[rumori] Re: pho: "threshold" for copyright??

From: Don Joyce (djATwebbnet.com)
Date: Tue Mar 13 2001 - 23:28:05 PST

I would guess you can probably find the precedent for this (the electronic
manipulation and/or distortion of the human voice in music) in the 50s, but
certainly in the 60s. (We might look to old radio of the 1930s for the
FIRST such live or recorded urge outside of music - like the sound of The
Shadow when he invisably speaks to the villain or when telephone fidelity
was simulated.)
The attractions of vocal distortion, itself, probably began in old-time
radio too. When Orsen Wells played Dracula on the Mercury Theatre in the
30s, he spoke into the mike through a toilet paper cardboard tube (!)

The precedent for electronically augmented/distorted vocals in music, most
likely created with the use of a spring reverb, is at least 40 years old.
Digitizing the effect, even following pitches, etc. changes nothing except
its qualities, and of course such qualitative variations are endless.
Cher's recent song set no categorical precedent for music. The fact that it
sounded "new" to us illustrates the fact that it matters little that we can
no longer create any musical precedents.

>How about that weird thing they did with Cher's voice on "Believe"?
>Don Joyce wrote:
>> Music is not science (in more ways than one!) and can go no further than
>> the range of human hearing. (There are those lollypop radios you suck on
>> and listen with your mouth, but everything you hear with your mouth you've
>> heard before with your ears, but that's more about radio than science...)
>> There is no unhearable in music as there is an unknowable in science.
>> Technology continues to open up and expand scientific perception, maybe
>> forever, but technology cannot do this for music. The Electronic generation
>> of sound was the very LAST music assist science will provide. It's a MUCH
>> more finite range of possibilities that must end up working as audio in our
>> ears.
>> There is no quantum level of sound to hear benieth what we can hear, or
>> that's what I'm betting. (The microscopic recording of very small,
>> "unhearable" sounds has also appeared in music.) The definition of music
>> cannot expand beyond silence at one end and total noise at the other, both
>> of which have already been explored in terms of precedent. And, I contend,
>> every possible precedent in between as well. Science can and does continue
>> to explore and reveal when its subject goes beyond the range of our natural
>> senses, but music cannot.
>> Up through the last Century, you actually could and did hear new, untried
>> sounds incorporated into music from time to time, but no more. If you hear
>> ANY sound in music that has not been used/heard before, let me know
>> immediately, and I will be willing to revise my theory if I can't tell you
>> where and when it has been heard in music before. Musical precedent is just
>> a memory.
>> DJ
>> Negativland
>> >>>>>Everything that CAN be music (categorically speaking) has
>> >reached our ears by now...
>> >
>> >You may be right but I can't help thinking about the fact that in the late
>> >19th and early 20th Centurys the scientific world thought that, between
>> >Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism and Newton's laws of gravitation,
>> >everything that could be known about physics was pretty much known. As it
>> >turned out the seemingly tiny bit left to discover was relativity and
>> >quantum physics, which revolutionized science.
>> >
>> >There may yet be an infinite range of invention in the seemingly narrow
>> >of undiscovered territory and, as a practical matter, what is "music" is
>> >defined subjectively by the listener so we may find its very definition may
>> >expand greatly as the human mind evolves (and helping that process along is
>> >certainly one of art's great functions).
>> >
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