Relation Between Music and Technology
Technologies have already become an intrinsic part of people’s everyday life and penetrated in all its spheres. As a result, it is not surprising that modern technologies have had a considerable impact on music as well. In other words, they have altered the ways how music is performed, heard, composed, transmitted, and preserved (Kramer, 1988). Technologies are involved in musical instruments’ construction, concert halls’ reinforcement, and the broadcast and recording of music. Moreover, in the present day, it is hard to hear any musical sound that was not shaped by technology to a certain extent. In the future, it is predicted that musicians will be replaced by robots, programs, and machine learning at all (Paul-Choudhury, 2019). However, although technology is currently changing music and its essence, a considerable number of experts and ordinary people are not satisfied with this tendency and believe that music in the past was better. Thus, there is a common statement that music production nowadays is all about technology and has nothing to do with music.
Several decades ago, music was made by musicians who had the skill to write their music and had the theoretical knowledge of music. It was impossible to imagine the production of music without musical instruments and people who knew how to use them. At the same time, they were not simply instruments of production – they were individualities with excellent skills and their charisma. For instance, during AC/DC’s live performances of “Highway to hell” (2009), “Thunderstruck” (2009), or “Let there be rock” (2009), and Rolling Stones’ performance of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (2012) and other compositions, it is noticeable that all members of groups are professionals who create an atmosphere all together. In turn, nowadays, people can easily make their music with software tools and with basically no knowledge of music theory. Despite the fact that modern compositions may suit the industry’s standards, they sound empty and repetitive.
In addition, the musicians of the past aimed to fill their works with beauty and make them meaningful. They were constantly in search of new ideas and interesting sounds, and at that time, technology enhanced people’s creativity. For instance, an experimental composition process became possible due to multitrack tape recording, and as a result, recording studios turned into artists’ one as musicians experimented with sounds. For example, Pink Floyd’s members were remembered “making chords up from the tapping of beer bottles, tearing newspapers for rhythm, and letting off aerosol cans to get a hi-hat sound” (Jones, 2017, para. 5). In Bohemian Rhapsody film, there is an episode when musicians put coins on a drum for a new sound (Singer, 2018). Instead of this, modern music producers can easily sit behind their laptops or PCs and make a beat or use an autotune, samples, pitch correction for a melody that, at the same time, maybe ideal but computer-like and “heartless.”
Another substantial difference between music in the past and a modern one is lyrics. A considerable number of musicians, especially rock musicians, wanted their songs to be meaningful. They believed that music should evoke emotions and make people think about essential social or personal issues. “Yesterday” (1965), “We are the champions” (1977), “Love of my life” (1975), “Still loving you” (1985), “Another brick in the wall” (1979), and “The show must go on” (1990) are excellent examples.
Not all modern songs are meaningless and not all songs in the past were full of sense, however, according to modern tendencies music aims to entertain people with fancy beats and lyrics become unimportant and thus insignificant and even vulgar. Some examples include “My humps” (2005), “Elefante” (2019), and “The Fox (What does the fox say?)” (2013). From a personal perspective, the best illustration of unprofessional and senseless modern music is “Chicken song” (2014). In general, music producers and general public should realize the negative impact of modern tendencies to save music as it is.
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