How the invention of sound recording changed the status of music for good
What is it about?
For many centuries, writing notes had been the only way of storing music outside people's brains and bodies. The invention of sound recording changed this: now it is possible to record music directly, without the need for writing scores. But recording technology also made it possible to record any other sound and create artworks from it - works that we know today as sound art or radio art. Therefore, recording technology created a number of acoustic art forms that are related to music, but neither a subset of music nor superior to it, but different.
Why is it important?
For years, there has been some controversy betwen art historians and musicologists as to whether sound art should not be regarded as a mere genre of music. But this does not do justice to the many facets of this still emerging and highly dynamic creative field. My perspective allows sound art, and other acoustic art forms, to be appreciated and studied on their own terms, which is likely to broaden our analytical understanding of such works. The important point is that I'm not simply choosing sides in the debates, but that I use a materially grounded view of the history of media/technology to find a higher vantage point from which to assess the debate itself.
The following have contributed to this page: Gerald Fiebig