2014 rise of technology

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2014 rise of technology

  1. 1. Week 14 •  1. Influence of technology on development of popular music in the 20th century. •  2. Late 60s early 70s progressive rock – ‘The Dark Side’. •  3. Case Study – The Velvet Underground. •  4. The Punk Phenomena – 1976-79.
  2. 2. Technology and the creation of subcultures The advance of technology within music in the 20th century has had a liberating effect – broadening creative and listening opportunities to a mass audience. At the same time it has reduced the sense of any mainstream in music – classical, popular or folk – in which we all participate. We can all remain within our chosen musical subculture(s) and remain closed to everything else. We live in a musical postmodernism where every thing is relative and value judgements are difficult to make.
  3. 3. Issues •  Raises economic issues – technology gets cheaper and easier to use - so new refinements and complexities are needed to keep selling the products. •  Raises creative issues – people using it use it less and less creatively – so much is possible we use it to do only the simplest things
  4. 4. Nineteenth Century Mainstream •  Idea that before the onset of the 20th century and the development mass culture there was more of a sense of a mainstream style. •  European art music – general consensus on style – led in the 19th century by Germans – Beethoven, Brahms to Wagner, Bruckner, etc. •  Popular music also had a general uniformity of style – Waltzes and other dance music, nationalistic music, Music Hall traditions etc. •  Technology of music widespread and fairly uniform. Based on playing instruments live.
  5. 5. 20th century fragmentation •  Music technology in 20th century both develops a mass industry and a mass market – but also separates and allows sub-genres and subcultures that detract from the mainstream. •  Today the mass music industry allows us to follow and consume only the sort of music we like – Rap, Classical, Medieval, Thrash Metal, etc. •  There is no mainstream – but a mosaic of subcultures in music – of which arguably all classical music is but one.
  6. 6. Pop Industry and Technology • Pop music industry predicated by technology and there is an argument that technological development, more than anything else, determines the success of the industry in general.
  7. 7. •  Phonograph (wax) to Shellac (78s) to Vinyl (45s and 33s) •  Crucial part played by the 45 vinyl single in the 50s •  70s album sales increasingly important •  80s 12 inch singles and CD singles introduced as the importance of the single declines •  CDs take over from vinyl •  90s DVDs •  Blue Ray DVD? Formats
  8. 8. Recording •  Phonograph •  Electronic mics - 1925 •  Electro-magnetic tape - commercially available from the late 40s •  Stereo sound developed for the cinema first available with tape in the 50s - by 60s home stereo record players become available - records increasingly in stereo
  9. 9. Cassettes and CDs •  70s saw compact cassettes widely available for home taping - particularly of radio - in-car radio/ cassette players and `hifidelity’ home stereos now easily affordable. Dolby enhanced appeal •  By end of 80s cassettes outselling other formats three to one •  Digital age and CDs from 1982. CD-Roms by 1990s. MP3s and Internet late by 1990s •  Now DVDs.
  10. 10. Recording •  The sound engineer/mixer `represents the point where music and technology meet’ •  sound mixers initially technicians - now `artists‘ •  70s and 80s opened up the creative possibilities of new technology and the musician/sound engineer/mixer could be one and the same. E.g. Brian Eno
  11. 11. Case of Brian Eno
  12. 12. Consumer Playback •  Gramophone, Radio, Reel to reel, Stereo hifi, in-car sound systems, compact cassette and radio, walkman, Ghetto-blaster (boom boxes), CD players, portable digital recorders, mini-disc players, home computers - all have influenced the music industry in various ways. Their sales an important part of the overall industry. Sony a company with interests in all areas.
  13. 13. Multitracking •  Les Paul and the 2-track recording. Tape Delay. Close mic-ing •  Late 50s slapback delay - Sam Philips •  Over-dubs - e.g.- Good Vibrations •  2-track to 8-track - Sergeant Pepper and Pet Sounds •  32-tracks and more
  14. 14. Electric Guitar •  Grows out of hawaiian guitar by Leo Fender 1936 •  Acoustic guitars with amplifiers in the 1940s - Charlie Christian a pioneer •  Les Paul and `the log’. The Les Paul Gibson •  1948 Fender Broadcaster and 1954 Stratocaster – humbucking pickups
  15. 15. Synths •  Analogue (subtractive) synths from the mid-50s •  Commercially available from late 60s - Here Comes the Sun - switched on Bach (Moog IIIc) •  1970s affordable but still monophonic •  Kraftwerk
  16. 16. Fairlight and Linn Drum
  17. 17. Polyphonic Synths •  Opened up many new possibilities •  Kraftwerk (Autobahm first all-pop hit) •  Other forms of synths mid 80s •  then - MIDI - digital revolution •  90s manufacturers trying to use digital technology to emulate classic early synths
  18. 18. Sampling •  The Australian produced the Fairlight – cost around £50,000 but could do it all and was an instrument that could be played •  Buggles - Video killed the radio star 1979 - Trevor Horn/Art of Noise •  Sampler allowed non-instrument sounds to be used musically - Kate Bush - Baboushka. •  Sampling could do away with live musicians
  19. 19. Buggles 1979 – First MTV video in America
  20. 20. Sequencing and more •  Sequencing, sampling and multi-tracking together on Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1984) •  All digital recording (DDD) Dire Straits Brothers in Arms 1985 •  Cut and Paste audio/sampling, Fatboy Slim’s Praise and Paul Hardcastle’s Nineteen
  21. 21. Economics of Technology •  It gets cheaper. Early Moogs £10,000 now equivalent technology £200. •  Early 60s multi-tracks could only be done by pro studios – now all digital 8-track costs around £400 with effects. Its possible to have all the technology to do a Sergeant Pepper for less than £1000.
  22. 22. Musical Marxism •  Means of production in the hands of the people - but now they seldom have the skills to use it! •  Previous generations would have filtered out poor musicians/singers and amateur music who would never have got to the public - now they can and do all the time.
  23. 23. Talent? •  Anyone can make a CD-quality 16-bit digital recording - there is no talent filter but the listeners ear. Also technology can correct anything! Quantising and Vocoder. •  Musicians/singers do not need to be trained - is this good or bad? •  Live element of performance ever diminishing. Especially since 1980s. Miming to recorded tracks increasingly the norm in pop industry.
  24. 24. New ways of making music •  Using technology’s strengths to inspire new developments •  Machine-like timbre of analogue synths developed into experimental pop that was deliberated mechanical – e.g. Tangerine Dream •  Software sequencers encouraged copying chunks of music - repetitive dance music where special effects had to maintain the interest - filters, etc
  25. 25. Subcultures •  From a high in the 1960s the pop music sales and progressively reduced – there is no real mainstream pop culture as there was in the 1960s. •  Music is a global industry that is in crisis – how to get people to pay for their music when it is possible to get free off the internet.
  26. 26. Subcultures •  In the post modern age – everything is relative and value judgments are not PC. •  We consume music in a very narrow range – each compartmentalised subcultures knows and cares little about each other. •  This was not the case in the 1960s – and even less the case in the 1860s.

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