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Avior Byron

My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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The internet and the interpretation of music

The internet and the interpretation of music

One of the interesting things about the internet is that it lets people become more than passive listeners. Not that listeners were ever really passive. My recent research on letters by listeners to the violinist Bronislaw Huberman show that many listeners experienced intense feelings when listening to his performances. Yet there is something in the web that grants people the possibility to comment and even participate in the creation of meaning in the work of art.


Consider for example the video above. One can listen to Arnold Schoenberg’s famous Verklarte Nacht with a film added to it. The music and the film are edited so that they will fit together and create a new experience for us. The story in the file (a solider returning from war) is close to the program used by Schoenberg. I prefer the text by Dehmal, however, the idea of love that is united, is reflected from both the film and the work of the person who arranged the music and film. He or she made a very good job in making them work together.
The creation of meaning does not stop here. Youtube grants people the possibility to comment on the film. This often influences the way people experience it. Here are a few examples of comments that were written about this film: "Lovely and touching moments you’ve wed together there. Schoenberg’s score is sublime, and so is she! Love the overall tone and mood of your piece. Thank you.", "Wow. Very nice use of film & music together. I am impressed.", "My gosh that’s absolutely beautiful!!!! x", "Outstanding." These comments affect how people see the video. They see it differently after reading these positive comments, as they tell them to pay attention to the way the music and video are ‘wed together’.
Moreover, Youtube grants people the possibilty to embed the video in their blog or website and continue to comment on it, as I did here. This too has the potential to contribute to the creation of meaning. Social websites such as Facebook and Twitter help people to be active in commenting, spreading the meaning, and influencing it in different ways.
The composers and performers of the future will know how to use the web, not only for spreading their creations (such as see my compositions pages), but in encouraging individuals to comment and contribute to the creation of meaning. They will encourage people to add things to their creations and change them, while potentially giving credit to all people who participated. The artists of the future will not be individuals who only project meaning. They will make their ‘listeners’ respond, share and influence. It will be an endless creativity of groups of people.
The questions of copyright, as well as, who is granted the right to participate, will continue to be significant. And yes, there is a problem of copyright here. The person who made this music and video ‘marrige’ did not bother to write who are the performers and who made the video (only the following information is given: ‘A short film to music. 1940’s period piece’. This might mean that he or she are violating the copyright of certain people and it might be removed from Youtube. Pitty.
Indeed, the internet is one of the platforms that will probably change the rules concerning what is and what is not under copyright, and what is a violation in this respect. I can tell you that when I did research at the British Library, I found the issue of copyright very troubling. When I wanted to use excerpts of recordings in order to convey to my readers the foundings of my research. I hope that the rules of copyright will benifit in the future, not only the commercial firms, but also the listeners, scholars and all web participaters.

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