Music: Phonographer

In the days before the phonograph, composers who wanted to have their music preserved for future generations had to write it down on paper. Now, thanks to recording machines, music can be engraved directly on the surface of wax discs, preserved as permanently as sculpture. The best swing music is not written down; it is improvised. Before the phonographic era, improvisation was as impermanent as a cloud of smoke. Today the woodnotes wild of Benny Goodman's clarinet can be made as durable as a Chopin nocturne, and copies can be distributed by the...

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