...Advances in the ways music has been created over the years have been mainly due to advances in the public’s tastes, views and beliefs over the same period. The most ‘advanced’ art at any one time could, therefore, be seen as the means of expression deemed most popular or suitable at the time. Electronic music, or music that uses technology to produce its sounds, rhythm etc. is one area of music where advances (in the scientific sense of the word) take place. New inventions such as the synthesiser can produce sounds never heard before, and improvements in recording, editing and sound quality have led to new methods of music production being created. I would argue, however, that the application and creation of these aspects of music is scientific. True, to create melodies and rhythms using these new inventions is artistic, but then the melodies and rhythms created will not be more ‘advanced’ then any before them, just the way they sound will be. The same is true of all advancements (in the scientific sense of the word) in art. In a scientific sense of the word ‘advanced’, the most advanced music would be the music that incorporated the most up-to-date technology in its creation. But the scientific use of the word ‘advanced’ is not appropriate when describing advances in art. These advances are advances in the culture, morals and beliefs of the public...
British opera: is it modern enough?
...In order to place contemporary opera in an historical context, we must look back for a moment at Brittens’ Peter Grimes. Though set in the 19th century this was primarily concerned with the individual’s relationship and ultimate alienation from the rest of society. At a subliminal level, the music evokes sympathy, prepares us to remain open minded and invites us to judge its protagonist sympathetically. First performed in 1945 and genuinely well received by its audience, it is indeed historical though as Judith Weir (1989) asserts, this remains a contemporary operatic piece. Boyden (2000, p.589) suggests it is ‘one of the masterpieces of post war opera’ and goes on to point out how it ‘depicts the central tragedy in terms of an intolerant society that victimises non-conformity.’ This is an all too familiar story in present times. Philip Brett (1985, p.21) supports this further when he suggests that Grimes is ‘a general representation of the plight of the outsider.’ This is relentlessly echoed in modern society with exploitation and continuing prejudices sustaining otherness and difference. It could therefore be said that Peter Grimes was prophetic in its attention to issues of difference, perceived physical abuse and the treatment of children...
Pop Music: its influence on the youth
...The teds were the so called teddy boys that first appeared in yearly 50’s. They were regarded as the country’s rejects and a symbol of Britain’s future failure. The way the teds looked was created in order to shock the public. For any youth style to endure however it needs icons to give it credence, to actively communicate that styles continuing viability. For the teddy boys this role was performed by the explosion of early rock and roll artists such as Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochrane. These performers served as highly visible endorsements of this particular style, particularly since it was perhaps the earliest example of an organic street look being successfully adopted by stars of the mass media as opposed to the mass media imposing style on the masses. The soaring popularity of such artists gave the teddy boy movement the legitimacy all subcultures crave and allowed the style to reach far and wide; Britain’s youth soon had Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury to look up to and mimic. And therein lies the proof of the important role of music for youth identities. For whilst a local gang uniform can influence the youth it comes in to contact with, a media icon who adopts the style can use his or her elevated status and mass media access to convert infinitely more young people to that particular style...
Digital Age: is it a hazard for the music industry?
...Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and major record labels are continuously trying to stop the online music sharing, enforcing the copyright laws and shutting down entities like Napster and Audio Galaxy. The premise of all this fuss is that record companies and its musicians are allegedly financially affected by free downloading due to MP3 sharing on the Internet[mjf4].
The recording industry is dominated by the so called Big Five - BMG, EMI, Universal, Warner and Sony[mjf5]. Sony Music is one of the top five distributors of music albums worldwide, featuring four very successful label groups: Epic Records Group, Columbia Records Group, Relativity Entertainment Group, and Sony Classical (Sony Music, 2002). Even though CDs sales have dropped last year[mjf6], major labels do not suffer such a big loss due to MP3 distribution as they claim. The following graph comes from Sony Corporation annual report 2002 (Sony Corporation, 2002), showing their business performance in music sales.
Third World country as a Theme of Tracy Chapman’s song
...Poor girl from a third world country- that is the image that we get from Tracy Chapman’s song “Mountains of Things”. The songwriter is trying to get inside girl’s world and feel what she must be feeling. She desires to enter the “other world”, the world of greed and injustice but she can not, not on her own will. She is asking for them to help her because they are the ones who have the responsibility of the condition she is into now. She lives in poverty, fear, discrimination and torture and this is a result of their need to consume lavishly to no extent. She is just hoping that they will someday come and find her. Because they know she exists and they know who she is too, because they have exploited and used her in the worst possible way for their personal maximisation profit. “Sweet lazy life, champagne and caviar “are something that she can only dream of and will probably never have the chance to live unless she is given the opportunity...