What happened to composers?

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As I have been immersed in building my big library I have noticed something interesting.

In classical music you sort your library by the name of the composer – Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak and in pretty much everything else the name of the performer – Beatles, Glenn MIller, Etta James.

The big turning point in thiscatalogingchange happenedwhen we gained the ability to actually record a performance -which makes sense since the only way to record music for the classical composers was writing it down on a sheet of paper – so no record of any performance remains.

My guess is if the playing field were even and we had recordings of the performers in Beethoven’s day this cataloging shift would not have taken place and we would always sort by performer.

Which would suggest the medium has a great impact on how we mentally catalog artists: we remember authors because we read their book – actors because we watched their films – performers because we listened to their music – but composers?

We have a special place in our hearts for classical composers but only, I think, because that’s all we have to catalog in our minds.

A great example of how technology changed our world view.