Over the course of the twentieth century, there was a major shift in the way that audiences experienced music. The advent of broadcasting and recording technology brought a sea-change in the standard situation in which music was heard. Where, before, music was rarely heard in the absence of musicians producing it live, now one could listen in one’s living room to a performance that was actually going on thousands of miles away, or, stranger still, one that was already finished, and one could listen to the latter kind over and over again. Musicians and theorists had quite a bit to say about this shift. Generalizing somewhat, people tended to divide into two camps. On the one hand were those who were enthusiastically for recordings, arguing that they were a new tool for musicians of all sorts to both create new kinds of musical objects, and record and disseminate traditional performances. On the other hand were those who thought that recordings were a mixed blessing. While few condemned recordings outright, detractors expressed various kinds of concern about them, from the indirect effects they might have on live performance to their ambiguous status as somehow performance-like, yet also a quite different kind of thing.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Kania, A. (2009). Musical recordings. Philosophy Compass, 4, 22-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00194.x