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Technology Profile: Music As Communication

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James Jarc

on 30 June 2013

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Transcript of Technology Profile: Music As Communication

Music as Communication:
A Historical and Technological Profile

A Brief History of Music
In about 500 B.C. the mathematician Pythagoras experimented with acoustics and how math relates to tones formed from plucking stripes
Math in Music?
Music is Sacred
The main form of music during the Middle Ages was the Gregorian chant and was used in Churches to enhance the services.

It consisted of a sacred Latin text sung by monks without instrumentation.

To this day, music is a major component of spiritual and worship rituals in almost every religious tradition.

The Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic
Periods up to the 20th Century

The emergence of written music and formal performance
The Renaissance 1450-1600:
During the Renaissance Period, vocal music was still more important then instrumental.
A humanistic interest in language created a close relationship between words and music during this time.
Composers began to write music to give deeper meaning and emotion to the words in their songs.
Music became more popular during this time due to the invention of the printing press and the ability to circulate copies of music
Ideal of the “universal man” and believed that every educated person was to be trained in music

Notable figures include: Guillaume Du Fay and Josquin des Prez (Arkenberg 2002)

Listen to a sample from
Guillaume Du Fay:
"Nuper rosarum flores"
written 1436

(click stop on the video
before going on)
The Baroque Age 1600-1750:
The Baroque Age was a time of unity.
Musical moods were conveyed through a musical language with specific rhythms and melodic patterns.
There was a high demand for music in this period. Churches, aristocratic courts, opera houses, and municipalities wanted music.
Composers were pressured to write new music because audiences did not want to hear pieces of music in the “old-fashioned” style.

Notable figures include: Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, and Johann Bach

Listen to a sample from Antonio Vivaldi
"The Four Seasons: Spring"
written 1723

(click stop on the video before going on)
The Classical Period: 1750-1820:
Classical style does not always value the fluidity and smoothness of the individual elements of music. There are contrasts of mood; many of the pieces in classical music will convey numerous moods.
Rise in individual income rates in the 18th century, especially in "middle class"
The middle class had a great impact on music in the Classical Period and public concerts were popular
However, people were not satisfied going to concerts to listen to music; they wanted it in their homes as well

Notable figures include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn

Listen to a sample from Mozart
"Eine Kline Nachtmuzik" (A Little Night Music)
written 1787

(click stop on the video before going on)
Romantic Period through the 20th Century
The Romantic Period was a time when emotion was poured into the music.
Each composer had an individual style and expression.
Music lovers could quickly decipher the composer of a piece of music because of its style. Many of the compositions convey nationalism and exoticism.
Much of the music of this time was written for the middle class because they prospered due to the industrial revolution
Music became a big part of the home; many families had pianos of their own.

Notable figures include Ludwig van Beethoven (early Romantic) through
Maurice Ravel who lived until 1937

Listen to a sample from Beethoven
"Sympnony No. 5 in C Minor"
completed 1808

(click stop on the video before going on)
20th Century Music: 1900-1950
The range of musical style in the 20th century was vast
The years following 1900 saw more fundamental changes to the language of music more than any time since the beginning of the Baroque era
Many techniques that were considered uncommon before were being used during this time. Many composers used noise like and percussive instruments
This era also witnessed a change from traditional folk music to more popular music such as big band, swing, blues, and jazz

Notable figures: Aaron Copland, Bessie Smith, and Louis Armstrong

Widespread availability of recorded music
The Beatles 1963

The oldest musical instrument ever found was a flute carved from a thin bird bone and dated to about 35 thousand years ago.

It was found while excavating a cave in southern Germany.

Did you know?

