Music is everywhere

Phil Ford

God, this made me happy this morning:

Thank you, Phil Gentry. Phil writes that musicology ought to have something to say about this, but he's not sure what it is. 

It's like this, which Jonathan has posted already to Dial M:
And this: 
And the takeaway is, really, that this is completely awesome.

This sort of thing is enabled by recording technology. Recordings make time malleable; fleeting evanescent things can now hold still for inspection, so we can discover the pitch content hidden in the most mundane patterns of speech and then write music that mines that pitch content. All you new-music types will have already considered that Steve Reich did this sort of thing a long time ago. But it's kind of cool that this arty and recondite notion has become just another part of the media landscape, largely (again) because of technology. These videos are made by kids whose only qualifications are a laptop and a lot of time on their hands; the gizmos you need to make these mashups are off-the-shelf things like Microsoft SongSmith.

Which reminds me. I've posted this before, but you can never see it too often:

It reminds me of something Richard Taruskin quoted from Paul Lansky, to the effect that the real revolution in electronic music wasn't the advent of electro-acoustic technology per se, it was MIDI, which democratized electronic music. You didn't need a mainframe computer* (and the institutional access that that implied) to make electronic music; all you needed was a Mac. "I don't think anyone can really appreciate the meaning of this unless they have spent six months getting a [mainframe computer] to go 'beep'." (RT, OHWM vol. 5, p. 501)

*Another effect of the technological age on music: Milton Babbitt is now subjected to the same mouth-breathing haters in the Youtube comments section as people who post videos of their cats. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Discuss.

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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