The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music will benefit even more from technology in 2012

January 2, 2012
4 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

As a new year begins, it is time to play futurist an look ahead for new or continuing trends.

One of them is the increased use of technology by classical music.

That marks a turn-about.

It wasn’t so long ago that technology, especially the hi-tech digital technology that relies on computers and the Internet, was seen as largely harmful to classical music.

The fears of hi-tech took many forms, some of which prove founded and came true.

For example, there probably are fewer expensive acoustic pianos sold and used as cheaper electronic pianos (below) gain more of a foothold – even among professional musicians and concert pianists.

And of course there was the on-line shopping that drove many local records stores, and even national chains such as Tower, to close.

And digital downloading has caused some of the larger labels to cut back in artists and releases even as smaller niche-like labels have come to the fore with music that the big labels overlooked.

But as times goes by, technology increasingly seems to benefit classical music. In fact, says one commentator, classical music’s turn to technology was one of the biggest and most noteworthy trends in 2011 that helped classical music find newer and bigger audiences.

Even as local media have cut back on arts coverage, for example, blogs such as this one have brought classical music fans new sources of information.

And musicians like pianist and conductor Jeffry Kahane use iPads as the score they play from while composers used special programs to practice their art.

Or take the case of YouTube.

Many people now turn to the Internet and specifically to YouTube website to hear all sorts of recordings, historic and current, by big-names performers and artists who are less well known.

Take the pianist Valentina Lisitsa (below), who accompanied violinist Hilary Hahn during a recital at the Wisconsin Union Theater and then a solo all-Liszt recital at Farley’s House of Pianos. (Below are link to the reviews on this blog.)

Her career has blossomed in an alternative, non-traditional, thanks to technology, as you can read below:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/classical-music-review-the-ear-gets-more-than-an-earful-of-franz-liszt-and-valentina-lisitsa-and-thinks-of-liberace/

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/classical-music-review-recitals-don’t-come-more-perfect-than-the-one-by-violinist-hilary-hahn-and-pianist-valentina-lisitsa-at-the-wisconsin-union-theater/

Now classical music has learned that technology seems like any other tool: It is up to the user to make the best use of it – or to suffer bad consequences.

Take a read:

http://www.wqxr.org/#/blogs/wqxr-blog/2011/dec/27/how-classical-music-tuned-tech-2011/

Then leave a comment with what you think and what examples of technology HELPING classical music come to mind..

The Ear wants to hear.

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