Abbey Road Studios, London. With the introduction of streamed music, how have people owned music through history? See below...
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A Personal Note (Archive)
July 26, 2015
This week after subscribing to Apple Music, I've been thinking about how people have owned music through history. Ownership of music in its modern sense dates back to 1877 when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, a machine capable of recording and reproducing sound. Then in the 1890s Emile Berliner developed the technology to produce flat discs with sound recorded in a continuous groove. In 1902 and 1907 Enrico Caruso made two recordings of the aria Vesti La Giubba from an opera by Leoncavello. When these records sold millions the widespread buying of music began, But before this, people still tried to own music. Until the eighteenth century European music outside of the folk tradition had been almost entirely the preserve of the Church. When secular composers in the eighteenth century started writing music, the Church did all it could to maintain its monopoly. Some pieces, such as Miserere Mei Dues written by Gregorio Allegeri around 1640, were kept literally locked away by religious authorities. Allegeri's piece could only be sung once a year in the Sistine Chapel, and all copies of its sheet music were kept secure in the Vatican vaults. Nevertheless, security could not be maintained indefinitely. In 1770 a young musical genius called Amadeus Mozart heard Miserere Mei Deus, immediately memorised it, took it home in his head and wrote it down. Mozart's musical theft reflected a much wider move of music, and culture generally, away from its Christian confines.
People have always tried to own music, while music itself has always tended to struggle against such restraints. The idea of music streaming where music is not owned, but a fee is paid for access to music generally, is perhaps a revolution in the relationship between music and those who listen to it. Personally I am using this new freedom to work my way through the Rolling Stone top 500 albums of all time. B.B. King at Cook County Jail, at 499 was fantastic.
Historical news for August
The work of sculptor Barbara Hepworth is being celebrated at the Tate this month. There is a garden in front of the museum, with a design inspired by Hepworth. There are also family and children activities in the gallery space, including soap carving and necklace making.
The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace open every summer for general visiting. This year's dates are July25th - September 27th. For more information go to https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/exhibitions/a-royal-welcome
At Windsor Castle there are summer tours of the Round Tower, not usually open to visitors. Tours run 1sy August - 30th September. For more information got to https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/event/conquer-the-tower-tour-2015
Anniversaries for August
3rd August 1936:The sprinter Jesse Owens wins the 100 meter event at the Berlin Olympics Games.
4th August 1903: The Greenwich Foot Tunnel opens, running beneath the Thames in west London.
7th August 1947:Thor Heyerdahl's raft Kon Tiki reaches the Tuamotu Islands in Polynesia, after a 4,300 mile journey across the Pacific from Peru. Heyerdahl was attempting to prove that ancient people from South America could have colonised Polynesia. The original Kon Tiki is now on display at the Kon Tiki Museum, Oslo.
9th August 1974: Following the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon resigns.
30th August 1791: Returning from its mission to find mutineers from HMS Bounty, HMS Pandora sinks after having run aground on the Great Barrier Reef the previous day.
27th August 1955: The first edition of the Guinness Book of Records is published as a marketing give away. Since then it has gone on to become one of the world's best selling books.
20th August 1975: NASA launches Viking I towards Mars. Viking I would be the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars and complete its mission.
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Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Derick Fusco, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, Jane Barron of the World Rugby Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.