>>>> Street Photography eXchange #32 <<<

Started Jan 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Re: Sal, what about music
In reply to fad, Jan 30, 2013

Interesting question, Frank.

I think the pleasure we derive from recordings depends on our expectations.   When 33's appeared, the early 78's, with their limited frequency and dynamic range, didn't appeal in the way they used to. Then CDs came along and we expected to hear no noise, no scratchiness, etc. Audio equipment became amazing. 33's no longer appealed. You are surely correct in thinking that there was less reason to go to a concert hall if you could have perfection in your living room. We can't enjoy early recordings now because we expect so much better. Musical performance has also reached a level of perfection unheard of 50, 40 years ago. (Intonation on many early recordings is often inaccurate and would not be tolerated today.)

An interesting thing is happening now with people mostly listening to music on their iPods, or their iPods feeding through their Bose speakers. Their CDs languish on the shelf and no one buys them any longer. How does recording quality downloaded from iTunes and fed through an iPod compare with those CDs? It is obviously very satisfying. If anything is missing, our ears supply it, much as your mind supplies words your ears have missed when your hearing is a problem.

People who are not musicians do not appreciate the extent to which our ears lie to us. Their link to our neural centers must take various routes depending on information supplied from unreliable parts of our brains. Musicians practice with recording devices beside them for this reason.

When we look at images on our computer screens they can't compare with a good print - yet we enjoy them. We don't expect them to look as good, so we are not disappointed. However the visual differences are so much greater that we still rush to museums to see the 'real thing'. THere isn't a lot of difference between the concert hall and the living room.

BTW, Frank, my husband is totally deaf without his hearing aids. Totally. I am certain his hearing of musical performances is poor. However, he is usually able to enjoy concerts. I think he is an example of the nexus of expectation and pleasure....and also of the mendacity of our ears.

We know that our eyes lie, also, of course. I know people who are color blind, yet enjoy Monet. And I suspect that trained artists enjoy Monet in a way that I cannot. Perception and expectation meet in different places for different people.


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