Sunday, September 5, 2010

All the music in the world . . .

Listening to music reproduced by mechanical and/or electronic means has increasingly become a fundamental aspect of the human experience over the of the last century. Today, most of us take that experience for granted.

A recent VOA news story highlights the release of Apple's latest iPod:

"Fans cheered as Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled the company's redesigned iPod music players in San Francisco, California, the smallest one just slightly bigger than a person's thumb."

Of course I have my own iPod and iPhone, both of which allow me to have access at any time to hundreds of hours of whatever music I have chosen. And I have my laptop, with its own vast iTunes library of many different types of music.

Music, it seems, now has not only infinite portability, but an unprecedented accessibility from myriad sources on the Internet. An earlier posting here features an interview with Tim Westergren, founder of the leading on-line "radio" station, Pandora. And a Google search of "online radio stations" brings up an astonishing 6,620,000 hits!

YouTube in particular offers possibilities of virtually unlimited availability of western popular music, (as well as potentially infinite options for the propagation of various genres of music from around the world.) Of all the hundreds --thousands?--of popular music songs on the internal playlist of my life, there is only one that I have been unable to locate on YouTube: "Got No One" by (as far as I can recall--the 45 rpm disc is long misplaced) The Delgados. In the years following my life as a teenager until today, Sanford Clark's "The Fool" from 1956 has always been my secret "here's one I bet you don't remember!" item of musical trivia. Yet that rarely heard and marvelously innocent proto-Elvis song has multiple entries on YouTube, with the first focusing on a still photograph, of the 10-inch 78 rpm record itself, which morphs dramatically into a video of that very disc spinning on an old-style portable record player (keep that image in mind as you read my next posting . . . . )

And speaking of YouTube: that Website has provided us with the opportunity to create (at no cost whatsoever!) our own new VOAWorldMusic video channel with world-wide accessibility. VOA English Producer Steve Frank's rendition of his fine original song, "The Immigrants," is now online--the first video of several performances to be posted from within the VOA community.

With this enormous universe of online music in mind, I'm moved to consider the alternative in my next posting: a world virtually bereft of music, with echoes of what little remains being treasured almost as much as life itself . . . .

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