The Digital Age
The Network Age
Theory of Music as Communication
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music."
– Gustav Mahler, Composer

• Oral Communication
(Phenomenology, contextual/close to human lifeworld)

• Semiotics
(written signs & symbols, implicated meanings, interpretive)

• Socio-cultural/Socio-psychological
(Cultivation Theory, Social Cognitive Theory, Schema Theory)

Traits of Orality
- music deals with individual experience and can be interpreted differently by any individual based on their contexts
Redundant & Copius
- formulaic melody, repetition of lyrics makes it easy to remember the "message"
The Semiotics of Music
In the 1991 article by Peter Dunbar-Hall, popular music and semiotics was examined.
In popular music and semiotics,
“pieces of music are seen as representing sub styles, and these in turn are seen as signifying lifestyles, and then beliefs, in a series of overlapping denotations and connotations common to semiotic reduction”

(Dunbar-Hall, 1991, p.130).
This concept of semiotics in music can be seen below
"We are left with a sensation of the sound itself as primary. Through the perception of the sensation, we build knowledge about the lived experience, which includes physical acoustics but also includes a self-awareness. Incorporated in the self-awareness is the act of hearing, encompassing the physical, cultural and personal context of our self.’
(Corness, 2008, p. 22).
“Through adding music to a story, a poem or a lyric, the emotions communicated through the words may be supplanted, deepened or enriched by the melodic or harmonic content of the music. It is this aural complexity, achieved through making and dispersing crafted physical noise, that we believe supports and makes possible the portrayal of ‘various emotions’ which may take a complimentary, paradoxical or ambiguous form”
(Carless & Douglas, 2011, p. 447).
Socio-Cultural Agent
Current Research Analysis:
"During adolescence, the understanding of socially dominant definitions of male and female roles, or gender role "schemas" is extended and refined."
(Bogt et al, 2010)
Schema Theory (Bem 1981)
"People tend to learn from and imitate other people. (Bandura 1986)

This process is not limited to reproducing real life people’s lifestyle and preferences, but extends to media models as well.” (Bogt et al, 2010)
Social Cognitive Theory
Throughout history, music has served as a means to share ideas and influence the listener. Whether inspirational, political, or simply enjoyable, music is a powerful tool for communicating ideas to its audience.

Just how much of an influence can mass media distribution of music impact social and cultural attitudes?
Media portrayals inflate the prevalence of violence in the world, cultivating in viewers the mean world syndrome, an unrealistic perception of the world as a violent and dangerous place. (Rich, et al 1998)
Cultivation Theory
Rich et al (1998) demonstrate in their study of portrayals of violence in popular music and music videos...
Males and females were portrayed as victims with equivalent frequency, raising concern for the cultivation of the perception that nobody is safe.
Males, often the star of the music video, were more than three times as likely as females to be portrayed as aggressors.
...our findings raise concern for the effect of violent portrayals in music videos on adolescents' normative expectations about their own safety and what they must do to secure it.
The findings of this study suggest that it may not be simply the amount of violence in the media, but the nature of that violence and its effects on interpersonal relationships that are critical factors in adolescent health and risk behaviors.
Of the 518 different music videos analyzed (on 4 major American channels), 76 (14.7%) contained one or more scenes of overt interpersonal violence. These yielded a total of 462 acts of violence, with a mean of 6.1 violent acts in each music video that portrayed violence.
A case study - "Gender and Race in Music Video Violence"
Early Legality of Music as a Technology
Music as communication...
• A technology as old as mankind itself

• Determines and is determined by cultural shifts

• Transformation of technology has necessitated
a transformation of regulations and laws to
accompany it

• Music will continue to evolve as a means of
communicating... whether political
activism or our deepest human emotions.
Projections & Future Ideas
How do you see the theories of Social Constructivism and Technological Determinism influencing the future of music?
"He who sings prays twice"
- St. Augustine
Listen to a sample from Louis Armstrong
"When the Saints Go Marchin' In"
(click stop on the video before going on)
Dizzy Gillespie 1955
Music in the 50’s offered a combination of sound for everyone with Rock ‘n Roll being the most popular of that decade
The 1960's saw singer-songwriters use music as political tools
The 1970s represented a decade of individual experimentation and musical indulgence
Music was more a-political; records rather than airplay determined popularity of music
Notable figures include: Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5
(and MANY more...)

