometimes across to the cheeks and onto the scalp. The face may become flush, hair follicles flex the hairs into standing position, and goose bumps may appear (piloerection). Frequently, a series of `waves' will rise up the back in rapid succession. The listener feels the music to have elicited an ecstatic moment and tends to regard the experience as involuntary. Goldstein (1980) has shown that some listeners report reduced excitement when under a clinically-administered dose of an opiate receptor antagonist, naloxone -- suggesting that music engenders endogenous opioid peptides characteristic of pleasurable experiences. Sloboda (1991) has found evidence linking "shivers" responses to works especially loved by subjects.

Distance listening

Distance listening is characterized by an ongoing iterative recapitulation of the music up to the current moment in the work. As the music unfolds, the listener attempts to thread together past events and to build a complete scenario or over-view of the entire work. The distance listener is apt to make mental notes of the advent of new "sections" in the work. Distance listening may be likened to the task of memorizing a list of words. Beginning with a few words, the memorized words are iteratively repeated, each time adding a new word to the memorized list.

Directed listening

Directed listening entails a form of selective attention to one element of a complex texture; the listener purposely excludes or ignores other aspects of the music. For example, the auditor may attend to a single instrument for a short or prolonged period of time. Directed listening may ensue as a result of a listener's special interest, or may result from suggestions made by others. When a listener is concurrently viewing a notated score, it is possible that a visual attraction or interest in a particular aspect of a score may cause the listener to selectively attend to the corresponding sounds. The Norton Scores use a highlighting method to draw attention to various parts in orchestral scores. These scores thus dispose listeners to adopt a directed listening mode.

Memory scann listening

When an auditor knows a work by memory, a special type of signal listening called scan listening is possible. An auditor may approach a memorized work with a question concerning the occurrence of a certain event: For example, the auditor may be interested in knowing whether the composer has used timpani in a given work; or does the word "but" occur in the lyrics to "Row Row Row Your Boat?" The scan listener will mentally execute a speedy rendition of a work in order to answer a given question. What distinguishes scan listening from signal listening is that the auditor tends to be impatient: the tempo of the music can be doubled or quadrupled to advantage for the scan listener.

Innovation listening

A variant form of allusive listening is one based, not upon the recognition of similarities to previous compositions, but upon the identification of significant musical novelty. Innovation listening is characterized by a vigilant listening-in-readiness for a musical feature, gesture, or technique that is unprecedented in the listener's experience. Composers may be especially prone to engage in innovation listening.

Feature listening

This type of listening is characterized by the listener's disposition to identify major "features" that occur in the work -- such as motifs, distinctive rhythms, instrumentation, etc. The listener identifies the recurrence of such features, and also identifies the evolutions or changes which the features undergo. The "feature listening" mode may be considered superficially to be a creative union of two other listening modes: retentive listening (identification and remembrance of features), and signal listening (recognition of previously occurring features).

Fault listening

Fault listening occurs where the listener is mentally keeping a leger of faults or problems. A high-fidelity buff may note problems in sound reproduction. A conservatory teacher may note mistakes in execution, problems of intonation, ensemble balance, phrasing, etc. A composer is apt to identify what might be considered lapses of skill or instances of poor musical judgment. Fault listening tends to be adopted as a strategy under three circumstances: 1) where an obvious fault has occurred, the listener switches from a previous listening mode and becomes vigilant for the occurrence of more faults (this is a type of signal listening); 2) where the role of the listener is necessarily critical -- as in tutors, conductors, or music critics; or 3) where the listener has some a priori reason to mistrust the skill or integrity of the composer, performer, conductor, audio system, etc.

Retentive listening

The goal of "retentive listening" is to remember what is being heard. Retentive listening is most commonly encountered when music students perform ear training or dictation exercises. Unlike many other modes of listening, retentive listening is very much a problem-solving behavior. A composer in the process of improvising might use retentive listening skills to recall a fleeting passage or an appealing juxtaposition of notes.

Identity listening

A listener engaged in asking any "what is" question regarding the music is engaged in what might be called "identity listening." Typical "what is" questions are: What is this instrument I am listening to? Is that a Neapolitan sixth chord? What is the meter signature? What language are the lyrics in? Who might the composer be? What is the style of this music called? etc. Identity listening often employs allusive listening as a problem-solving tactic.


Reminiscent listening

In reminiscent listening, music serves to remind the auditor of past experiences or circumstances in which the music was previously heard or encountered. The reminiscent listener's primary focus of attention is on the remembrance of past events -- or more particularly, on the remembrance of emotions experienced in conjunction with the past events.


