Live vs. recorded music -- what's better?Indeed, I am tempted to assume the contentious position that the very phrase "recorded music" is an oxymoron. In this respect I suppose I am reviving the way in which Tinctoris adopted Aristotle's distinction between making and doing, to which I devoted a post last month. In that post I quoted heavily from a paper by Rob Wegman entitled "From Maker to Composer: Improvisation and Musical Authorship in the Low Countries, 1450–1500." In this case I would like to home in on one sentence:
While written counterpoint, by its very nature, can only be represented by a noun (res facta or cantus compositus), oral counterpoint necessarily requires one to use a verb (cantare super librum).A recording, particularly one made with extensive studio work, can never be anything other than a res facta (literally, a "made thing," with some bizarre connotations of the Mafia expression "made man"). Doing is clearly part of the process; but, when the work is done, it is inevitably secondary. True Aristotelian doing only takes place in the immediacy of performing in front of an audience (and lip-syncers need not apply). Calling anything else "music" amounts to taking a counterfeit to be the real item.