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Essay: The History of Electronic Sound and Music
It is difficult to believe that poetry can ever be popularisedagain without some deliberate effort at the education of publictaste, involving strategy and perhaps even subterfuge. T.S. Eliotonce suggested that poetry, particularly dramatic poetry, might bebrought back into the consciousness of ordinary people through themedium of the music hall; he might have added the pantomime, whosevast possibilities do not seem ever to have been completelyexplored. "Sweeney Agonistes" was perhaps written with some suchidea in mind, and it would in fact be conceivable as a music-hallturn, or at least as a scene in a revue. I have suggested the radioas a more hopeful medium, and I have pointed out its technicaladvantages, particularly from the point of view of the poet. Thereason why such a suggestion sounds hopeless at first hearing isthat few people are able to imagine the radio being used for thedissemination of anything except tripe. People listen to the stuffthat does actually dribble from the loud-speakers of the world, andconclude that it is for that and nothing else that the wirelessexists. Indeed the very word "wireless" calls up a picture eitherof roaring dictators or of genteel throaty voices announcing thatthree of our aircraft have failed to return. Poetry on the airsounds like the Muses in striped trousers. Nevertheless one oughtnot to confuse the capabilities of an instrument with the use it isactually put to. Broadcasting is what it is, not because there issomething inherently vulgar, silly and dishonest about the wholeapparatus of microphone and transmitter, but because all thebroadcasting that now happens all over the world is under thecontrol of governments or great monopoly companies which areactively interested in maintaining the STATUS QUO and therefore inpreventing the common man from becoming too intelligent. Somethingof the same kind has happened to the cinema, which, like the radio,made its appearance during the monopoly stage of capitalism and isfantastically expensive to operate. In all the arts the tendency issimilar. More and more the channels of production are under thecontrol of bureaucrats, whose aim is to destroy the artist or atleast to castrate him. This would be a bleak outlook if it were notthat the totalitarianisation which is now going on, and mustundoubtedly continue to go on, in every country of the world, ismitigated by another process which it was not easy to foresee evenas short a time as five years ago.
Free essays & term papers - sound of music, Music
, one of the first composers of , wrote the essay He argues that any kind of noise could be used as music, as audiences become more familiar with noises caused by technological advancements; noise has become so prominent that pure sound no longer exists.