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Music Technology

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Submitted By tammymsilvers
Words 1098
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Silvers 1
Tammy M. Silvers
Dr. Marc Jensen
MUS Z201 – The History of Rock Music to 1970
19 September 2015

Developments in music technology over the years have substantially impacted the way we listen and appreciate music today Early twentieth century was chalk full of newly developed advances in music technology. These progressions have assisted in the role music has played in our lives over the years and has helped pave the path of how we appreciate music and to how we listen to it today. The early 1900s brought the phonograph. The phonograph was what we would refer to as a record player. The phonograph was able to record and reproduce sound. The phonograph was a step towards the future and aided in music lover’s appreciation. With this new technology, music was easily accessible to all music lovers of all kinds. The phonograph was portable which made it possible for people to listen to all types of music anytime and anywhere. According to Katz (1998), author of Making America More Musical, “today we common people make up the audience. And for all this the talking machine largely has been responsible.” The phonograph was also affordable. In the 1890s, the Edison phonograph could be purchased for $40, however by 1905, Sears was selling the phonograph for a mere $5. The player piano gained popular attention in the early 1900s-1920s, and it still around today. This invention relies on pneumatics (compressed air) or electricity in order to perform. The player piano operates on music that has been pre-programmed within. The pre-programmed music was recorded on perforated paper or in some instances on metallic rolls. One of the first Silvers 2 successful pneumatic piano players was invented by Edwin S. Votey, which was marketed by a company known as the Aeolian Company, however as the piano became more and more popular, several more companies were interested in the marketing the player piano business as well. Unlike the phonograph, the piano player may not have been readily portable, but still easily provided the popular music people wanted to listen and dance to. As popular as the player piano came into existence, it quickly declined in the early 1920s-1930s. According to Fox (1988), author of Day Of The Player Piano, “they sold well during the early 1920s, but by the end of the decade the industry was in a steep decline, and the 1930s saw the old pianos junked or retired to fading amusement arcades.” FM radio was introduced in the 1930s and remains widely popular today as a means to listening to music. FM radio was founded by Edwin Howard Armstrong who was also responsible for many other advancements in radio transmission. In Frost’s (2011) article, Early FM Radio: Incremental Technology In Twentieth-Century America, his introduction points out that even “today, some seventy-five years after its introduction, FM is a solidly mainstream medium – something like 80 percent of all radio audiences today listen to FM stations.” FM radio is also easily accessible in which we can listen to any and all types of music in our cars, at work and even while out taking a walk. FM radio has given people the opportunity to keep up with the latest and greatest in music every day. The latest advancements in music technology is what aids in making music more popular over the years. The invention of the electric guitar in the 1930s brought us a new and unique sound to music. According to Groom (1997), author of Alive and Kicking, “the electric guitar is an instrument at the boundary of music, always blurred or fuzzy at the edges, in the process of Silvers 3 breaking down into mere noise.” The electric guitar gave a new sound to music as it is capable of producing a multitude of different sounds. The electric guitar has been an influential piece in rock and roll music and remains a constant staple today as we can see in the music of widely popular classical bands and singers such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and the ever so popular Slash from Guns ‘N Roses. The electric guitar has brought that edgy cutting sound to the music we all crave and love. The 1940s and 1950s brought about a new way of listening and viewing the popular music sounds of the era- visual music. According to Russell (1994), “the first major effort to distribute visual music to a wide audience came in the late ‘40s in the form of a “video jukebox.” Later on, television would bring another version of visual music. American Bandstand gained extreme popularity amongst the younger generation in 1956. American Bandstand gave the audience the capability of dancing to the popular songs of the 50s and also allowed them to watch bands and singers who sang their beloved music. American Bandstand has made a definite influence on music television today. We continue to rely on television today as a means to keep up on popular music. American Bandstand can be thought of as a stepping stone into visual music technology. The popular television program of the 50s influenced and paved the way for how musicians today advertise their music. With the capability of making music videos, we can now relate stories to the music. Russell points out in her article, that television was a means for young stars to make their way into the music business (para 17). Great strides and advancements in music technology continue through the 21st century. The importance of music technology plays a great role not only in the way we have access to various types of music, but it is also vital in the way we appreciate music. Technology has Silvers 4 provided the capability of listening to music, watching music, and even provided us with ways in which to make music. Technology has played a pivotal role in how we have come to understand and love music.

Works Cited
Fox, Joseph. “Day Of The Player Piano.” American Heritage 39.4 (1988): 90 Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.
Frost, Gary. “Early FM Radio: Incremental Technology In Twentieth-Century America.” Business History Review 85.2 (2011): 413-415. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Sept. 2015
Groom, Nick. “Alive And Kicking.” Tls 4894 (1997): Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Sept. 2015
Katz, Mark. “Making America More Musical Through The Phonograph, 1900-1930.” American Music 16.4 (1998): 448. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Sept. 2015
Russell, Deborah. “Video Kills The Radio Star.” Billboard 106.44 (1994): 193. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Sept. 2015

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