"Live performances provide special excitement. In a live p...

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"Live performances provide special excitement. In a live performance, artists put themselves on the line; training and magnetism must overcome technical difficulties to involve the listener's emotions.

What is performed, how it sounds, how the artist feels about it that evening—all this exists for a fleeting moment and can never be repeated.

An audience responds to the excitement of such a moment, and feelings are exchanged between stage and hall.
"Recorded performance was a sensational innovation of the twentieth century.

Today, the Internet gives access to a practically unlimited variety of recorded sounds and images.

Portable audio and media players permit us to hear and watch what we want, wherever we want."

Before we embark on the study of different musical styles of the past, it is important to remind ourselves that most of the music we will be studying this semester was, initially, only experienced in a live performance setting - since recording technology had not yet been developed.

As Kamien alluded to, in live performance, performer(s) and audience share a common time and space.

With recordings, the "fleeting moment" that Kamien speaks of can be preserved and repeated indefinitely.

The advantages of recording technology should not be overlooked - not only do recordings allow us to preserve performances, they also make music much more accessible than it used to be.

On the other hand, recordings seem to undermine the communal and ephemeral nature of music.
Kamien wrote mainly of how our experience of recorded music differs from our experience of live performances.

Please expand on this by discussing how the setting (live performance vs. recording) affects how we perceive of what music is.

Is music an activity or a commodity? Recordings have the capability to imbue a particular performance with a sense of authenticity or authority.

In such cases, one particular performance of a composition may be considered (either consiously or subconsiously) to be the authoritative version that serves as the reference point for all other interpretations of the piece.

Have you ever gone to a concert and noticed differences between the live performance and the recordings with which you were already familiar?

If so, were you disappointed or did you enjoy the variety in intepretation?

Have your most memorable musical experiences involved live performances or recordings?

Questions continued:

1)One of the listening selections for this week is a medieval dance - Estampie.

The relationship between music and dance is an important one that we will encounter throughout this course.

Listen to the Estampie several times.

After listening to this piece, please discuss the following:

Does this music sound danceable to you? Why or why not?

Recall the material from our first unit of the course.

What element(s) of music do you feel are the most important for dancing?

Does the relative importance of musical elements change depending on the type of dance?

(In other words, is an element - such as rhythm, meter, melody, dynamics, form, musical texture - more important for some dance styles and less important for others?)

Please offer examples to support your answers.

2) In the textbook, the author discusses the many instances of word painting in the English madrigal "As Vesta Was Descending."

Listen to this song several times while following the vocal music guide on p. 89.

While listening to the madrigal, consider what effect the word painting has on your experience.

Then, discuss your thoughts on the following questions:

Does the use of word painting enhance the text? (In other words, does it help to draw your attention to the words?)

Does the use of word painting seem natural (i.e., organic)?

Does it ever seem forced?

Is the word painting distracting in any way?

Does the use of word painting make your listening experience more of an intellectual experience?

(In other words, by appealing to your intellect, rather than your emotion, does the word painting diminish the "feeling" part of your music listening experience?)

If yes, do you think this would have still been true had you not been made aware of the uses of word painting in the song?

Can you think of any contemporary songs that contain word painting?

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Time is one of the key factors that distinguishes music from many other art forms. In this way, it is connected to theatre and dance, that also requires performance. Before recording technologies, music was performed live for its listeners. Though music notation helped to solidify music like an object that could be repeated by following instructions and the buying and selling of those instructions, it was not until recording technologies that music achieved its greatest solidification as a physical object. The ‘music’ could be recorded on a disc. The disc itself also became part of the music, and so the definition of music had to be expanded. Perhaps music no longer had to be organized sound, it could be about sound. Music as an object, as disc, was then more easily traded as a commodity. You could take a record home, but not an orchestra.
Recording technologies could never fully replace the live performance. Compromises would have to be made. Kamien wrote: “What is performed, how it sounds, how the artist feels about it that evening—all this exists for a fleeting moment and never be re repeated.” What...

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