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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

Time machine


If we could call up a time machine and go back to any big city in about 1850 or earlier our ears would require a radical overhaul to accept differences in the general sound picture. Music, even if familiar to us, would have strange overtones. All of which points to the shifting sands of every facet of living and the environmental overlay. Today we can hear instruments of particular periods played by those whose research allows them to conjure authentic sounds and performing styles. Equally, we can commission specialists who make instruments to the precise specification of a certain period.

These sweeping changes to our direct musical experience have brought us further than ever before, and yet we always find the bewildered whose rate of acclimatization with both the early music revival and the cutting edge of new music remains haphazard.

Overall, there is now an intermix of knowledge and exploratory ideas in the world of music galvanising progress, whether in pop, jazz or so-called serious music. It is sobering to speculate what may have driven music forward if the innovatory leaps derived from recording and broadcasting had not taken place. It is all too easy to go along with progress and forget that it might have been otherwise, which in this case seems astonishing.

Copyright © 7 March 2002 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK




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