TECHNOLOGY AND EXPRESSIVENESS IN RECORDED CLASSICAL MUSIC: A CASE STUDY IN RECENT WESTERN ART AND CULTURE

MITCHELL LEWIS KAUFMAN, Fordham University

Abstract

The analysis of trends in artistic expression has largely been neglected as a seismograph through which the fluctuations of society may be measured. This dissertation attempts to provide adequate support for the acceptance of musical performance as a reflective indicator of more widespread social tendencies, and is thus concerned with parallel trends in both art and culture.^ Accordingly, the following developments were hypothesized as having occurred simultaneously: a rapid evolution of recording technology in the field of classical music resulting in a subsumption of the artist to forces of a technical nature; an alteration in the perceived function of the recorded medium, placing it now within a technical rather than artistic order; a rise in the level of technical execution and literalness on the part of classical musicians, accompanied by a decline in expressiveness and personality; and an increasing societal emphasis upon technology and technological values at the expense of those of a human and artistic nature.^ To this end, both historical material related to the development of recording technology and pertinent critical literature were employed. So as to test the final hypothesis, an initial consideration was made of the plastic arts, religion, and business and industry, to determine whether those areas have exhibited developments similar to those in musical expression. Finally, the social theory of Durkheim, Simmel, Mumford, Ellul, Bell, Barrett, and the Frankfurt School was considered, in order to properly assess the social implications of these findings.^ In all cases, the hypotheses were confirmed. It was thus concluded that recent decades have seen social trends of dehumanization and impersonality--as reflected in the increasing emphasis on technical values within the areas studied--rise to a position of unprecedented prominence at the expense of those factors which make man viable as an individual. ^

Subject Area

Music|Sociology, General

Recommended Citation

MITCHELL LEWIS KAUFMAN, "TECHNOLOGY AND EXPRESSIVENESS IN RECORDED CLASSICAL MUSIC: A CASE STUDY IN RECENT WESTERN ART AND CULTURE" (January 1, 1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8213245.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213245

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