Michael Jackson
Thriller released 1982
Listen to a sample from Elvis Presley
(click stop on the video before going on)
"Jailhouse Rock"
MTV's first music video was broadcast on August 1st, 1981...
Do you know what
song it was?
1980's spawned the digital age and saw a significant shift in music consumption: the institution of Music Television (MTV)
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, and glam metal experienced extreme popularity in the 1980s
Hip Hop and Pop also began to massively expand during this era
Popular music of 1990's (Grunge) was a revolt against the glam and excess of the 80's
The 1990's represented more inward songwriting and a increased use of digital tools in creating music

Notable figures include: Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Run DMC, Nirvana, Pearl Jam

In 1999, Billboard Magazine named
this artist top "Pop Artist" of the decade*
Do you agree?
*Originally published in Billboard Magazine, Dec 25, 1999.
Retrieved from Google Books: http://bit.ly/14A9QJr
Music from 2000-present has seen an extreme rise in popularity of rap as well as mainstream pop due to such shows as American Idol
Music in this era has taken a lot of backlash due to sexually explicit and violent lyrics
Although there are many new artists and sounds in this era, the artists from the 1980s-2000 still have a heavy influence on the music scene.
Advances in mobile and network technologies have given us 24 x 7 access to music wherever we are

Notable figures include: Usher, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Green Day, Dixie Chicks

Listen to a sample from
Justin Timberlake
(click stop on the video
before going on)
"Cry Me A River"
- put "Sweet Caroline" on the JukeBox next time you go to a bar and watch what happens...
Close to the Human Lifeworld
- we experience music in close connection with our context and experience
‘...as a mode of communication, popular music creates socially shared meanings by exploring and celebrating a state of awareness or consciousness which a particular audience identifies with as an expression of its emotional and moral precepts"
Image from: http://www.the60sofficialsite.com/Woodstock_Rock_Festival.html
(Chesebro, Foulger, Nachman, and Yannelli in Timmerman et al., 2008, p. 304)
Deeper Meaning...
The legal protections associated with music as a technology correlate closely with the concept of legal copyright.
While the first modern copyright legislation arrived in 1710, in England, by 1777, the musical piece began to gravitate towards finding its way under the protections of copyright concepts (Olteteanu, 2009, p. 122).

The nature of the technology led towards copyright protection
“In the early 1800s, the principle mode of musical entertainment took place in a parlor setting with families gathered around the instrument of choice listening to the family musician perform the popular compositions of the time. As a result, the popular music of the day was primarily consumed through the sale of printed sheet music” (Napper III, 2009, p. 163).
The Birth of Copyright in Europe
While copyright protections were designed to aid the book publishing industry in England, professional composers brought litigation against music publishers, which granted the concept of music as a copyrightable entity
(Olteteanu, 2009, p. 123).
In this era, the first copyright protections in Europe began to grant those who owned compositions of musical works the rights of those who owned the rights to books – this included the rights to reprinting, publishing, and selling (Napper III, 2009, p. 163).

With the birth of the United States, the Euro-centric approach to copyright expanded.

The Legality of Music in the United States – Early Years
In the United States, the first Copyright Act passed in 1790. The Act was designed to protect books, maps, and charts.
In 1831, Congress revised the act and in the United States, musical works gained protection for the first time; the law prevented the unauthorized printing and selling of compositions (Napper III, 2009, p. 166).
As copyright holders of music realized the money that could be made from public performances, in 1897, the law was amended. This change granted copyright holders an exclusive right to “publicly perform the work for profit” (Napper III, p. 164).

A Transition to the Era of Consumable Music
With the advent of technologies for musical transmission and sharing, two copyrights arose in the music industry –
one for the composition
another for the recording of the sound
(Napper III, 2009, p. 166).
The United States Congress first attempts to address sound recording copyright in 1925, with a law known as the Perkins Bill. Ultimately, the bill doesn’t pass, but shows a paradigm shift in the way
technology was shaping the perspective of lawmakers
(Napper III, 2009, p. 170).
Before federal law protects sound recordings, in order to fight for the protection of their works, owners of sound recordings had to sue under state laws, citing unfair competition. The process was complicated and, in cases involving larger distributors like record companies, became overly complicated (Napper III, 2009, p. 172).

