Forms of art today, in various categories such as music and drama, are at the detriment in the current phase of mechanical reproduction. Over time, new inventions and innovations in the field of Art have led to an amazing growth of production techniques. Science and technology have facilitated a mechanical reproduction of arts in modern art industry. Numerous intricate arts created in the ancient times are slightly different at the present time do to reproduction. Has this unavoidable trend in mechanical reproduction affected the artistic invention capabilities of today’s artists?
Certainly yes! The last few decades have brought about immense innovations in arts technology. The emerged technologies brought with them a phenomenon transformation of the entire techniques of arts. This in turn, has affected the artistic inventions of artists over time, compelling them to adopt new techniques to stay vibrant in the competitive art industry. Even the recording industry has adopted new strategies of producing music and other forms of art. According to Robert Levin, the recording industry today is seeking for arts which are relatively straight forward to produce. The new system in the recording studios has created a standardized way of producing music. It has formed a basic level of general music making which is rather similar to works from different artists. It lacks artistic inventions, and it is not particularly enthralling.
The current predicament in music production was first championed by Marx under his capitalistic mode of production critique. However, this was at the time when the problem was at its infancy level. Marx theory points out the underlying conditions of capitalistic production and illustrates how it develops into in the future. He voiced out his concerns that eventually, capitalist production would exploit proletariat populations with increasing intensity. Also, strong conditions to uphold it would be put in place that would make its abolishment almost impossible. In principle, any work of art is reproducible. However, mechanical reproduction in art creates an entirely new aspect of art representation.
Marx is not the only scholar and musician who have given insight into the matter of sound mechanical reproduction. In his publication, Jonathan Sterne discusses the cultural background of sounds, its recording, and transmission devices. In his contribution to the topic, he focuses on technology and cultural precursors such as phonograph, radio, and telephony, which he believes were the entry points of sounds. His works trace the development of sounds through a historical labyrinth of sound technologies. In the chapter 6 of his publication, Resonant Tomb, the author describes the broad difference between imagination and sound recording in the earlier days.
According to the chapter, from the moment it was introduced, sound recording seemed a remarkable sound archival medium. The earlier versions of sound recording were quite different from the way it is today. The earlier recorded sound versions would become unplayable once they were removed from the machine. With evolvement of technology, the problem was eradicated upon introduction of metal and shellac sound recording disks. He considered this phase to be the stepping stone to massive sound recording and eventually sound mechanical reproduction. Jonathan blends cultural studies with the long history of communication technology in order to explain the history of sound technologies.
Chapter 6 of this publication forms the basis of a clear hypothesis that distinctive sound cultures, gave birth to today’s sound recording devices. Mechanical reproduction of music marks the height of art evolvement. It has quite a share of its advantages but also an equal set of disadvantages. For example, the originality of the piece may lack to be authenticated. This is so because of the phases of evolution it has passed through over the years. The pressure created by music recording houses towards artists in following stipulated set of policies limits the room for innovations on the composed parts. The arts become so obvious and common in such a way that they no longer create much excitement from the audience unlike in the past decades.
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