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2014 rise of technology

Sep 03, 2014




  • Week 14 1. Influence of technology on development of popular music in the 20th century. 2. Late 60s early 70s progressive rock The Dark Side. 3. Case Study The Velvet Underground. 4. The Punk Phenomena 1976-79.
  • Technology and the creation of subcultures The advance of technology within music in the 20th century has had a liberating effect broadening creative and listening opportunities to a mass audience. At the same time it has reduced the sense of any mainstream in music classical, popular or folk in which we all participate. We can all remain within our chosen musical subculture(s) and remain closed to everything else. We live in a musical postmodernism where every thing is relative and value judgements are difficult to make.
  • Issues Raises economic issues technology gets cheaper and easier to use - so new refinements and complexities are needed to keep selling the products. Raises creative issues people using it use it less and less creatively so much is possible we use it to do only the simplest things
  • Nineteenth Century Mainstream Idea that before the onset of the 20th century and the development mass culture there was more of a sense of a mainstream style. European art music general consensus on style led in the 19th century by Germans Beethoven, Brahms to Wagner, Bruckner, etc. Popular music also had a general uniformity of style Waltzes and other dance music, nationalistic music, Music Hall traditions etc. Technology of music widespread and fairly uniform. Based on playing instruments live.
  • 20th century fragmentation Music technology in 20th century both develops a mass industry and a mass market but also separates and allows sub-genres and subcultures that detract from the mainstream. Today the mass music industry allows us to follow and consume only the sort of music we like Rap, Classical, Medieval, Thrash Metal, etc. There is no mainstream but a mosaic of subcultures in music of which arguably all classical music is but one.
  • Pop Industry and Technology Pop music industry predicated by technology and there is an argument that technological development, more than anything else, determines the success of the industry in general.
  • Phonograph (wax) to Shellac (78s) to Vinyl (45s and 33s) Crucial part played by the 45 vinyl single in the 50s 70s album sales increasingly important 80s 12 inch singles and CD singles introduced as the importance of the single declines CDs take over from vinyl 90s DVDs Blue Ray DVD? Formats
  • Recording Phonograph Electronic mics - 1925 Electro-magnetic tape - commercially available from the late 40s Stereo sound developed for the cinema first available with tape in the 50s - by 60s home stereo record players become available - records increasingly in stereo
  • Cassettes and CDs 70s saw compact cassettes widely available for home taping - particularly of radio - in-car radio/ cassette players and `hifidelity home stereos now easily affordable. Dolby enhanced appeal By end of 80s cassettes outselling other formats three to one Digital age and CDs from 1982. CD-Roms by 1990s. MP3s and Internet late by 1990s Now DVDs.
  • Recording The sound engineer/mixer `represents the point where music and technology meet sound mixers initially technicians - now `artists 70s and 80s opened up the creative possibilities of new technology and the musician/sound engineer/mixer could be one and the same. E.g. Brian Eno
  • Case of Brian Eno
  • Consumer Playback Gramophone, Radio, Reel to reel, Stereo hifi, in-car sound systems, compact cassette and radio, walkman, Ghetto-blaster (boom boxes), CD players, portable digital recorders, mini-disc players, home computers - all have influenced the music industry in various ways. Their sales an important part of the overall industry. Sony a company with interests in all areas.
  • Multitracking Les Paul and the 2-track recording. Tape Delay. Close mic-ing Late 50s slapback delay - Sam Philips Over-dubs - e.g.- Good Vibrations 2-track to 8-track - Sergeant Pepper and Pet Sounds 32-tracks and more
  • Electric Guitar Grows out of hawaiian guitar by Leo Fender 1936 Acoustic guitars with amplifiers in the 1940s - Charlie Christian a pioneer Les Paul and `the log. The Les Paul Gibson 1948 Fender Broadcaster and 1954 Stratocaster humbucking pickups
  • Synths Analogue (subtractive) synths from the mid-50s Commercially available from late 60s - Here Comes the Sun - switched on Bach (Moog IIIc) 1970s affordable but still monophonic Kraftwerk
  • Fairlight and Linn Drum
  • Polyphonic Synths Opened up many new possibilities Kraftwerk (Autobahm first all-pop hit) Other forms of synths mid 80s then - MIDI - digital revolution 90s manufacturers trying to use digital technology to emulate classic early synths
  • Sampling The Australian produced the Fairlight cost around 50,000 but could do it all and was an instrument that could be played Buggles - Video killed the radio star 1979 - Trevor Horn/Art of Noise Sampler allowed non-instrument sounds to be used musically - Kate Bush - Baboushka. Sampling could do away with live musicians
  • Buggles 1979 First MTV video in America
  • Sequencing and more Sequencing, sampling and multi-tracking together on Michael Jacksons Thriller (1984) All digital recording (DDD) Dire Straits Brothers in Arms 1985 Cut and Paste audio/sampling, Fatboy Slims Praise and Paul Hardcastles Nineteen
  • Economics of Technology It gets cheaper. Early Moogs 10,000 now equivalent technology 200. Early 60s multi-tracks could only be done by pro studios now all digital 8-track costs around 400 with effects. Its possible to have all the technology to do a Sergeant Pepper for less than 1000.
  • Musical Marxism Means of production in the hands of the people - but now they seldom have the skills to use it! Previous generations would have filtered out poor musicians/singers and amateur music who would never have got to the public - now they can and do all the time.
  • Talent? Anyone can make a CD-quality 16-bit digital recording - there is no talent filter but the listeners ear. Also technology can correct anything! Quantising and Vocoder. Musicians/singers do not need to be trained - is this good or bad? Live element of performance ever diminishing. Especially since 1980s. Miming to recorded tracks increasingly the norm in pop industry.
  • New ways of making music Using technologys strengths to inspire new developments Machine-like timbre of analogue synths developed into experimental pop that was deliberated mechanical e.g. Tangerine Dream Software sequencers encouraged copying chunks of music - repetitive dance music where special effects had to maintain the interest - filters, etc
  • Subcultures From a high in the 1960s the pop music sales and progressively reduced there is no real mainstream pop culture as there was in the 1960s. Music is a global industry that is in crisis how to get people to pay for their music when it is possible to get free off the internet.
  • Subcultures In the post modern age everything is relative and value judgments are not PC. We consume music in a very narrow range each compartmentalised subcultures knows and cares little about each other. This was not the case in the 1960s and even less the case in the 1860s.