Thursday, February 2, 2012

Media Marriage: Remixes and Mashups

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

You've probably heard this rhyme before, typically in regard to marriage. This isn't about rings or things, rather the marriage of the medias. I was thinking about the presentations today on music and how those songs are ones that I grew up on. My mother kept me fed on a great number of those great Baroque composers... Vivaldi and Handel being her favorite (still to this day we make christmas cookies to Handel's Messiah) . Music in the 17th century seems to be that marriage between the old form based pieces of music to the more fluid compositions that we are more familiar with today. 

One of the themes that I am noticing as I see what I see with the 17th century is how the new musical techniques enabled some of the old forms to be remixed into something entirely new and different... from patron based music sets we see the composers taking new techniques that would be unthinkable essentially taking the old and making it new, something that people are doing today with new artforms like digital media, taking the old themes and making them their own with new innovations. I thought I'd compare it to the remix culture that we have today with the multitude of creators that we see blossoming in the internet today

Something Old. 
The primary source is often an amazing creation in and of itself. Take a good character from a tv show, or perhaps a song that sparks the interest of a creative mind... or perhaps even science documentaries. You see the music primary resources that the baroque musicians had to work with were not bad pieces of music... they were amazing, but limited by their very nature. There were complex rules that went into writing these pieces that made them worth listening to...But what happens with these rules that govern the primary resource? They get broken by the next people to make something new.

Something New.
The creator comes along and sees this interesting primary source and decides to do something new with it. Perhaps they manipulate it so much that the primary resource wouldn't be able to be recognized... or maybe not, make they take the original and place it into a medium that the primary source never would have gone into... for example in this video called "Symphony of Science" you see something that I never would have expected to see.... Carl Sagan 'sing.'

Something Borrowed.
Making videos like this do mean that the original work was borrowed. This is where the copyright comes in... is the borrowed information something that helps or hurts? Some people didn't like the change to the Baroque type of music, they resisted and refused to listen to these passionate composers link humanity to their music. But the new creations borrowed and created new.

However there are problems with borrowing information, sometimes the information is used in a way contrary to the nature of the original. For example, taking a child's favorite cartoon character and writing a bloody horror story may be taking this creation to it's limits. You need to discern when the borrowing is healthy for the primary and the secondary creator... some people who want to write novels will only write about the characters from their own television shows.

Something Blue.
Blue in this victorian era poem relates to fidelity and love. For these primary and secondary creators it really means to be true to the art form. The baroque composers may have changed music as their word knew it, but they were true blue to the beauty and eloquence that music allots. The same with the tasteful remixers who create something that is worth consuming (not the 1001 videos of cats falling out of things or shaky footage of a film that just came out in theaters last week) That's where the real beauty comes, in creating things true to one's self...doing the best one can.

What do you do to create?

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