CSP 64 - Spring 2019

From the Phonograph to Auto-Tune...

Author: StellaG.H.Z

Music and the Concept of the Album

When I think of the word “album,” I immediately connect it to music, to that of a musical album. I think of a collection of songs, and also usually the cover art of the album comes to mind. While my initial connection is to music, however, this concept comes from that of a collection of photos. Furthermore album art  didn’t start becoming important, as far as I can tell from seeing these artifacts, until the invention of the 12 inch LP 33 rpm records that could hold these collections of songs all on one disc. It makes sense, the connection to that of the photo album and how the terms were linked when one thinks of how an album of music used to be a collection of many songs that came from different records. These collections then could be kept together in a book in the same way a photo book, photo ‘album’ was used. When these 33 rpm records were popularized in the early 1950s, soon followed the world of the album cover art. When I think of notable albums, I think of their cover art and sometimes this is more recognizable than the album name itself. Even in today’s society with digital music albums and sound cloud music, for the most part album artwork is still essential part of the “packaging,” promotion and identification of music.

Preservation of Sound

In broad terms, the excerpts from “Handbook of the Phonograph” seems to encompass the idea that the preservation of sound is a way of preserving memories, those of past events and/or friends. The appeal of the phonograph as expressed in the text was mainly as source of entertainment, a new exciting activity. The preservation of voices was then appealing in its ability to played back immediately. At the phonograph party guests, for example, would record, and then everyone would listen to the recording. These guests were excited to hear the closeness to which the phonograph repeated everything that was said or played. On a more personal level, there is an appeal in recording oneself and then playing back twenty years later to see how they’ve changed. As well as this, the appeal of preserving voices extends to that of the preservation of memories of loved ones after they die. In today’s society, the appeal of having recordings of yourself and friends is still relevant and practised. Some people have podcasts or create their own music. Today video recordings are very popular ways of sharing experiences and having memories of loved ones. The excitement and novelty of the recording and then playing it back immediately, however, because of advancements in technology and accessibility of this technology, I do not believe is anywhere close that what as highlighted in this text.