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« Free Reads -- Lawrence Osborne on Che Guevara | Main | Ripped From the Pages of Friedrich's Sketchbooks... »

June 13, 2003

Free Reads -- William Berlind on Itunes

Friedrich --

We aren't the only people gnawing over the question of how the digitizing of almost everything may be affecting the arts, and our experience of the arts. William Berlind noticed that his daughter and her friends are listening to pop music via Apple's new Itunes service -- but they aren't downloading the songs. They're just listening to the free 30-second promotional snippets. He takes off from there to make many terrific observations.

Sample passage:

Technological advancement has changed the priorities of composition. The emphasis, which was once on development and theme, on modulations that took place over the course of a song or a musical piece, has shifted to sound design and texture—variables that can be piled up and reduced in a manner of seconds. It’s the difference between developing a musical idea (recasting it, changing keys and repeating it) and putting a sound through different filters, or playing a beat four bars with a bassline, four bars without. If our musical attention span could be diagnosed, we would all get treated for musical Attention Deficit Disorder.

Berlind's piece can be read in the New York Observer, here.



posted by Michael at June 13, 2003


Wpw---that really is interesting. Sounds like symphonies are done-for. The whole concept of an emotional connection to both the lyrics and the music must be absent,too---it must just be "the beat, you can dance to it"---like the old joke about American Bandstand. A good beat in pop music is great sometimes---but sometimes the most fulfilling and transporting experience of music is to hear the whole "story" for me---just listening to 30 seconds would be aggravating with music I liked.

Posted by: annette on June 14, 2003 10:17 AM

One of those terrific, makes-you-really-think pieces, isn't it? I wind up wondering whether all the arts are going to become like that -- disaggregated from what they once were, overproduced bits and pieces of this 'n' that.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 14, 2003 3:24 PM

I continue to be fascinated by cultural shifts due to digital networking that were predicted for DECADES, in some cases, by science fiction becoming reality.

There are some very deep cultural thoughts buried in that hated little genre, anyone who's read it deeply is not a BIT surprised by the endless 'go faster' that we're now seeing.

And it's only just started...

Posted by: David Mercer on June 14, 2003 8:00 PM

David -

Ain't it the truth? I've been rereading some Neal Stephenson lately. It's hard to beleive that "Snow Crash" was actually written in the EARLY 90's...

Posted by: jimbo on June 16, 2003 12:32 PM

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