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On Wed, 23 Feb 2005, Steven C. Barr wrote:

> First question would be whether the same system of notation was still in
> use.
> If it weren't, the scores would mean nothing!

I am reminded of the two semesters in gradute school I spent studying
notation. Ever try to figure out mensural notation...and then there were
those "delightful" pieces from the Italian Trecento...talk about
syncopation!!!

Indeed, what would the score mean...we have differing schools on
performance practice of chant and we don't even have a single school of
thought on how to pronounce Latin.

> Actually, the essential question would be whether any 20th-century
> sound recordings had survived, along with the hardware (and software,
> in many cases) to obtain their content.

Which is indeed my point. But then I think...so you have this record of
this group called the Beatles...Sgt. Peppers...now did they perform that
live...or was it memorex...

> Now, look at a CD! All you see is a disc which shimmers with the
> full spectrum...you need substantial magnification to detect the
> fact that this is caused by indentations, and even if you can
> establish the fact that these indentations contain digital
> data, you need the original algorithm to know how to obtain that
> data in a useful form!

One of my students, Rick Taylor, a sometimes contributor to this list,
wrote a fascinating paper which addresses some of those notions.

> Our 40th century anthropologist is much more likely to conclude,
> "These shimmering ornamental disks were worn as jewelry by our
> ancestors of the 20er Jahrhundert, prized because of the way they
> vividly reflected the spectrum of whatever light was used to
> view them..."

Which reminds me of two friends, one who uses them as Christmas tree
ornaments and another who is collecting discarded CDs...he plans to buy a
junk car and cover it in CDs...no doubt causing accidents with the glare
it would produce and fostering the creation of a law (there probably is
one already) banning such practices.

Karl