From Stradivari to Spotify: How New Technology Has Always Inspired New Music



Successful composers, authors, and scientists have distinctive writing styles that define all their works. They are rarely in isolation from their contemporaries, so their work is inherently time stamped. Similarities can exist with their students and followers, so they set the pattern of writing over one or two generations.


The normal assumption is that the evolution of music has been primarily from emulation of winners and current fashion. Certainly, this is a major factor, but it overlooks extremely significant input from science and technology. Historically, early inputs came from the development of the printing press and the invention of musical notation, allowing music to be transmitted widely.


The most cited scientific input came from efforts to make musical recordings. This led to microphones, amplifiers, and electronics. Today’s musical electronics include keyboards and synthesizers. Music was the key stimulus of our modern electronic world! Wide dissemination of music via records and broadcasting helped promote access to music from across the globe. Science has then capitalized on the recording demand with inventions of vinyl records, magnetic tape, and CDs.


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