TED Conversations

Alex Urbanec

Barista, musician

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What will the future of music hold?

I spend quite a bit of my time studying the history of music in all cultures in order to understand where music will be going.

In the last hundred years alone, music has become incredibly varied. With the introduction of electronic music, we experienced even more variety.

What do you think the next century holds for music?


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  • Jun 26 2011: Alex,
    Great question, thanks for bringing it up!
    I think about this a lot too, I think Levitin did an amazing job of turning music into a great new way of discussing the past, connecting it to the future, human beings being the link.
    Anyway, I believe as people become more connected with technology, much like this website, people get the chance to hear and see much more of the world's cultures. Music is a great thing to explore with the recourses the internet offers. Today, I can look up any country and probably find some traditional and modern music from that place. Simply by listening to different musics, I am inspired, as are many musicians. Because of this phenomenon I believe as this idea sharing gets bigger and bigger on the internet, music will keep trying to fuse with other kinds to find happy mixed-breeds much like we have done with dogs from around the world. We will continue seeing "unusual" or unique instrument combinations, trying to find perfect timbre mixtures; we will keep exploring rhythm and harmony of different parts of the world and try to stir them together in a way that becomes harmonious; music will continue to be expressive but technology and electronic music will certainly have an impact on the futures' musics.

    Technology has done a few things for modern music: add the sense of "perfection" to intonation and time--most music-writing software puts every rhythm in perfect mathematical time and ideal pitch. Musicians of the future might learn how to be quite metronomic, which could potentially destroy expressivity (but that's not a claim I can justify yet.) ALSO, music gets to have a new sound now that technology has a push of creativity. The new "sound" is just that--what we call synthesizers. Musical instruments are the coolest things ever made on earth in my opinion, BUT computers have made some intense sounds as well. Right now, popular music started exploring our hearing thresholds with BASS and TREBEL.

    Future music: LOUD?

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