Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music

14th November 2009 | Books, Daily Life, Musings | 2 comments

My copy of the newly-published Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music arrived today along with about 35 other items of post suddenly released from the backlog of the current postal strike. My contribution to the book is just a short article on ‘Learning to Live with Recording’, but it turns out to be the first thing in the book after the introduction.

On the front cover is the image of an old 78rpm record, round and black with a hole in the middle. I remarked to Bob that there must be young people who scarcely recognise such an image as having anything to do with recorded music. I am not sure they envisage any kind of physical object when they think of recordings.

My first disc, with Domus, came out as an LP and a cassette. I was shocked when the late Ted Perry, founder of Hyperion Records, said he wasn’t planning to issue our next disc as an LP because he thought LPs were fading away fast. It was to be cassette and CD. Shortly after that, he said he wasn’t sure if it was worth sticking with the cassette format, because he reckoned that cassettes would become obsolete in the not too distant future. This was discouraging news for someone like me who had only just got round to buying a cassette player. Ted said he thought that pretty soon it would be all about CDs. Now, as most people switch to downloading their music from the internet, CDs are already spoken of as an old-school artefact valued mainly by collectors and technophobes. What next?


  1. Catalyst

    What next?? That’s exactly what I want to know!

    Something I also think about a lot is how this rapid progression in technology has impacted the way we approach music today compared to fifty years ago, or a hundred years ago.

    I’d be very interested to read this book. Unfortunately, it won’t be available in Canada for a while yet.

  2. Susan Tomes

    Catalyst, that’s a very interesting point. I think technology has already affected our approach to music profoundly, and in many different ways. The scope of them probably hasn’t been thoroughly understood yet, either, though there are some good books on the subject. Have you come across ‘Performing Music in the Age of Recording’ by Robert Philip (Yale University Press)?


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