From Necessity to Curiosity (And Back Again?)

The first recordings of music must have been as profound as the first parchments of written word.

In a world where recordings are taken for granted, we can’t imagine that there was a time when one couldn’t listen to Beethoven’s 3rd whenever the mood struck her. The best they could do is listen to a live performance. But before recordings it was a rare occurance for the orchestra, conductor, and the stars to align. If she lived in an isolated area, the chances were greater that there wouldn’t be an opportunity to hear Beethoven. At most, our listener could get some talented friends to play it as an arrangement for her or she could learn one herself. Now playing an arrangement of Beethoven’s 3rd is more of a curiosity than a necessity.

The first mp3’s of music must have been as profound as the first websites of written word.

Now imagine a time when one couldn’t have access to all music from a computer with internet access. Before that, stores, record clubs, library, and radio (besides word of mouth) were the means of finding new music. These are all still part of our means today but again, more of a curiosity. Being able to search the internet, especially Spotify or Youtube, is more of a necessity today to find music.

This seems to many to be the cut off point. But, in our lifetimes, couldn’t we possibly see another revolution make even mp3’s seem obsolete? Most likely not. But there is still a lot to digest in regards to how we listen today compared with how we used to. If books and websites have contrasting effects to the way we read and how our minds work, then the same has to be said of albums and Youtube to how we listen and how our minds work.

Perhaps what is now a curiosity needs to become a necessity again.


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