From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
> George, I hear what you're saying, but there is no such thing as "unedited
> history" beyond what is processed in an individual's brain, and then it's
> only that individual's unedited history. Everyone chooses what to keep and
> what not to keep, what face they show the world and what they take to
> their grave. And history gets rewritten all the time. You are seeking an
> unreachable (if noble) goal if you are advocating saving "examples of
> everything" or thinking there's such a thing as "unedited raw history." I
> would suggest part of the reason that humans are doomed to repeat history
> forever is that it's impossible to ever "preserve" history beyond the
> first-person experience. What we're preserving are biased interpretations
> and "sampling" of first-person experiences and calling it history.
Nonetheless, there DOES exist such a thing as "history," on several levels!
For example, my
many 78's stand as examples of the "popular music" (and popular taste as
well!) of their
eras! Of course, they are NOT unique (although they may soon be?!) examples;
they still represent and exemplify what people were listening to in
As well, the house in which I live was built c.1869...and as such represents
part of the history of Oshawa, Ont'o., Canada (I rather suspect that most
are unaware of this importance and prefer to stay that way...?!)!
> When you get into recorded music, it's even more of a false premise that
> what's being preserved is "history." I always keep in mind a conversation
> I had with a classical pianist once, when the man was in his 70's. Somehow
> we got on the subject of how he'd be remembered and he glumly noted that
> his recordings would stand far longer than the experience of seeing him in
> concert. Yet, he had spent thousands more hours performing in concert --
> and he believed he had performed every single work he had done best in
> concert -- than in front of microphones making records. So you can see how
> this is the classic example of "sampling" first-person experiences and
> calling it history. The same can be said of much recorded music. I think
> where the argument gets trickier is for the few albums and genres that are
> completely creations of the studio, that they stand as music and also
> performance art, as a stand-alone work rather than an edited summary of
> what the artist performs numerous times and possibly in very different
> ways in front of live audiences.
NOT true! Live performances, if not recorded, are NOTa permanent thing; they
live only (more
or less) in the minds and memories of the witnesses! I agree that a live
surpass the commercial recording of the same event; however, there is no way
the former (now vanished!) entity to anything! I have (or used to...I hope I
still do...?!) about
40-50 cassette tapes I made of my blues band (I used to tape all my
the band only recorded once, and then only ten songs, the live recordings
as the audible evidence of our existence?! In that sense, they are (were?)
part of the musical
history of Toronto!
Also, recording the reminisences of elderly folks DOES preserve important
which would otherwise not be preserved. I learned a lot of the history of my
when I was able to speak to an elderly (probably now dead?!) citizen whose
wife had been born and raised in the house. As well, there still exist both
records, and unofficial ones (i.e. city directories and the like) relating
to the house...?!
My thoughts, in any case...
Steven C. Barr