How does the phonograph change music forever


How does the phonograph change music forever

Just as the music service today is reshaping our relationship with music, Edison’s invention redefined the entire industry

These days, music is increasingly free – almost every word.

Now, if you decide to hear something like “Uptown Funk,” you can hear it in seconds. It is free on YouTube, can stream on Spotify or buy two dollars on iTunes. In the days when the record store cleared, the era of building a music library was over. Making music is easier than ever. Each Mac comes with a copy of the GarageBand, which is enough for anyone to record an album.

Are these trends for musicians, for us, or for the world of art?

Now the argument begins. Some cultural critics say our new world has liberated music, creating a wider audience than ever before. Others worry that it’s too boring to find music, and that you don’t need to save money to buy an album. We don’t care too much about music: no pain, no gain. “If you have all of the world’s music,” Nick Hornby, the novelist, asks in the “Billboard” column, “who are you?

Artists are also fighting for the number music. Many people think that this makes them become poor, because the radio and CD relatively fat royalties to streaming ridiculous small fees, when a fan out songs the band from their record companies may get one over one thousand of the p. Other artists disagree that offering music online for free will make it easier for a global fan base to actually fund you.

A confusing time, of course. But it certainly won’t be a puzzle compared to the cataclysm that ushered in a much older version of music. Back in the 19th century, it caused strife and joy because it changed the face of music forever.

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It’s almost hard to rebuild music before the phonograph. Back in the mid-19th century, if you wanted to listen to a song, you had only one choice: live. You listen when someone plays it, or you play it yourself.

In 1877, Thomas Edison announced his phonograph. It wasn’t the first device to record and play audio, but it was the first basic, reliable device: itchy and almost inaudible under modern standards, but it worked. Edison envisioned a number of USES, including doing business, “making baby rap cry” or recording “dead man’s words.” But in 1878 he made a prediction: “the phonograph will undoubtedly be used extensively in music. ”

He was right. Within a few years, entrepreneurs start recording the phonograph (mainly cylinder) on the city streets “coin” of the machine, where people can listen to a few minutes of audio: jokes, monologue, songs. They were immediately attacked; A Missouri machine pulled $100 in a week. The next obvious step is the sales person recording. But what?

At first, almost everything. Early phonetic writing is a wild hodgepodge. Jonathan Sterne, a professor of communication at McGill university, wrote: “the past” is this. “This is the star of juggling, people are laughing, people are telling jokes and art whistling.” One example is “uncle josh Withers visit to New York”, a small piece, visiting a big city through a country cottage, scoffing at urban customs. At the same time, after the civil war in recent years, the army’s music was all the rage, and the band recorded the work.


Soon, though, there were some pop songs and genres. In 1920, Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues” sold a million copies in six months, a huge blow that helped create the Blues. The jazz followed, and the “hillbilly” music. If people were to buy music, the producers realized that they would want some predictability, so music had to insert a known form. One surprise was the opera. In 1903, in order to eliminate the phonograph’s union-level juggling group, victor’s talking machine company successfully recorded the European tenor Enrico Caruso, so that the record company began to release copies frantically. “Why is Opera so great interest and enthusiasm that suddenly appears?” In 1917, a news reporter was introduced to the national music monthly. “Almost every layman USES the word phonograph.”

But the nature of the song is beginning to change.

First, it becomes more and shorter. An early wax cylinder – an Emile Berliner’s shellac dish in 1895 – could only accommodate two to three minutes of audio. But in the 19th and early 20th century, music was usually more attractive: the symphony could be extended to an hour. As they enter the recording studio, the performers and composers have unmercilessly edited their works. When stravinsky wrote his “serenade” in 1925, he created every move to accommodate A three-minute side of A disc. Two discs, four actions. The violinist Fritz Kreisler’s work was “put together by the watch,” as his friend Carl Flesch joked. Blues and country songs may divide their songs into one verse and two chorus.

University of north Carolina at chapel hill music professor marc Katz (Mark Katz) said, “three minutes of pop songs is basically the invention of the phonograph”, he is “capture voice: technology how to change the music” the author of the book.

What’s more, the early gramophone voice was terrible. The microphone was not widely used, so the recording was a fully mechanized process: the musician played a huge horn and used sound waves to drive a needle to etch the audio into wax. It captures the low end or the high end. As one critic scoffed, the violin turned into a “pathetic and humorous murmur”. The voice of tall women sounds terrible. So producers have to change their instruments to adapt to the media. Jazz bands used cowbells and wood blocks to replace their drums. Klezmer has completely abandoned tsimbl, a musical instrument, and the gentle tone cannot move the needle. (Mr Caruso’s great success is partly due to the media’s quirks: the male tenor is one of several sounds that reproduce quite well.)

The recording is very demanding. In order to capture quiet passages, singers or instrumentalists often have to put their faces on sound speakers. But, when a loud or high channel came over, “a jump back when the singer must play high C, because it is too much, the needle will jump out of the trough,” said Susan schmidt korhonen, say the authors of chasing and st John, a professor of history at the university. (Louis Armstrong was placed 20 feet away because of his solo.) “I got a lot of movement,” joked the opera singer Rosa pensell. If a song has a lot of Musical Instruments, musicians often have to congregate in front of the cones so compact that they may accidentally bump instruments into other people’s faces.

Plus, perfection suddenly matters. “On the vaudeville stage, a false note or a slight glide in your pronunciation no difference”, as a singer Ada Jones points out, in 1917 and “on the record player stage the slightest mistake is unacceptable”. As a result, the gramophone rewards a new type of music talent. You don’t need to be the most charismatic or passionate performer on the stage, or the most virtuoso performer, but you must be able to regularly pull off the cleanup. These demands create unique pressures. “It’s torture,” admits the violinist Maud Powell. “When your fingers stumble upon two strings, should they touch them? It will show up in the record and all the other microscopic accidents will show up. “In addition, no audience can absorb energy.

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Even changing the nature of the performance, the phonograph changed the way people listened to music. As one advertiser boasts, this is the start of “on demand” : “you want music, as long as you want,”. Music lovers can listen to a song over and over again, picking its nuances.

“It’s very different from music,” stern said. In the past, you might have been very familiar with its songs and structures. But you’ve never been able to get close to a specific performance before.

People began to define themselves by their own type: someone was a “blues” person, an “opera” listener. Another AD claims, “what you want is your music.” “Your friends can look like them.” Pundits are beginning to warn that “grammatically” is a growing obsession with buying and collecting records, leading people to neglect their families. A reporter joked: “does the phonograph lover have time to live in his wife’s life?

A strange new behavior emerged: listening to music alone. Previously, music was often highly social, with families gathering around the piano, or a group of people listening to a band in a bar. But now you can immerse yourself in solitude. In 1923, the writer Orlo Williams described how strange it was to enter a room and use a phonograph to find someone. “You’ll wonder, won’t you?” He points out. “You’ll try to hide your surprise: you’ll watch it twice and see if everyone else is hiding somewhere in the room.”


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