How to contribute

The Listening Experience Database (LED) actively seeks contributions from anyone who has found testimony describing experiences of listening to music. Our aim is to get as close as we can to people’s responses to their encounters with music in their daily lives, so we are looking specifically for accounts that were not written with the intention of influencing public opinions and ideas about music – we are not, for example, interested in reviews of performances or recordings, or other forms of published music criticism. The parameters of the project don’t allow us to ‘solicit’ responses specially created for the LED database, so – for example – we’re not looking for your own reflections about a piece of music you heard on the radio the other night or what you’re listening to on your iPod, or a childhood memory of listening to music. It is only through the contributions of as many people as possible that we can attempt to uncover patterns of listening, and we especially welcome contributions from private family papers that we would not otherwise be aware of.

Through necessity, LED has a tight definition of a ‘listening experience’: for our purpose, it means a documented engagement with a musical performance. This can be live, broadcast or recorded, and from any culture, era or location. It can also be of any degree of formality or informality – that is, it could be anything from a concert or ceremony to someone whistling an impromptu tune in the street. It must, however, be documented in English (or be in English translation).

If you would like to contribute to LED, please go to the homepage and create an account. You will receive an email when your account is activated, and you will then be able to open the submission form by revisiting the homepage and clicking on the ‘Submit an experience’ link on the right-hand side.

We have designed the submission form to accommodate a very wide range of detail – about the source (the book, letter, diary, etc.) containing the evidence, the listener(s) and the music that was heard – but this does not mean that you have to fill in every (or even very many) of the fields. In order to validate an entry, we do need the following information: a description of the evidence that contains the listening experience and the source where you found the listening experience.

Everything else is optional and should be filled in only if you are sure your information is accurate – don’t guess, and don’t feel compelled to do any background research to fill in the gaps. Even with a very detailed piece of evidence (for example, with several listeners and more than one piece of music), the form shouldn’t take more than about ten minutes to complete – simpler evidence will be much quicker.

When you have submitted an entry, it will be reviewed before being entered into the database. If we need to clarify anything with you before entering it, we will contact you by email. If you have any queries about your contribution, or wish to draw our attention to any mistakes, please email the database editors on, remembering to include your LED user ID, the record ID number and the date of submission.

To help you complete the form, we have compiled some detailed notes. Relevant sections of these notes can also be accessed using the ‘?’ button next to fields in the form. Sample completed forms are also available to download.

We are building a community of regular contributors to LED. These volunteers might enter material from their own family archives or their research projects or interests, or evidence from lists of known sources that have not yet been harvested for LED. If you are interested in contributing to this project on a more regular basis, or in learning more about the contribution process generally, please email us at