The Menace of Mechanical Music

29 Dec 2014

In 1906,—the famous composer of marching music—was an opponent of recorded music technology.  He was especially concerned that recorded music would lead to a decline of amateur musicians.  He wrote this in an essay called “The Menace of Mechanical Music:” 

This wide love for the art springs from the singing school, secular or sacred; from the village band, and from the study of those instruments that are nearest the people.

There are more pianos, violins, guitars, mandolins, and banjos among the working classes of America than in all the rest of the world… [B]ut now the automatic the automatic music devices are usurping their places.





For when music can be heard in the homes without the labor of study and close application, and without the slow process of acquiring a technic [sic], it will be simply a question of time when the amateur disappears entirely.

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