Assumptions on Creativity and Technology in Popular Music: A Dialogue Between Theory and Practice
Steenbergen, T.M.J. van
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Since we encounter it everywhere, music recordings are omnipresent.. It took the discipline of musicology a long time to move towards a new thinking of creativity, mainly interpreting it as originating in the unconsciousness until roughly two decades ago. There is a widely held notion that popular music is technologically determined, as it mainly exists in recording. Popular music has several constituents, and technology and creativity are among them. These are also the three central topics of this critical analysis in which assumptions of musicologists and musicians are compared. To do this, I juxtapose literature with statements from interviews with relevant musicians. First, I will discuss popular music’s characteristics, followed by a brief review of genre and audience influence. Second, I will examine recording technology. Technological determinacy, the recording as an artefact and the phonograph effect will be discussed next. Then, I offer a concise history of recording technology development and the studio. Main topics are multitracking, analogue recording and present day digital recording. Third, I review assumptions of creativity. Main topics are performance, composition and productions. I also discuss the use of analogue in conjunction with digital technologies. Finally, I address the research question, reflect on my research and discuss the shortcomings.