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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

Live or recorded: What do you prefer?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Stacey Catherine

Let me start off by saying this isn’t a comparison of which experience is better. Each category of music, both live and recorded, provides its own positives and negatives, but they are unique and different in every aspect. The separation of judgment is required due to the disparity of the music quality and difference of the encounter.

Live music is geared to please the crowd; it’s a performance, entertainment and a spectacle, first and foremost. The quality of the music depends of the artist’s goal. Some artists prefer to keep the focus on music over the performance, while others prefer to entertain, even though their recorded music is quite good. As an avid music appreciator, I can say that most of the time when I go to a concert, I am looking for the best mix of the two goals. I won’t be upset if one area is a little more favored, but I would like to see a balance in the artist’s performance, a maturity is required to show they know how to perform a show and perform it well.

The hype and anticipation involved prior to going to a high-intensity concert is quite unique. You have a communal sense of excitement and it spreads like a wildfire. There is a humanistic bond that can form between complete strangers that have similar likes and qualities. The shared experience of being mushed and passed around involuntarily in a sea of people where they push and you push back until the crowd turns into one giant homogenous blob is strange, but embracing it makes it exhilarating. These are the essential elements that accompany a large high energy performance, with bands and performers spanning the genres able to produce these results. Bands such as Blink-182, Avicii, Eminem and countless other artists are famous for producing such concerts.

There are other types of live performances, which are much more tame and accompanying a certain  type of music geared toward a different crowd of people. These include concerts where people prefer to sit down and enjoy the music and melody. A more mellow mood permeates the atmosphere and people can relax and enjoy the show. This experience is much more like listening to recorded music, where one’s goal is to enjoy the music more than the experience. Artists like Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Andre Bocelli perform such concerts.

Recorded music often heightens a feeling we are experiencing. It is used to relate to and enjoy something of familiarity. There are songs that make us happy, sad, depressed, excited, and sorrowful. The list goes on. Artists mean to reflect the personal emotions they are feeling in their work, and it is easy for us to relate to rhythm and lyrics of their music. It is very much a personal outlet where the goal is to find what you’re feeling, and amplify it to experience it more fully. Music is a place where one can go to really enjoy themselves, regardless of anyone or anything else.

Despite the fact that recorded music is often experienced by the individual, it is also meant to be shared. A good song is almost contagious. We discover it and often cannot wait to share it with our roommates or friends. We want to spread the emotions we feel from listening to that particular artist or song. In these cases, recorded music takes on similar qualities of live music, because music is meant to be shared and appreciated by all.

Music is a platform on which a community can grow together; it can form communal bonds, which unite people for the greater good. Music is something we can enjoy in our short lives. It can help us get through the hard times and enjoy the good times even more, whether you prefer live or recorded sounds.



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Live or recorded: What do you prefer?