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2011年7月2日 星期六

The Reading Report of Glenn Gould's The Prospects of Recording

Foreword:

I am quite busy recently since I have rented a flat to start private music theory teaching. However, publishing music topic articles is still my habit. This time I would like to give a reading report of an article by Glenn Gould. Glenn Gould was an usual pianist and artist. His almost perfect interpretation of Bach's polyphonic keyboard music, together with his strange, yet eriee, body actions during performance, never fail to leave behind a deep impression to audience. Below is some interesting points declared by Gould about his views on recording technology.


The Reading Report of Glenn Gould Prospects of Recording 



Gould believes that the manifold influences of the music by electronic medium are overwhelming and unaccountable.  Public concert, undoubtedly, is in a predicament that is going to be replaced by the musical recording as approaching to 21st Century.  The impact of recording is not only exerted upon the commercial world, but also onto the performer, audience, composer, concert impresario, technical engineer, critic, historian, musicologist and scholar.  Electronic technology enhances high acoustic performance and thus it raises the standard of demanding for ‘foremost’ musical sonorities.  Recording also fosters the exploitation of untapped, undiscovered musical repertoire.  Professional musicologists, as well as the performers, have been forced to put a great effort on exploring, manipulating, analyzing, realizing and performing them.  Gould, furthermore, asserts that many of those appreciable, nearly forgotten Renaissance and Baroque music can reappear to the listeners, changing their listening selections and helping them to escape from the bombarding, furious and unsavory musical sound of the 20th Century contemporary music.  Moreover, recording changes the position of the standard repertoire, which is based largely on the ‘mastery’ pieces.  Even some of the neglected superb and full of accomplishments compositions, because of the recording, are revalued and preserved. 

High technique of tape splice in musical recording also changes the performance style and way of interpretation.  It avails to overcome the limitation of the external performing environment and also the technicality of the performer.  This monumental impact satisfies the so-called pursuing ‘perfection’ in music, which is an inherent attribute of a composer, performer, audience, as well as the human.  Hence the live recording that is full of discontented and unexpected misktakes, therefore, is insufferable.  The role of a performer, because of the high-tech editing process, becomes shifting from a mere performer to a demandable audience, and even a creative composer.  Recording also alters the role of audience, from passive to active.  Listener can utilize the tape-editing option freely to ‘create’ his/her own ‘ideal’ musical sound, performance and style.  The conventional ‘musical hierarchy, that is the broader-line between composer-performer-audience, is then blurred. 

Conclusively, as the increasing popularity of the electronic medium and everlasting stride of the

technology itself, Gould believes that, the dominance of Western musical culture will be diminished. 

The world will be permeated with diversity of musical cultures, from every corner of the world.  All

musical styles are mixed up.  A new epoch of electronic age of music is inaugurated.  In the

foreseeable future, in this fascinating new time, audience would be the artist, and their life would be

art.

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-07-01 (published)
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