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How Has The Informational Age Influence Music

As we enter a new millennia, so will our music. The entire field of music has experienced dramatic changes due to the post- industrial/ informational age. This paper will focus primarily on the expansion of musical research and the development of new tools to aid in learning. The overall reaction details innovations that enhance and expand the depths of music. In the 1970’s, the US government underwent a secret project making an underground port of communication. This project created what we now know as the Internet.

The term Internet is often used to describe this enormous international network of computers. The word “internet” literally means, “network of networks”. In itself, the Internet is comprised of thousands of smaller regional networks scattered throughout the globe. On any given day, it connects roughly 25 million users in over 50 countries. One major importance is that The World Wide Web is accessed through the Internet. The term Internet and World Wide Web are not synonymous, infact confusing as they might seem, they both have different meanings.

The Web refers to a body of information- an abstract space of knowledge, whereas the Internet is the actual hardware- the physical components which consist of giant masses of cables, satellites, and computers. Recent technological advances such as T3 lines, fiber optics, ground cables, and satellites have increased the transfer of information by 347 times. The most common access to the Internet and the World Wide Web is through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). There are both local and national ISP’s. The only basic requirements to access ISP’s are a computer, modem, and a telephone.

Just by clicking a mouse, one can discover a mass amount of treasure from sources like libraries, databases, web sites, and other people. New technology allows musicians to work time efficiently. For example, I was given an assignment where I had to translate and listen to recordings of three German Lieder songs. In the past, my research consisted of a trip to the library. Once I got there, I spent an expendable amount of time looking up any possible translations. Often times, the library did not have any translations. So my only option was to pull out a foreign language dictionary and translate word for word.

This tedious process would take me anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours per song. Also, I’d like to mention the fact that I was still required to listen to recordings. If I was lucky, it would cost me a trip to the music library but often times I’ve experienced lost hours tracking down a certain piece either by physically going to a record store like Blockbuster Music or calling some music friends to see if they had any recordings. If I weren’t pressured for time, I would have never considered the Internet as a precious source of information.

When I finished that assignment, I found myself satisfied. I was proud of myself because I did it in less than an hour and I didn’t have to drive out to the city to find it. I’ve learned that the World Wide Web is a valuable tool. Infact, musicians now have access to many tools such as music notation software, MIDI, and multimedia. These tools provide musicians a wide variety of composing a new array of musical literature and at the same time, a new thinking process. A very handy tool that I’d like to first mention is Finale- a compositional software designed to notate musical scores.

Music notation software like Finale, allows musicians to legibly present their work in a professional manner. Finale also allows composers to listen to their compositions, one impressive feature being the addition and subtraction of instrumental voices. The most widely used feature is its transposition abilities. Once a composition is entered into the computer, one simple command can transpose an entire piece in different key in a matter of seconds. Another excellent contraption worth mentioning is MIDI. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.

What this contraption offers is electrical generation of sound. This in itself offers a whole new genre of music. MIDI sequencing allows musicians to compose single lines, combine them and manipulate them. Before MIDI, sound was manipulated acoustically. Now MIDI allows large portions of music to be stored in a computer and then be manipulated through a sound generator. Last but not least, multimedia is a very valuable tool in the classroom. The term multimedia refers to sound, text, and graphics. Computers allow students to hear, see, and read clips of their subject.

Multimedia presentations like MS Power Point have been proven to be a valuable tool in the classroom. Overall, useful learning concoctions like music notation software, MIDI, and multimedia provide musicians with new possibilities. Even though recent technology helps aid in learning and research, there seizes to be internal conflicts. The World Wide Web provides an excellent means of global communication; ideas and opinions can be expressed in a matter of seconds. However, a problem like censorship arises. Should the government have the right to censor the Internet or should the people be free to express themselves?

This is a very provocative subject because of its currentness. Congress is in the process of debating whether censorship is lawful or it directly conflicts with freedom of speech. The motivation behind Congress is to eliminate crimes such theft and pornography. I realize that there is a lot of junk out in cyberspace, but I think it should be left to the individual to determine good from bad. I personally feel that the Internet brings people together. Ideas and thoughts are constantly expressed online. If the government posed to censor online material, it would be impossible to supervise.

I can’t see how government could censor a global network. If one site in a country is banned, then others will look for it somewhere else. Another conflict that recently began to surface is the implementation of synthetic material verses live human production. What I pose is this- can these new learning tools replace the real thing? What I’m referring to is not just the replacement of teaching but also performing. I recently talked to a music professor who’s greatest concern is a computer replacing him. For now, I truly feel that his concern is pointless.

Computers were not designed to think on their own. They were made to process information. Until computers process individual needs, there simply is no need for concern. A second aspect of replacement that needs to be addressed is performance. Can MIDI replace a performer? MIDI’s intent was not replace the performer but enhance his/her performance. Reasonably speaking, MIDI’s can not replace the ambiance of a live performer. People dish out massive amounts of money to see live performances and will continue to do so. Now that I’ve stated my opinions, I will now state my predictions for the future.

Since the World Wide Web is international, I feel that global barriers will break down and people will become united. Sure we have our differences but I believe the main reason why people separate was due to distance. People change when they are apart, so if we could bridge space, then people could easily keep in touch. A recent concoction that offers a solution to this problem is teleconferencing. This will allow individuals to be present in more than one place at a time. Once global barriers break down, I truly feel that mankind will extend the communication and begin a whole new enterprise of universal contact.

There was a recent study done in Science Technology asking individuals if they were aware that NASA along with other foreign countries are building a space station. Imagine that! Wouldn’t it be cool to live on Mars or travel to floating getaway abroad the Love Spaceship? How would we communicate? Well, I believe we would need some type of universal communication pod. It would work similar to a satellite except instead of using a dish to transmit a telephone call, a person could sit in pod, look into the screen, and make a call home.

Another Futuristic idea that I believe is already happening, but normally takes a decade later to realize, is a new music era. I believe that we are in an era of synthetically produced music. This doesn’t mean that older periods of music will cease. If anything, man has continued to appreciate all forms of music. Therefore, performers will not be replaced and if anything, they will be enhanced digitally. The truth is, the informational age is not only shaping who we are but also how we learn and how we make music.

Computers allow us to communicate globally, which means the decimation of barriers and the exchange of ideas and knowledge. One click on the mouse can greatly influence a musician’s thought process. For musicians, researching online has never been easier and faster. However, cyberspace is not the only tool. New inventions like music notation software, MIDI, and multimedia enable students to strive for new ground. Surely problems will arise, but solutions can be offered. As musicians, I feel that it is our duty to learn what technology can offer, because in the end, it can only enhance an individual’s performance.

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