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Variation och digitala verktyg

Jaron Laniers artikel om språkets utveckling i senaste Discover är en sådan där sak som ringlar över flrea intressanta ämnen, och sedan slutar i det här resonemanget om musik, variation och digitala verktygs inflytande på slutresultatet:
"Variety could even decrease over time. In fact, there may be a bizarre example of that happening right now in human song. We can easily explore the changing amount of variety in songs over the last hundred years because of an amazing data archive: audio recording. Since the beginning of recorded music, the sound of human song has changed with each new generation of people. There's no confusing a 1930s song with a 1940s song, or a 1950s song with a 1960s song. The pattern sticks until roughly the end of the 1980s. It's not easy to tell whether a song came from 1990 or 2000.

This might sound like an extraordinary claim, but you can test it yourself. Listen to random clips from the many sources of songs available on the Internet and don't peek at the year they were produced. You'll discover that it's harder to date songs from the last two decades than songs from previous decades. Terry and I are now considering this experiment on a more formal basis.

If you accept that there has been a recent decrease in stylistic variety in human song, the next question is "Why?" There are plenty of possibilities: Maybe the Internet makes too much information available, so everyone has the same influences to absorb—and songs lose flavor and take on a generic quality. To be more cynical, it could be a sign of cultural decline.

Another explanation, which is the one I suspect, is that the change since the mid-1980s corresponds with the appearance of digital editing tools for music. Digital tools are more suggestive about results than previous tools: If you deviate from the kind of music a digital tool was designed to make, the tool becomes difficult to use. For instance, it's far more common these days for music to have a clockwork regular beat. Some of the most widely used music software becomes awkward and can even produce glitches if you vary the tempo much while editing. In predigital days, tools also influenced music, but with not nearly such a sharp edge."
Discover: Sing a Song of Evolution (augusti 2006)
I arbetslivet, där jag arbetar med frågor om digital arbetsmiljö, är det tveklöst så att datorsystem betyder minsad variation i vad som produceras - på gott och ont. Men även på de områden där man enklast ser datorns hela kreativa potential, som musik? Konst? Hm. Nypa salt här. Det där bör de nog göra ett riktigt experiment av. Men det ligger trots allt en del i artikelns slutkläm om den tekonologiska drömmen om enkla, regelstyrda system och processer:
"So this is an ironic moment in the history of computer science. We are beginning to succeed at using computers to analyze data without the constraints of rigid grammarlike systems. But when we use computers to create, we are confined to equally rigid 1960s models of how information should be structured. The hope that language would be like a computer program has died. Instead, music has changed to become more like a computer program."
Relaterat: Chris Anderson om The Rise and Fall of the Hit (Wired, juli 2006) och How shooting digitally changes acting (1 augusti 2006)

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14 aug 2006


Jo, det tror jag också är rimligt, att det är den sortens närsynthet som hämmar.

Från: jonas | Skickat vid: 19:34, 21 augusti 2006

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