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Old 11th August 2014
Lives for gear
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Originally Posted by Mace Clef View Post
People have been listening to music on tinny monophonic radio speakers since day one. Charles Ives listened to one of his pieces being premiered through a little kitchen radio. For some of us, the audio quality is everything, but for an awful lot of people its the music itself that counts, not how perfect the kick sits with the bass. In EM its often about the sound; the sound is the music so we get frustrated when its full effect isn't heard. Bummer, but there it is.

There are things that bug me more though, such as poor voice leading. But, again, most people couldn't give a toss.

Anyway, its a massive subject that you've brought up in the OP. It can splinter in many directions; almost a metaphor for what has happened to our concentration this century. Our brains have been re-wired to require constant stimulation and to superficially assimilate new sources of information at a faster rate. We know more and yet we absorb less. I think anyone from the pre-internet era doesn't just know this but can feel the difference, can feel how our brains have changed. Generation Z have never known any difference. This isn't meant as a disparaging comment, just an observation.

I don't agree with the fallacy that there isn't the time to dedicate to listening to music. There is no more or less than there ever was. But concentration has undoubtedly been fractured, meaning that deep immersion in a concept album or symphony has been compromised by our relentless need for multiple sources of stimulation. Put on a John Zorn album, open up a blog, check email, watch a youtube prat fall with mute on, back and forwards between pages in a matter of seconds. Don't like this bit of a piece of music so drop the needle somewhere else, stop near a climactic passage to make a coffee, enjoy a few bars so put it on loop....all the time while skim reading, skyping and lamenting the loss of muscle tone through physical inactivity (so you read the 10 best exercises to do when stationary as Zorn winds down). Search furiously for new music, giving 10 seconds to each new youtube video before shuffling to the next thing.

Maybe the answer is to take music out of documentaries, out of stores, off of adverts, and restore it to its original place: as a sonic event placed between periods of silence that should be appreciated away from other stimulation. But you've got more chance of finding square mouse sh*t.

Personally, I find the most satisfaction in playing it. Wether its a piano sonata on my own or in a band or ensemble, that is where the heart of it is for me. An active platform rather than a passive one. If education was given a decent budget then I hope that more people would come to understand this, but I think maybe that's another subject.
Excellent post sir.