Remember the commercial? I do. In the old days, before digital re-mastering and all the wonderful things you can do to “clean up” sound we were delighted with the latest tape. Wonder if we would have felt that way if we knew what clarity was waiting around the corner and available on so many devices….
I have saved a bunch of CD’s to mp3 files and have started to develop mixes that I personally find pleasing. There are so many different ways to enjoy music–live, recorded, internet, radio, music videos etc. I find myself searching YouTube or I-Tunes for a song I hear a snippet of. I find interesting versions of old favorites and use music to help teach adults. All without reading music or playing an instrument! Most folks would say that digital collection of sound makes it all possible–I think that this qualifies as a miracle. I know that this is not the greatest innovation ever made, but I do marvel at the quality of the sound that small electronic devices create.
While these advances make the enjoyment of music richer and more full for many listeners, I wonder how some of the musicians and composers would feel if they knew what we do to their music, to their art! Imagine what Mozart or Charlie Parker or even John Lennon would think about how we hear them today. The making of music, the art of music and the love of music does find new ears every day and the technology that brings it can ensure that the music lives on long after the artists are gone.
Like Jambo, who wrote the article cited below, I have very eclectic tastes in music and like Jambo, I also like music that is made by musicians. That being said, I am fascinated by the experimenting that some folks are doing with sounds–NPR features these artists periodically. They seem like the impressionists or the early rockers who rankled the establishment and were on the cutting edge. Only time will tell if this is truly an art form or if it is something else. Because, art endures!
One issue I have with the electronic capture of music is that so much “clean up” happens that some of the uniqueness of each live performance gets lost. Yearning for that reality: hearing music as it is being created is an exhilarating experience. Perhaps that is why people still spend real money on concerts.
The other issue I have resulting from the seeming perfection on recorded music is that it could discourage someone from making music. How could I ever sound as good as my favorite singer? (Except maybe while in the shower?!) I hope no one ever feels that way. Since we sat around fires in caves we have been making music and the exhilaration of being present as the music is created is beyond compare. Don’t stop singing in the shower, the car or around the fire. Pick up that instrument in the closet collecting some dust and feel the reality. It is the only way for the music to endure!