Technology, Recording and the record industry

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The Analogue era

The Phonograph ("Voice writer")

  • Invented by Thomas Edison in 1877
  • Was a wax cylinder inscribed by a needle (The cylinders were originally tinfoil)
  • Was never primarily seen as a musical device - It was originally designed as a dictaphone.
  • The industry moved to make this playback only 
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The Gramophone

  • Invented by Berliner in the 1890's
  • This solved problems created by the phonograph (i.e the wax cyllinders were incredibly fragile)
  • Used shellac discs that played at 78 RPM
  • Gramaphone also solved the problem of of mass production by making a master copy on a metal disc
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The effects of recording on repertoire

  • Important works were re discovered as they were more readily available. (i.e. Vivaldi's Four Season's)
  • Increased familiarity with non western music
  • Encouraged greater experimentation
  • Repeated listening to a single performance
  • More attention placed on Non notational features. (In a way, gave music (Folk) 'back to the people')
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The effects of Recording on listening

  • Listening becomes 'acousmatic' (you don't see the performer) (Schaffer, 2004)
  • To compensate, music becomes more 'emotive', 'conative' (addressed to the listener) and 'Phatic" (Aimed at prevoking a reaction) (Jakobson 1986)
  • Repeated listening - can attend more closely to nuances and timbre of pitch and rhythm

(Not always easily recalled, but very easily recognised)

  • Lead to record collecting and stockpiling
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The Microphone

  • Invention coincided with the jazz era of the 1920's
  • Greater fidelity and signal to noise ratio
  • Became the vocalist's "instrument"
  • Led to new vocal styles like crooning
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  • 'Microgroove' records
  • Reduced surface noise
  • Developed during WWII, to be sent to soldiers as they were more durable than the old shellac records ("V" records)
  • Led to 'war of speeds' between Columbia records and RCA Victor's
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Analogue Tape

  • Made in Germany during WWII; It was discovered by the allies around the time they occupied Germany
  • Made editing and stereo play possible
  • Evntually led to multi tracking
  • Driven by the car stereo market. (You couldn't play something as big as vinyl in your car)
  • Led to the 1979 invention of the Sony Walkman
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