When people say apologetically that they don’t know anything about music it is quite often the case that they have a broad and deep experience of listening to music, with strong likes and dislikes, and in some cases a considerable ability to reproduce music previously heard or to improvise new music. What they really mean is that they don’t read musical *notation* or that they know insufficient *words* about music. Our predominantly symbolic way of communicating musical process has so distorted our general perception of what ‘knowing’ about music is, that somebody with a command of everything that matters in ‘knowing’ about music can be made to feel ignorant. Meanwhile the people who have charge of the symbols and words remain reasonably complacent that they do ‘know’ about music.
— David Keane in “At the Threshold of an Aesthetic,” from “The Language of Electroacoustic Music” ed. Simon Emmerson