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The power of “repeat”

June 2nd, 2010

One thing I really love about digital media, and media in general, is the power to repeat.

Jazz musicians learn the language of jazz by repeated listening and transcribing of recordings. Writers learn from closely re-reading books, poems, or articles. Video editors and filmmakers learn from closely analyzing and re-watching TV commercials, short films, or movie scenes.

With basic TV, you can’t repeat – you have to blindly accept all the images that are being force-fed into your mind. Digital TV has given control to “Pause” live TV, and to some degree repeat.

Youtube is awesome because there is no limit to how many times you can repeat a video – just click the play button again.

Streaming radio annoys me because I find I really only enjoy a song once I have heard it 5 times.

Live concerts sometimes frustrate me – I find I don’t have the brainpower to remember or perceive all the complexities of a live concert, but if I had a video recording or even an audio recording I could absorb everything the artist is trying to convey.

Of course I love live music for the spontaneity and feeling the presence of the performers.

Without the ability to repeat I feel helpless. With it, I can master my role as an audience member in perceiving art and media, and truly improve my own ability to create.

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  1. Angelica
    June 3rd, 2010 at 09:17 | #1

    I totally agree! Only by listening to a piece a few times can we understand its structure, its highlights, anticipate phrases and sections we like… I think music appreciation is mostly equivalent to that 6th repeated listening.