by Zach Losher
Near the end of March, I attended a lecture with a question and answer portion given by Steve Reich. He is one of the most prolific American composers of the past 50 years.
Going into the event I could not have imagined he would have anything to say that was relevant to our class, but he did. While a large portion of the event was focused on his career and creative process, he did have a lot to say about how technology has altered, and will continue to alter, the course of recorded music.
Steve Reich sort of revolutionized modern classical music in the 50s and 60s by incorporating prerecorded audio often involving field recordings and documentary sound, but he said in today’s digital age there could be hundreds of people just like him. According to Mr. Reich, the technology available today allows a person without classical musical training to achieve similar results as someone who has had that training. This is similar to the rise of citizen journalism and photography, as well as many other communicative art forms that historically require some amount of formal training. It is different in the music side of things, because in addition to the rise of more citizen forms of participation that has also been a gigantic influx in music recording technology. These new technologies give musicians and producers more ways than ever to work with one another.
While Steve Reich was talking about this , I thought of the gentleman who spoke to our class about his startup relating to translating the languages used by different audio recording programs. This was an aha moment for me, because it showed that this sort of entrepreneurial thought is needed everywhere. I know that has been stressed throughout the semester, but I was able to connect the dots in a real way.