What if thoughts could be turned into recorded audio? This is a random musing that often enters my brain late at night. It usually comes about when I hear a song or a melody in my head late in the evening or when I’m in bed, and I think to myself how it would be great if I could quickly make a record of those ideas somehow so that I don’t forget them the next morning.
Those random musical ideas often seem to come at the most inopportune times, and although I’ve occasionally had times where it’s been 1am and I’ve had an idea so great that I’ve been like ‘I have to get this recorded/written NOW and I don’t care if I’m up all night’ – the reality is often although that musical idea is buzzing in my head and I’m feeling creative actually getting that idea out of my head becomes an instant buzz kill when it’s 1am. Plus I have family and neighbors to be considerate of.
Anyway, this idea of being able to record the sounds I hear in my head entered my thoughts again tonight upon having a cool idea for a song – whilst brushing my teeth no less – and it quickly evolved into mulling over what the greater implications something like that would have if it WAS possible…
I mean, for a start, what would it do for music? I think we would have a whole generation of great composers finally able to realize their imaginings without the constraints of musical theory, the practicalities of knowing how to play instruments, of being able to record, arrange etc – all to the level of quality one would hear in their head. It would be so much easier to create great art. We would be truly free of the limitations imposed on us.
But where it would become a double edged sword is the notion that potentially we could eventually end up with a whole new generation that would be unable to play instruments. I’m sure for many the ease of just being able to record what’s in your head would mean there would be no real reason for most people to learn an instrument. What would this do for live music? Sure, there would be traditionalists out there, still keeping the flame alight and learning instruments for the sake of performing live. But recorded music would never be the same. Songwriting would never be the same.
Like, for instance, the fact that not all ideas for songs start with your hearing something in your head. I can honestly say that more songs of mine have been written through me messing around on an instrument and coming up with an idea that way, than ones that were written through something I was hearing in my head. Crafting an entire arrangement in your head without ever interacting with an instrument or recording equipment during that process would have a huge impact on the way people wrote songs.
Also, anyone could literally emulate any kind of sound they wanted. Would this dilute originality? I think it would probably both enhance and dilute it, in different ways. But also can you imagine what this would do for identity in general – outside of music? Would you get people out there podcasting through thought recorded means, effectively allowing them to adopt any voice they wanted, and therefore allowing them to assume any identity they wanted?
I could go on and on with this subject, but I’ll stop there. I’d be very interested though to hear what your thoughts on this matter are! What do you think it would do for music? Are there any implications you think it would have – both within music and outside of music??
Feel free to leave a comment with your ideas.