Allusive listening

Allusive listening may be said to occur where a listener relates moments or features of the music to similar moments or features in other musical works. (`This reminds me of a passage in Bartók ...'). Allusive listening may be viewed as a form of referential listening in which the referential connection is made to the domain of music itself. Philip Tagg (1979) has made extensive use of allusive listening as a tool for studying musical meaning. Tagg has created musical "dictionaries" by asking listeners to construct lists of musical works of which a given work reminds them.

Programmatic listening

While listening to music, many listeners imagine certain situations or visualize certain scenes -- such as rolling waves, mountain vistas, city streets, and so forth. In programmatic listening the listening experience is dominated by such forms of non-musical referentiality. Musical works that are overtly programmatic in construction may be assumed to enhance or promote such a listening mode. However, programmatic listening may arise even in the case of ostensibly non-programmatic works.

Lyric listening

In music containing a vocal text, a listener may pay special attention to "catching" the lyrics and attending to their meaning. Lyric listening is possible only when the music contains lyrics in a language which is understood by the listener. Where the lyrics of a work are well known to a listener, the lyrics themselves may act as mnemonics for a form of "sing-along listening."

Sing-along listening

This form of listening is characterized by the listener mentally "singing-along" with the music. This mode of listening presupposes that the listener is already familiar with the work. Distinctive of this listening mode is a highly linear conception of the work in which a replay of memory is synchronized with an actual rendition. The listener's behavior is not unlike that of a recording which, when started at any given point in the music, can continue forward to the end of the work. Where a work is particularly well known to a listener, sing-along listening may occur as a purely mental activity without the mnemonic assistance of an actual performance.

Signal listening

Truax coined the term "listening-in-readiness" to denote the state of a listener waiting for some expected auditory event. E.g., rather than laboriously count hundreds of bars of rest, a percussionist may recognize a certain musical passage as a cue or "alarm" -- signaling the need to prepare to perform. In effect, the music is heard in terms of a set of signals or sign-posts. Similarly, a dance couple may wait for a dance tune with a desired tempo before proceeding on to the dance floor. A more sophisticated example of signal listening occurs when listening to a work known or assumed to be in sonata-allegro form; the listener will wait for features in the music that signal the advent of the next structural division, such as the advent of the development section, or the beginning of the second theme in the recapitulation.

Metaphysical listening

Metaphysical listening is also similar to distracted listening insofar as the listener may not be especially attentive to the on-going perceptual experience. But the listener may be engaged in thinking about questions of some importance related to the work, such as: what motivated the composer to write this work? what does this music mean? why do I find this work so appealing? etc.

Tangential listening

Tangential listening is similar to distracted listening except that the listener is engaged in thought whose origin can be traced to the music, but the thought is largely tangential to the perceptual experience itself. An auditor is engaged in tangential listening when preoccupied with thoughts such as: why did the concert organizers program me this work? Isn't that the oboist who played at the last chamber music concert? I wonder how much money the guest artist makes in a year? Tangential listening behaviors may occasionally approach what might be called metaphysical listening:

Distracted listening

Distracted listening occurs where the listener pays no conscious attention whatsoever to the music. Typically, the listener is occupied with other tasks, and may even be unaware of the existence of the music.


Preface of I am a strange loop

看來, 我的閱讀能力, 特別是英文理解, 需要靠這兩本書綠皮+藍皮洗鍊一番了. 褪去書皮, 綠皮書意指 - I am a strange loop. 藍皮書 - The Emotion Machine. Douglas Richard Hofstadter 用字相當精鍊, 非 Native Speaker 尚待捉摸. Preface 提到了他的童年經歷, 妹妹的失語, 間接讓他開始接觸大腦方面的理論. 還有提到了他崇敬的 Kurt Godel 對他後設數學 (Meta-) 的影響力, 以及程式寫作. 年輕時在 Stanford 地下室操作唯一的電腦, Burroughs 220, 思索巨大電子腦的意識. 對於 I, 我, 或稱意識 (consciousness), 被認為是一個海市蜃樓的概念. 1980 年, Godel, Escher, Bach, 必選為普立茲非文學類的首獎, 一種新文體誕生. 然而, 雖然書很成功, 但對於大眾不能領略他在書中的言外之意, 感到有些遺憾. 2003, Ken Williford 與 Uriah Kriegel 邀請參與寫作意識的自我指涉理論的篇章. 當時寫作對象是對心智有興趣的哲學家, 這次的對象則是全民眾, 從逗趣圖片可推敲. Strange Loop, 意指 self-referential (自我指涉) 的結構, 是本書闡述的要義. selves and souls, 也可能是其中的 loops, 也包括現在與回憶, 類比與思考, 與翻譯. 驚!!! 28 歲就寫完了 GEB 的草稿...28 歲...28 歲...28 歲... 雖然我還沒能精確掌握他的內文, 心是充滿期待的, 兩位大師的原文作品, 不可錯過. 每逢勞心的夜晚, 挑個幾頁來查照生字, 放在心裡醞釀一番, 相信是有收穫的. 沙拉寶庫般的隱喻與類比, 日常生活中雋永的小道理, 讓我們更著迷於我們自身.


