Silence and Noise

There is a sense of thrill that comes from hearing a song for the very first time. The unexpectedness of the melody to follow can spark feelings such as joy and spontaneity. Combine this with live instruments played by passionate musicians and the sheer awe of an audience – and you’ll find that you feel very alive. The awareness that you are listening to something that is filled with so much desire, and perhaps the pride in discovering that up-and-coming band which so few know of, toys with an element of satisfaction. Today however, these emotions evoked through music come not only from live instruments and vocals, but through laptops, tablets, phones, and also headphones. This modern way of listening to music transmits the sound directly from the device to your ears. From an objective perspective at this shift, music has become physically none-existent in the way that instruments are no longer producing the sound directly to the listener.

The positive energy delivered by live music, although uniquely special as it is suppressed by new age technology. With this suggestion you may think, “Yeah, technology is taking over the world”. I am also not surprised by this notion, but rather, I ponder the idea that this new increase in technology has in fact led to a major loss. Through the use of iTunes, YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify, and much more, we, as modern people, becoming distant from the original works of art. The artist, regardless of genre, creates their piece of music with a strong intent. Their passion, while conveyed through their music, can be further understood through their actions, movements, and their artistic expression. It is this knowledge that makes me question technology’s affect on music. Based on this perception, it could be argued that the loss of a live and direct connection to music devalues the art.

Of course, I recognize the power of live music playing out loud, as it is natural and unrehearsed. Nonetheless, I also find the idea of listening to music alone through the use of a medium like headphones very appealing. While headphones and other technologies may only provide a single person with musical pleasure, I feel that they offer an entirely new and interesting sensation. Having music come anonymously and directly to one’s mind evokes a strong sense of intimacy. I cannot express the amount of people I know that feel closest to music when they are listening to it privately. Listening to a composition in solitude allows freedom from judgement, deep contemplation, and a more of a personal connection. This privacy may just be the thing that allows a song to become “your” song. From this power of intimacy, one is able to recognize that while headphones may be silencing the noise of music, the art itself remains loud.

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