Monday, June 23, 2014

Listening to Music Now (Part One)

I recently read an interesting post about Rhapsody's UnRadio. It's another way to listen to music, somewhere between the $10/month access to all music usually associated with Spotify and the new kind of "radio" experience which is Pandora. It's good to keep thinking about technology and how it affects the listening experience, because these are the pipelines through which the miracle of music flows into our brains and bodies.

Pulling back a little from our immediate situation, back beyond Youtube, before Itunes existed, back, back, back before surround sound, back to the invention of cds, back further to DAT tapes, cassette tapes, four tracks, quadraphonic stereo, vinyl, the first radio, first recordings. This has all changed in a just a bit longer than a human lifetime.

And how we listen to music continues to change. In live settings natural acoustics made a huge difference --  for most of history. And, although we thought all our sound reinforcement changed all that, it really didn't -- natural acoustics still matter. Ask anyone who has ever set up a sound system in a public (or private) space. Ask the people who suffer through music that sounds much worse than it should because it does not fit the room it's being played in. Acoustics still matter.

Headphones or speakers? How much (and what kind of) noise pollution is around you?

Many factors influence how we listen to music now, but the building blocks are the same, and worth remembering, especially since we now have access to an unprecedented, incrementally increased amount of music -- styles and types, live and recorded. What this means (among other things, including new challenges and opportunities for professionals and amateurs alike) is each of us has a chance to discover and rediscover music!  iWhatever our phase of life, music can be a gift, an avenue for grace of God, a prophetic prod towards truth, an invitation towards growth, an exposure of the heart, an aid to rest. So consider carving out a half hour. Get on Rhapsody, Spotify or even YouTube. Explore. It may remind you what a marvelous gift life is, and what a beautiful, terrible world we live in. Which is a good thing to remember.

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