Sousa, John Phillip


Machine Songs IV: The Menace of Mechanical Music

Computer Music Journal: Vol. 17, No. 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 14-18.


Language(s): English


Recycling Socio-Cultural Aspects of Electroacoustic Music


In this article (originally published in Appleton’s Magazine, September 1906), the author discusses what he calls, “the menace in machine-made music!” He criticises the extensive marketing and distribution of the phonograph in America and the UK, suggesting that the use of the phonograph as a means of experiencing music removes the soul of the work, its emotional strength, from the listening experience. He speculates that there will be a decline in amateur music making as the phonograph usurps the place of musical instruments in the family home. He also discusses how, at the time, there were no copyright laws concerning music recording, hence a composer’s work could be recorded and sold without permission or remuneration.