A brief introduction to the importance of recording and listening technology, its role in the evolution of a variety of vocal styles, and the universally sought experience of emotionally authentic music.
Hundreds of years ago, judging the quality of a musician or vocalist depended upon how easily and accurately they could reproduce a piece by Bach or Handel. Whether playing or singing, it was expected that “good” meant proficient at hitting the right notes at the right times. But then some incredible advances in recording technology came about, that completely revolutionized the way artist and audience interacted. Introducing the microphone, a tool that has become as key to the musical artist as a paintbrush is to a painter. Enabling the recording of both extremely loud and extremely soft sounds, microphones allowed singers a much greater range of emotions (particularly more’ vulnerable’, quiet emotions) and encouraged heavy creative exploitation of the device, as individual artists sought to carve out new and unique niches in the sound world. This, in combination with the simultaneous evolution of listening technology into similarly intimate zones (the home & even the listener’s own headspace) has increased our emphasis, as a society, on emotional authenticity in a performance; We want to get inside the artists’ headspace the same way they are in ours, sharing an authentic expression of emotion borne of the artists’ desire to draw us into view of the humbling sphere of the human experience.
For Sound Cultures 2014.