These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's in the Ear of the Listener

I read a great post about watches at Silverfox-Whispers recently. It made me think about the changes in the world through my lifetime. I suspect my own "fast-track" of changes through life will never rival that of my grandmother (b. 1879- d. 1966) who remembered moving to Kansas by covered wagon, saw the automobile metamorphoses, the development of the airplane through jets, and was disbelieving when men went into space. She witnessed two World Wars. She cooked on a wood stove, a gas stove and an electric stove; washed clothes on a washboard, in a manual wringer washer, an electric wringer washer and finally an automatic electric washer; ironed with an iron heated on the wood stove and curled hair with a curling iron heated likewise. The progress of industrial America was swift and by her later years, she struggled to understand much of it. No, I think my world, while progress has been amazing, will not equal the mileage of hers.

But I was brought to thoughts of my lifetime's industrial progress by Maria's recounting of watches. And I began to think about how various "tools" have changed in my years. I decided to take a look at one. I chose music. I considered computers, but those don't really span my life. The first time I heard about a computer was when I was in school, I think in junior high or perhaps high school, late 1950s and early 1960s. A computer filled a whole room at that time and did amazing little compared to the ones we have today. But computers in my own life experience date from just the late 1980s, so while they have rocketed in advances in that time, they are not really representative of my whole life. Thus I decided to look at music. Or rather how music has been delivered in my lifetime. And no, I didn't listen to music on this device!!

When I was a little kid, music came from records. Most people today remember them, although younger ones quite possibly haven't heard music played from them. In my younger childhood those records were 78s, discs around 10 or 12 inches across, usually with just one song on each side. They were later referred to as "78s" because the turned on the turntable at 78 rpm (revolutions per minute). They were played on "record players." The sound was tinny and scratchy, especially after they had been played a lot of times. They didn't last like later ones did, as they were make of an early, soft plastic. And they broke pretty easily if dropped or bumped. If the needle skipped across the record, it scratched, and thereafter, you heard a "click" every time it passed over the scratched area. But a poor as the quality was, they were treasures, played over and over while we listened and sometimes danced around the room.

Then in the 50s a new kind of record was released. It was the 45, a smaller version of the 78, and these had a big hole in the middle, so we all had to buy adapters for the record players to accommodate the new records which were about 6 inches across. Most had one song on each side, but occasionally they would release one with two songs on each side. Now those were bargains!

As I teenager, I collected 45s, like most teens did (and do in other forms of music now). A bonus was that I worked in a record shop after school and Saturdays, so I was on the first wave to own each new release. I worked there from the 9th grade until I graduated, and I had quite the collection! We had to have adapters like this one to snap in the big hole of the 45s so they would work on the spindle of the record players. I never figured out why they made them with those big holes, other than to make us buy new record players for the new records. Dumb move. The Edsel of records.

During this time, I also began investing in "record albums." Also called "33s," or "LPs," they played at a slower speed, 33 rpm, were much larger, and that combo made it possible to have several songs on each side. Over the next thirty or so years, I collected LPs, amassing around 300 of them, I think. But I listened to them, lots! While I was going through college, I studied with classical music and earphones. When I cleaned house, the rock and roll LPs were playing.

Something new came out during this same time, 8 track tapes. Those were short lived, and I never got into them. They were big and bulky. However the next generation of tapes, cassettes, were enormously popular, and I liked them. I copied many of my LPs onto cassettes and played them in my car.

Then in the late 1980s, another form of music came about, digital music on compact discs, or CDs. Now I own over 500 of those. I listen to them at home, in the car, from my computer and I've copied them to my iPod. I do love my music, and this love affair has lasted for over sixty years now, with various new forms with which it is produced, and over the many devices for hearing it.

First record players (monoral, really poor quality, but we didn't know it!) and AM radio (but we just called it "radio" because FM wasn't known yet).

Then "HiFi" was invented, giving a better, fuller sound to records, followed in a few years with stereophonic or stereo sound which was definitely a better quality sound. Quad sound came next with speakers located in the four corners of a room or car. As we became acquainted with FM radio, these newer sound systems made a great match.

A few years ago I found internet radio. I loved it, being able to listen to good music of my choosing with surround sound speakers all around the room while I was working in my office.

These days, it is satellite radio (Sirius is my favorite) which I commonly listen to with my home theater system in the living room and via the Bose Wave in the bedroom.

The music is the same. I still listen to essentially the same things I did a long time ago. I enjoy music I heard thanks to my older siblings in the 1940s and 1950s, my own music, rock and roll, from the 1950s through the 1970s, classical music, blues and jazz. It's all good. It's actually better because of the new ways of delivering and receiving it. If you'd told me in the 1960s what music and devices would be like now, I wouldn't have believed you. Nah, it would just be too weird to believe what has happened. But I'm surely glad it has!

