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Will Music Lose Its Soul?


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I think it has lost its soul a time or two, or three since that prediction by Mercury. We have so much music coming at us these days we can filter out all but which resonates with our soul. When popular music was more limited, as in different genres took turns dominating the airwaves there were times I gave up on contemporary music and clung to God, guns and oldies.

 

When I think of the times I've felt popular music has lost its soul it has usually been in periods of early experimentation with new technology. When I think of the times it has recovered I think those were times of mastering the technology. On the other hand early experimentation can succeed simply because it is novel at the time, but when looking back many years latter it sounds petty bad.

 

At this time I think country music has lost its soul due to pitch correction, and it's been in that state for a very long time. I'm not much of a country music fan, but when I do hear it I think, "What the H? How can people listen to this?"

 

Good article, by the way.

 

Edited by Beck
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Freddie makes a good point as have others. Glenn Gould talked about it, so did Jim Morrison. John Lennon, referring to Revolution #9, said using loops will become the music of the future and people won't even have to learn to play an instrument.

 

Personally, I rely on music to be able to express what's in my soul and I think there are many others who also need this outlet. I don't ever see that going away.

 

With a lot of pop music these days being created by moving cells around on a spreadsheet, it's easy to think that it's lost its soul because the technology is creating the sound. Bohemian Rhapsody certainly benefited from the technology of the day but it was still Freddie and company doing the singing. George Harrison's All Things Must Pass contains massive vocals that were mostly done by Hari himself with Phil Spector manipulating the technology.

 

One situation where I would have liked to have access to the technology of today happened several years ago when I recorded a demo for a young songwriter who's sense of pitch was a little weak. I comped a vocal track from three or four takes and did the best I could with what I had to work with. The song was very good and a friend of mine sent it to a producer in New York that he had grown up with. The reply we got back was that 'the girl can't sing' and it left me wondering if he was so distracted by the pitchy vocal that he didn't actually hear the song. Had I been able to auto tune the vocal track I believe we would have had a better shot at selling the song.

 

The technology of today makes it really easy to get something recorded so a lot of music is being produced by non-musicians but, in the proper hands, the technology can help bring music to higher levels of expression. The modern piano was develoed in Beethoven's time because he used to break the old instruments when he pounded on them in an effort to be able to hear himself.

 

 

I heard an interview with Tom Petty discussing the subject where he asked 'wouldn't you rather make the noise yourself ?'

 

[video=youtube;CIJc3HQBUEI]

It's a great interview and he discussed the subject of the OP about 19 min in.

 

 

"Nothing was any worse than corporate rock…"

 

 

Edited by onelife
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I believe music will have lost its soul when it is no longer listened to. Music used to be major group event - musicians (minstrels) would come to town and folks would gather to hear. Those who could afford it played at home for family. Time goes on and recordings become available, followed by radio. Folks would gather around the radio or the record player and listen to music. More people were able to afford instruments and learned to play as well. People still went to see musicians perform live.

 

In the late 20th century and now in the early 21st century, we are beginning to see a fundamental shift. Music for many is no longer a center of focus, but rather it is relegated to the background. Thanks to social media (which in my opinion makes people less social) music is now 'streamed' instead of owned. People would rather rent music to play in the background, and not really care what it is that is playing. Live music events are on the slide, and even though the cost of purchasing an instrument is more affordable now than ever in the past, instrument sales are also falling. Perhaps the worst aspect is the cutting of music education for our children, and so as a society we again say music is not important.

 

If music looses it soul, it will not be due to technology or finances, or any of the other things that are often cited. It will be due to the apathy of our society who simply no longer care about music, or the people who make it.

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I think its more than just music. I think humanity is slowly losing its soul.

 

FB and other social media has watered down the personal experience to the point that an entire generation is now no longer able to communicate face to face but I see it with people my own age as well so its not really a generation thing, its a cultural phenomenon.

 

As we have discussed, the human element is slowly being removed from music and I think people like that "impersonal-ness" because it avoids the face to face conversation with their own emotions.

