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'You Say You Want a Revolution...'

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Regarding 'newness' in technology: we must view the context as well as the innovation. Often what we experience as 'new' digital creations are actually only re-dressings made with very impressive computer tools. An example is a 3-D animation presented as a 2-D film. The production methods are new but the final result, in 2-D, is very familiar. The content may be different, perfect perhaps in its 3-D illusory sense, but the means of presentation as a 2-D film are far from revolutionary. Here we have only half of a revolution, newish wine in ancient skins. The other half occurs when the means of presentation fully reflect the potential of the new content. We have a full-fledged revolution when content is made using the new technologies to their fullest effect for both creation and presentation. The revolution arrives when the 3-D rendered animation is presented in 3-D.

Amid the chaos of digital choices in this emerging era we have begun to view ourselves differently. It would appear that some esthetics concerning Post Modernism have met an edgy adversary. With new forms of presentation invented as technology continues redefining availabilities, new understandings of formal construction and presentation are possible, actually mandatory. New content is invented to better suit the needs of the new means of presentation. New content - new forms, apparently everything under the sun has not been thought of yet.

Even the prized musical repertoire from about the Fifteenth through the early Twentieth Century is revisited. The new technology allows us to reconceive that magnificent canon in unexpected ways. Playback of the past masters' work in 3-D sound is already occurring and the effect is stunning. Truthfully, any of the different 3-D formats are a far different experience than typical stereo. As a document, these recordings are much closer to representative of the actual performance event. Beyond this, computer analysis has allowed breakthroughs in hall acoustics and instrument design. These and other emerging technologies will eventually effect everyone concerned with the Classical Music genre.

Technologies related to forms of music with recorded playback as the principle means of representation -- Pop, Techno, Ambient, Electronic/Digital musics -- will become increasingly important and specialized. Previously recording technologies have served mostly as the primary means of documenting live performances. Their emergence in the playback-as-primary-medium is an overt re-definition of their past usage which points to future usages and developments along similar lines. Content is catching up to the as-yet-to-be defined genres that technology is making possible.

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Copyright © 1 January 2000 by Jeff Talman, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA


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