The way we listen to music and the music we listen to has changed so much throughout the years. From the very first phonographs to the current MP3 players. Music has been an essential part of our lives. It brings people from all different backgrounds together and has helped overcome many worldwide issues such as racism and sexism. It is an ever-changing art form that has had pioneers along the way. We are lucky now that there are so many ways to appreciate music and so many different genres and artists that we can find out about and love. Music has evolved throughout the years in three main ways: the way we listen to music; what music we listen to, and how music is made.
How we listen to music:
The first ever piece of recorded music is ‘Claire de la lune’. This French folk song was recorded in 1860 by the French inventor, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, on his phonautograph. In 2008 they rediscovered these recordings and managed to play them back using a computer scanning system. What is interesting about this invention was that the recorded material could never be played back because they didn’t have the technology to read the waveforms that the phonautograph etched into paper. Shortly after this invention Thomas Edison created the phonograph. The phonograph etched waveforms into a cylinder that could then be played back by rotating the cylinder and reading the waveforms with a stylus and a very basic speaker. The phonograph was then improved in the 1880s by Alexander Graham Bell and then further improved by Emile Berliner in the 1890s. Berliner’s contribution to the phonograph was the introduction of flat discs with a spiral groove that ran from the outside to the centre. These later forms of the phonograph became known as the gramophone and eventually evolved into the modern turntable and record player.
In 1963 the first compact cassette was made by the Dutch technology company known as Phillips. Before this there has been other formats of the cassette but this was the first one that was readily available to the masses as an easy way to record and play back music. The first cassette players were built for cars, as before this listening to music was something that was restricted to the home. Tapes meant that music could be portable with The Sony Walkman and the cassette players for cars but soon stationary tape decks were made for better audio quality. In 1982 the first ever compact disc was put on sale, it was a series of Chopin waltzes but soon after this many more modern tracks were sold on CD such as ABBA’s The Visitors. The invention of the CD really kicked off the revolution of digitalised music, they have remained popular since they were invented however, there was a slight decline in 1997 when the first MP3 player was released and music was available without having to have a physical copy. Soon music streaming became available took over the music industry with companies like Spotify and Napster. Recently vinyl has made a comeback and in 2016 vinyl had its biggest year since 1991.
~I’ll post Part 2 as soon as I can so keep an eye out for that and in the meanwhile take a look at my other posts and see if there’s anything that interests you~