I have to go now. I need to hear some music. Now, let's see .... iPod? Satellite radio? CDs? Hmmmm.


  1. I read Maria's blog too so your's is another trip down memory lane for me. Fun stuff.

    Since you're a tech-savvy music buff I'm wondering if you ever did the Napster file-sharing thing. Fess up. I did before it became illegal (I think before) and I was able to download the playlist from our wedding and reception.

    Speaking of internet radio, I heard a selection from Benny Goodman's legendary concert at Carnegie Hall. They had some great music back in the 30s too. It inspired me to burn a CD that included some selections from that era, including Blue Skies and Sing Sing Sing with Gene Krupa on the drums. Awesome! And I burned it legally too, at Border's Music here in Ann Arbor.

  2. OH*WOW!!! I LOVED reading this post! When I was 6, my parents bought a farm. Behind the old farm house, was a shed with an old record player with a whole collection of old records that were about an inch thick. My favorite one was "Yes, we have no bananas. We have no bananas today." You had to wind up the record player for it to work. My little girlfriend and I used to dance to those records. :-)

  3. Tried to comment earlier and no luck again.


  4. And there I am. Previously I was using preview and the last time I didnt. Would that make a difference? I was commenting earlier about the juke boxes. How we loved to go to the local eatery after school, sit in a booth with our own private juke box and feed the coins into it and listen to our favourites...probably The Platters, Fats Domino. Little Richard....all the oldies but goodies. Nice trip down memory lane Lyn and thank you so much. I checked that other person who had 3 messages the same...Oh my, almost got myself a job......isnt that a little odd? Three messages the same, and within 1 minute of each other....had me confused for sure.

  5. Big Dave, no, I didn't do the Napster thing. And I'll admit, I was a big chicken!

    I didn't say it, but I love the big bands from the 30s, too. Benny goodman is hard to beat, isn't he? And Gene Kruppa was my favorite drummer of all time! I can't think of any since him that can hold a candle. I saw him once when he was on the bill with Lionel Hampton. Talk about an awesome evening!!

    Today's music just isn't that enduring quality, is it?

    Hey, Ruth!!! You made it!!

    to tell you the truth, I have not used preview but a couple times, and I don't know what to tell you about that.

    Oh, juke boxes!!! Yes!! I remember doing the same thing, and sometime we went there for lunch, too. That is when a hamburber, a REAL one, not McDonalds, was just a quarter. Yeah, for those young'uns out there, you heard that right 25 cents for a full size burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion.

    Ruth, did you blow the paper straw covers onto the ceiling to see if they would stick?? :D

    Oh, my. How I wish I could transport myself and my kids back there so they could understand just how much fun those days were!!

  6. Well, Daisy, I just skipped right over you!! Sorry about that!

    I know the kind of records you're talking about. I think those are the ones the some people refer to as "clay." They had some sort of very hard filler under the vinyl, and boy did they break easily. I used to think "Yes, we have no Bananas was the funniest song in the world." Right up there with it was"Mairsy Doats and Dozie Doats"!!! My grandparents had one of the wind-up record players, too, and I always thought it was so funny to listen to it as it ran down! They also had a really old player piano with the big rolls that you loaded into it and then pumped it with your feet to make it play! It was in the basement, so we could play it without driving the adults crazy!

    Great memories!

  7. This was a great post to read. When I got into music it was all on tape. I remember when CD's first came out and now I can't imagine life without Penelope (iPod). I wonder what is next in the music world.

    Thanks for all the history.

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  9. Hi Lynilu,

    Did you know that Eileen Meyer is going to be giving a couple of concerts in New Mexico. I wanted to let you know since she hasn't been that available for such things and here's the dates in case you're interested or want to let others know.

    Goodlife my friend.

    June, 25 2008 6:00 PM at St. John’s College "Music on the Hill"
    1160 Camino Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
    Cost : Free

    Jul 12 2008 8:00PM
    Gig Performance Space Santa Fe, New Mexico

  10. Caroline, you're welcome! I figure that topic is something that could potentially touch anyone. Even if someone isn't a major music buff, some of those things would still spark some memories. :)

    Robert, thank you! I've unfortunately lost contact with Eileen. I'll see if I can arrange to get up there and see her. It will depend on my little dog who is near her life's end. I won't travel and leave her until she is gone. The dates are on my calendar, in case.

  11. Hmmm i've only progressed so far as CD's/DVD's LOL I miss 45's :(

  12. Now, Patti girl, you're too young to have listened much to 45s!!!


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