Recordings Spur Lawmakers
Technological advancements like the cassette tape made the illegal production of music much cheaper and less complicated. Because of these rapid developments of technology, congress decides to pass Sound Recordings Act of 1971, which grants limited protections of sound recordings (Napper III, 2009, p. 162).
Four general arguments led to the Act’s passing:

(1) Rapid growth in tape piracy threatened the record
business as a whole
(2) Existing protection under state laws were inadequate
to protect the investment by music companies and
deter pirates
(3) International concerns about piracy necessitated the
passage of an international treaty on the subject, and
without federal protection, the United States could
not be a participant in such a treaty
(4) The vast differences in investment required by the
record companies as compared to the investment
required by pirates was a simple injustice”

(Napper III, 2009, p. 176).

Copyright Revision and International Incorporation
The United States passed a revision of copyright law in 1976.
This new law was known as The Copyright Act of 1976 and repealed the Sound Recordings Act of 1971 in order to incorporate the laws into the new revision.
The US took this step in joining the Universal Copyright Convention, which was an establisher of international copyright standards” (Napper III, 2009, p. 169).

Economic Ramifications and Copyright Revision
Stanley Gortikov, who spoke on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America at the hearings for the Act, “
estimated that $100 to $150 million in sales per year was ‘stolen’ from the recording industry by unauthorized duplicators,
both large and small. He went on to estimate that more than one-fourth of tape sales were stolen by those who copy and sell the recordings without authorization. Considering the economic conditions in 1971, these figures were alarming” (Napper III, 2009, p. 177).
The Digital Era of Legality
The digitization of music as a technology resulted in a bevy of laws passed to increase the legal protections of recordings and compositions.
In 1998, the Copyright Term Extension Act increased the duration of copyright protection by twenty years, including a provision that protects copyrighted work for seven years past the life of the original author (Cochan, 2011, p. 315).
The No Electronic Theft Act established the precedent that infringing on copyright is a criminal act regardless of any financial gains.
Finally, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act establishes that it is illegal for anyone to circumnavigate copyright protections through technological measures (Cochran, 2011, p. 315).

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA) closed loopholes for copyright violation within the realm of digital media. However, it also had the effect of limiting avenues of music sharing that had gained tremendous popularity, such as user-to-user sharing and many avenues of internet radio
(Keaton & Goolsby, 2010, p. 168).
Not all view these paradigm shifts as positive ones
“In a notoriously high-profile set of lawsuits, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed legal actions against consumers who had downloaded copyrighted music from the Internet, including university students and elderly grandparents of teenagers who had used their computers. With every highly publicized industry victory, the industry became further alienated from its customers, who began to view it as an obstructionist more dedicated to money than making music available to the marketplace” (Keaton & Goolsby, 2010, p. 169).
Discussion Question:
Is the music industry’s primary responsibility to make music available to an audience or to establish for-profit structures?
(image from Dunbar-Hall, 1991, p.130).
"Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."

- Ludwig Van Beethoven
Since prehistoric times, man has looked to the power of music to communicate a wide range of ideas and emotions.

As a communication technology, music has evolved in style, substance, and delivery methods.

Music has been an important driver of cultural change as well as legal definitions of "property" and "creativity."
Shifting social norms are influencing what we communicate about in music.

New media is creating exciting new avenues for artists to connect directly with their listeners.

Production technology is allowing more individuals to make and distribute music.

The "music industry" is changing rapidly as distribution and financial models change.
Images from Wikimedia Commons
Theorists view music from multiple perspectives:
Historical information retrieved from various sources: ThinkQuest, LSC Kingwood, Shepherd University, Wikipedia & Individual artist webpages.
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