p2pnet.net News:- Writing about a new book in the Toronto Star here, Greg Quill says Bhesham Sharma, a musicologist at University of Western Ontario and author of Music And Culture In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction, points out that Marshall McLuhan observed 50 years ago that the more technology humans use, the more isolated they become.
The book is Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of The Sony Walkman by Paul du Gay, Stuart Hall, Linda Janes, Hugh Mackay and Keith Negus and Quill, quoting Sharma, says theWalkman is a "remarkably alienating device whose key effect was to change music from a communal event to a personal experience.
"Because music resides in the cognitive faculties of the individual, it provides the means to construct a customized soundscape that can inspire the listener, trigger all kinds of sensations at will in an environment that shuts out the world. In fact, the world is at odds with the user."
Because the Walkman … facilitates the enhancement of the user’s emotional life, it acts as a kind of "musical perfume that keeps out the noises of the real world and "may also have changed popular music itself over the years, Sharma believes, says Quill.
"All music has a shelf life, and its appeal, though profound at first, dissipates with the intense scrutiny and overexposure that personal listening devices allow.
" ‘Overexposure contributes to a dissociation between music and emotional responses to the music. As a consequence, clichés of style start to be eliminated in the production of music, but what disappears first are the emotional and aesthetic elements, not the rhythmic and atonal qualities. In the production of certain types of music, rhythm takes precedence over aesthetic considerations’."
And because music is ultimately designed for mass consumption, record companies produce more and more of what they perceive the market wants, regardless of quality.