Music Macines - American Style Author:Cynthia A. Hoover In the last century in the United States music has been democratized. The invention, manufacture, and diffusion of music machines have spread the opportunity to hear all sorts of music to nearly everybody. The sounds of music have become a much less special experience. Almost any sort of music can be heard at almost anyplace and almost any time.... more » This is an achievement, not only of technology, but of merchandizing and advertising.
In this exhibit the visitor can see how the machinery of music making has developed, can have a few clues to how international the story has been, and can glimpse some of the eye appeal that helped arouse the desire of Americans to Own Their Own. An exhibit such as this can loosen our imaginations to new possibilities of sound which are as hard for us to conceive as today's Hi-Fi would have been to our grandfathers. It should remind us that progress means a willingness to embrace the unfamiliar, a quality which Americans have seldom lacked.
While the main stages in the development of music machines can be sampled here, barely a clue can be given to the changing styles and fashions in the composing and performing of music. Have music machines sharpened our awareness of the actual sounds of music, or have we come to take these for granted, like air-conditioning? It is perhaps too soon to say whether the enticing opportunity to reach almost anybody almost any time has stirred into being great composers to match the machines. In this exhibit we see the remarkable technology that has made possible new experience for the layman and a vast new reach for the composer.« less