How has the digital age impacted you?
Answered by Wynton Marsalis
  • Wynton Marsalis

    Wynton Marsalis

  1. Wynton Marsalis Jazz Musician/Composer


    The digital age enables us to get more information and get it in a system that allows it to spread much more quickly. I can get on a computer and get 10 versions of the Pope Marcellus Mass by Palestrina. I can look for a [Federico Garcia] Lorca poem, and in an hour, I can have that poem. Whereas, before I would've had to go to the library, seek it out, see if it's there, maybe wait a month for it.

    Technology enables us to communicate with other people much quicker, but the interesting thing about technology, and how we communicate through the technology, is like a phenomenon of [music] notes. You'll notice that in most instances, when there are a lot of notes being played, they have much less value than when there are few notes being played. That's not always true, but in general it is. Because there's so much communication, the quality of the communication sometimes suffers, so the act of communicating becomes more important than what is communicated. It's like a [jazz great] Lester Young solo. Lester Young plays fewer notes, but every note has you saying, "Hmm."

    I'm a fan of technology. We invent things, and that allows us to get more information. But what I'm less a fan of is technology defining who human beings are because technology is valued or valuable only until the next version or gadget comes along. Who the human being is, is underneath and unaffected by all of that. Bach did not use the technology that was available to him to write his music. He could have used the keyboards but he wrote his music out.

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