Echoes from the Past 

                                James Lamontagne  

A noise, a series of sounds, all tightened together by a beautiful voice… There you have it, music. Like us human beings, it’s always evolving. It can be as simple as it is complicated, but by all means, it conveys emotions. The Pop era will soon be running out of fuel, the creative mind behind your favorite songs will be looking for new directions, genres to explore. It is hard to predict such an uncertain thing; however, I might have an idea of what the future will hold.

To begin with, knowledge of the history of music is imperative to make a realistic prediction of what is next. At the beginning of time, voices were primarily used in the making of melodies. Then, with the creation of instruments came more possibilities and thus, classical music was born. With the emergence of composers like Beethoven and Mozart, orchestras reached a peak in the numbers of musicians involved. Slowly, less and less of them were needed, with the advent of blues, jazz and rock. With the recent advancement in technology, a computer is all that is needed.

In a certain way, this might seem tragic, nevertheless, brace yourselves, a revolution is coming and her name is Caroline Shaw. She made classical music popular again by blending it with indie and elements of other genres. She blurred the lines between the styles, making it nearly impossible to put a name on what she is doing. What she is bringing to the table is so innovating that she won a Pulitzer Prize for it in 2013, becoming the youngest to do so. Imagine a room, filled with musicians, except that no one has any instrument in his hands. Their voices are used to replace them, like an a cappella group with a twist; speeches, whispers, sighs, murmurs and wordless melodies are the only hearable things.

Roomful of Teeth, the group of which she is a part of, has its mind set on exploring the expressive potential of the human voice. Their Grammy-winning first album contains the song that has drawn the most attention. Partita for 8 voices is one of the most inventive thing that has been composed in years. When asked how the song came out to be by the New York Times, Shaw responded that she wanted to hear a mass of people talking, a conversation that would then turn into a guttural sound, vocal fry, with no words, just vowels. With that novelty, she paved the way for a new musical genre, something that will inspire many.

This prognosis might be revealed as false in the upcoming years; however, one thing is sure, it will not be that far from the truth. The commercialized music world that we know today has lost a bit of its authenticity, with songs being less heartfelt than they were at the dawn of time. A step backward might be what brings us forward to a more truthful artistic realm of warmth and emotion.



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