On Media

On Media
June 18, 2020 leonard slatkin

There was always music in my life. Whether listening to my parent’s string quartet rehearsing at home, going to the Hollywood sound stages, or attending recording sessions at Capitol records, I cannot remember a time when there was a sound of silence.

This chapter looks at how the world of communicating through music has changed from the advent of the electronic age. In particular, I try and sort out why the American marketplace abandoned classical music in the latter part of the twentieth century. There was a time when I was making six or seven discs a year. Now it is often just one and sometimes none.

Perhaps we have not figured out how to fully harness the new technologies that are out there. Or maybe the repetition of the same pieces has taken us to the point of saturation. What will be the next platform that musicians use to get their messages to the public?

Please feel free to ask questions or comment on the subject.

Questions and suggestions (2)

  1. Alan Chandross 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment and contribute to this project! As a music lover also interested in technology, recording engineering and sound reproduction, this topic is of particular interest. My view is that over time, people have gravitated towards more interactive forms of entertainment. As classical music tends to be less interactive, it requires more cerebral focus and engagement and at the same time does not typically take advantage of relatively recent advances in both audio and video technologies. Both of these make it less accessible and interesting to newer listeners, particularly those that are not used to critically listening and analyzing the music in real-time, as part of the enjoyment. Similarly, to those same people, as typical recordings tend not to leverage newer audio and video technology, it is ostensibly less engaging and interesting. If classical music recording, as a medium and art, is to stay relevant, I believe it will need to incorporate greater use of surround sound, and video, perhaps enabling the listener to hear the music and/or see the conductor from various musicians’ vantage points, for instance. I would be eager to read about how new technology is influencing classical recording, and what current trends and thinking are on this topic as the medium seeks to stay relevant in the future. Engaging the listener will be crucial in this effort – perhaps augmented reality in the concert hall, or virtual reality at home, can be used to put the listener on the stage? or to view the score in real-time as it’s played? or even to virtually conduct a recorded piece? How is technology being used, or contemplated , to bridge the experiential and engagement gap that newer demographics will continue to demand? There will always be – I hope and believe – a place for concert hall performances. But for recorded media, in order for classical to stay relevant it will need to actively engage listeners in new ways. What is being done on these fronts? That’s the chapter I want to read. Thank you, again, for the chance to comment.

  2. Robert Turoff 2 weeks ago

    Thanks, good Leonard,
    With recorded and broadcasted music, the time, money, exposure to disease I have saved from traveling to concerts I have spent listening to music. I have heard your and your family’s performances which I could never have.

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