A little more than 125 years ago, there was no recorded music. The only way to hear music was for some living person or group to sing and play. Music was real, raw, not digitally mastered, not enhanced, or echoed out, or mooged. It was not only the actual sound of music, it was the only sound of music. Music was not that common, not performed that often. Music must have been, for the most part, a delightful experience.
Then Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. A decade later Berliner invented the record disc. The rest is music forever, eternally, and always. Non-stop. Around the clock. 24/7. Everywhere. All the time.
One hears it in elevators, in stores, on the beach, in the hall, upstairs, downstairs, on TV and on the radio, in the background, in the foreground, driving, walking, jogging, camping, hiking.
During the news, during the movies, in greeting cards. During war, parades and funerals. Heavy metal bands blare out their anthem for the shiny faced killers in helicopters pursuing their tasks on the streets of Araby.
For those who have a favorite song, or a favorite artist, or a favorite band, one can have access to it anytime and for as long as one desires. How familiarity doesn't breed contempt after the three thousandth hearing escapes my poor mind but apparently it doesn't. Still, it must weaken the impact a little.
Could Jimmy Joyce wake The Dead in today's sound surfeited world? Poor Gretta! How painful would her memories of her lover's death be after hearing The Lass of Aughrim sung a hundred times?
During a recent interview the Dalai Lama revealed he never listens to music. But that doesn't mean he can't hear it.
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