 

Yesterday, I was in hipsterville (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)... first I went to a packed Starbucks where most people sat alone staring at their phones or laptops. Most of them were wearing ragged shorts, tattoos all over their arms and legs, wearing sunglasses in doors, everyone avoiding eye contact. And then there were these two pretty girls with no tats, wearing summer dresses, both enjoying each others company... and it occurred to me that they were the only "normal" ones there... as in... people I could relate to. Perhaps I am part of a generation long gone but these women were younger than me so I have hope.

 

Then I got in my car and sat at a light a few blocks away and watched the hipsters crossing the street... again, the same scene... all wearing beat up clothing, tats all over their arms and legs, all wearing sunglasses, all on their phones, all lost in their own reality... something has been lost... not sure what it is yet, it may take another 20 years before we call it something but its obvious. Or maybe its middle age...

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I keep thinking about cycles. Things happen in cycles. Also, I think about supply and demand. There may be an over saturation of musicians in relation to current demand. In fact, as has been stated in different ways, the demand for actual human, instrument playing musicians, has declined. There are other things competing for everyone's attention. I hear stories on the TV news about the need for "coders". Over time there will be a shakeout, with people laying aside their instruments, and others never starting to learn to play. If, I'm correct in this, I'm thinking that there may be a time (after MY time) when people learn music again as a skill and a craft. With more highly skilled musicians, and fewer of them, maybe they will be valued again for their skill and creativity. Or maybe the mechanized mechanically generated music will begin to sound more human and there won't be a need for human music.

 

I will add that I believe musicians have a responsibility to study and learn their craft. Beyond just 7 or 8 chords on the guitar that allows them to be a singer-songwriter, an EDM creator or a Heavy Metal guitarist. I think that's a problem on the musician's side of the equation - the dumbing down of the music. If a musician rejects certain musical tools in the harmony/rhythm/melody toolbox, it should be because of aesthetic decisions, not because the musician is simply ignorant about how to use the tools.

 

In the technologically mechanized music I hear (in places like the mall) , the content is generally boring and simplistic. The computer wonks creating it, need to spend some time studying music maybe.

 

I hear that the robots are coming. More affordable robots who can learn to do a task by watching something visually rather than having to be programmed by a software engineer. I saw a story on TV where a guy said that if robots are able to communicate verbally - in other words to talk - they may replace people in areas like financial services. This technology could be making a massive change in our world.

 

We are in a period of technological transition and none of us can predict where it will all lead.

Edited by davd_indigo
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Music has no soul.

 

Musicians put the soul into the music. Some musicians don't put soul into it (sadly). Recording engineers may capture that soul or destroy it.

 

Although I've done quite a few sessions, I am predominantly a live player. I love the interaction with the audience, it's the most fun I can have with my clothes on.

 

I've heard quite a few technically competent but uninspired musicians playing live. If recorded, these people will make technically competent but uninspired recordings. And I've heard plenty of technically competent but uninspired recordings.

 

I've also heard very good musicians who can play inspired live get in the studio and become too careful, and trade their soul for no mistakes. They forgot that we PLAY music and that word is very important. IMHO If you aren't PLAYing it isn't going to work.

 

And when I think about a studio taking snippets of music and splicing them together, I think they can make the equivalent of a good collage, But the best collage will pale in comparison to a Rembrandt, Botticelli, Dali, Verneer, El Greco, Renior, Klimt, Turner, or other painted masterpiece.

 

In that way, you can make good collage recordings, but the best of them will never be as good as a thebest organic recording done with all the musicians playing at the same time.

 

At least that's my take on it - YMMV

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Digital Technology (CD's) rob the music of its spirit and soul. I agree with Don Potter. I think we've all bought some of our favorite albums that were originally recorded on (analog) 2" tape / a studer and got them now on CD and noticed something is missing here, It just doesn't sound or feel the same. Some of the best hifi available today is still analog. See what Don Potter has to say about the subject. he's been in the business from the beginning in both secular and the religious music industry.. if you're offended by spiritual and some religious talk don't listen. Don has lots of wisdom and experience to share.

Edited by bluesmann
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TREES

^^^^^^^^^^^

( !! trees !! )

( !! forest !! )

VVVVVVVV

 

MUSIC IS THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE !! )

 

a baby that goes from crying to smiles after mama sings coo coo is showing musical appreciation !! ) :)

:idea:

 

:music005:

 

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