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ARSCLIST  January 2008

ARSCLIST January 2008

Subject:

Why "discography" WON'T...in fact, CAN'T...go see Jesus...was: Discography's Demise?

From:

"Steven C. Barr(x)" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 01:36:34 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)

see end...
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
> I see this thread has expired, but I really can't believe I'm reading this.
>
> I write for the music fan also, but I see it as part of my responsibility to
know more than what might interest a fan.
> Where is your sense of inquisitiveness? Doesn't the thrill of the hunt appeal
to you at all? If something was made, and you can verify that, you might find it
someday or help someone else to locate the missing treaure. And that will help
garner more interest for your subject. My father was a detective, and I approach
discography with much the same frame of mind.
>
> That's the point of it. And as to the mp3 issue, I agree - how to document
them? How do I document MY OWN recordings, mostly on cassettes? These are all
relevant questions, which I'm sure that as discographers we'll get to. Throwing
up one's hands and saying "we can't do it - why bother" is certainly not the
spirit in which any of us should conduct ourselves. You need vision; to simply
be happy to redact what has gone before IS the true waste of time here.
>
Okeh...
In order for a musical performance to be of use to someone
(other than a "passing fancy" only heard ONCE...!) it HAS to be
preserved in some more permanent form...! This can be as a physical
entity (i.e. a 78, 45, LP, cylinder, on magnetic tape and/or a set
of ones/zeroes stored in some accessible form...?!)

For the first many millennia of the existence of music and its
public/private performances...this was NOT possible! When
someone performed music, it dissipated, never to be heard again.
Thus there are/were uncountable musicians whom we have never
heard...in fact, never WILL...or CAN...hear!

In 1877, Thomas Edison invented his phonograph...and by 1890
musical recordings were being made, and sold in quantity.
Around the same time, Emile Berliner perfected his system
which used lateral-cut disc records...and this latter one
became the standard method of preserving sound and
distributing these preserved performances to as many
listeners as were interested. As a result, when record
"collectors" first appeared, and the information as to
who had performed on these and when began being published.
Since virtually all sound recordings were in disc form,
this field of study was called "DISCography"...!

Over ensuing years, it became possible to preserve sonic
events in a variety of forms...on phonorecords, on magnetic
tape, and finally in the form of digital data fixed on a
"compact disc." The practice of collecting the data on
when and how sound recordings are/were made, however,
has stubbornly maintained the name "discography!"

Now...whenever a sonic event is captured for preservation...
even if only that single recording will continue to exist
(unless discarded, which is all too often the case...?!)
there still exists...MUST exist...a collection of data
detailing WHO made the recording, WHEN and WHERE
(How and why are usually NOT remembered or saved...?!).

So...as long as listeners are interested in hearing these
"preserved sonic events," there will also exist a desire
to establish the details as to their preservation!
And...even if the sonic event was preserved only as a
digital file (which may no longer exist?!), it still
was made on a specific date, by one or more specific
individuals, and in a specific location...!

And making notes of those facts is (at least so far...?!)
called "Discography"...and I suspect that there will
always exist the sort of folks who enjoy saving such
information...?! (like me...?!)

Steven C. Barr

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