I like this figure, which reveals the finite boundary of this globe. Color may be the most favorite part, gradually changing from orange to dark. Day is transiting to night.


Rock Climbing

Rock climbing, broadly speaking, is the act of ascending steep rock formations. Normally, climbers use gear and safety equipment specifically designed for the purpose. Strength, endurance, and mental control are required to cope with tough, dangerous physical challenges, and knowledge of climbing techniques and the use of essential pieces of gear and equipment are crucial. Although rock climbing is an outdoor activity, many cities are home to indoor rock climbing gyms which can be formatted to match the physical (but not necessarily mental or technical) skill level needed for outdoor climbing.


the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also : the expression so substituted

Example sentence:
Aunt Helen would never say that someone had "died"; she preferred to communicate the unpleasant news with euphemisms like "passed on."

Did you know?
"Euphemism" derives from the Greek word "euphēmos," which means "auspicious" or "sounding good." The first part of "euphēmos" is the Greek prefix "eu-," meaning "well." The second part is "phēmē," a Greek word for "speech" that is itself a derivative of the verb "phanai," meaning "to speak." Among the numerous linguistic cousins of "euphemism" on the "eu-" side of the family are "eulogy," "euphoria," and "euthanasia"; on the "phanai" side, its kin include "prophet" and "aphasia" ("loss of the power to understand words").

委婉語,英文叫Euphemism。 (文章允許轉貼,請具作者名字:梁煥松)
越發展得成熟的文化,豐富多彩的語言,委婉語必定越多。就是因為種種的原因,不把意思講明白,而要用另一個含蓄的說法。中文的委婉語 ,一說出來,大家必會說:哦!我明白啦! 例如中國人很怕把「死」字直接講出來,於是有「去世」、「逝世」、「仙遊」、「往生」、「歸西」,廣東話有「去左」、「過身」、「唔係度」等等。
把「盲」說成「失明」;把「聾」說成「失聰」;把「跛」說成「不良於行」; 或近年大陸把「失業」說為「下崗」等等。英文中也有很多的委婉語(Euphemism),尤其是近年的講究Non-discriminatory(不帶歧視色彩) 的語言,經過傳媒和廣告撰稿人的加鹽加醋,以及注重政治正確(Political Correctness)的公務人員的「潤色」,更是五花八門,例如:

形容聾人,不說Deaf,說Hearing-impaired (聽覺有障礙);形容窮人,不說Poor,說Disadvantaged (得不到好處);形容二手貨,不說Second-hand ,說 Pre-loved(曾經有人愛過);形容性別,不說Sex(男性、女性的「性」),說 Gender(文法中,名詞的陽性和陰性「性」);形容貨品便宜,不說Cheap(使購買者「自我感覺不好」),說 Affordable(易於負擔)等等。

但我覺得有時做得太過份了!請看一個Lame(跛)字,越說越隱晦和累贅,有以下的「發展史」:lame → crippled → handicapped → disabled → differently-abled



a group of unofficial often secret and scheming advisers; also : cabal

Example sentence:
A resistance group has sprung up and is plotting to overthrow the tyrant leader and his camarilla.

Did you know?
"Camarilla" is borrowed from Spanish and is the diminutive of "cámara," which traces to the Late Latin "camera" and means "room"; a "camarilla," then, is literally a "small room." Political cliques and plotters are likely to meet in small rooms (generally with the door closed) as they hatch their schemes, and, by 1834, "camarilla" was being used in English for such closed-door groups of scheming advisers. The word is relatively rare in formal English prose, but it still finds occasional use in news stories. Some other descendants of the Latin "camera" include "camera," "comrade, " "camaraderie," and "bicameral."