Sunday marks the start of the saddest period in the Jewish calendar called ‘the three weeks’. During this time some Jews refrain from listening to music amongst other activities in order to help themselves get into the mood of this time of year. Although some won’t listen to music at all, others will not listen to live music but will listen to recorded tracks.
Whilst thinking about this I started wondering about the difference between live and recorded music. Obviously one is live and the other isn’t but beyond that, what is the qualitative difference between the two?
The more I thought about it, the more I could see why some people are more particular about not listening to live music. Simply put, you just can’t beat the feeling of live music. Recordings have a tendency to be perfect these days given all of the tools at the disposal of a producer but often there is something missing that technology just cannot replicate. (This is really difficult to describe using words so please bear with me.)
There is definitely a sound that you can only get live, of all of the individual instruments coming together in a way that just doesn’t happen in a studio. The different sounds leak and blend into each other until they become one melody with their slight and tiny imperfections that give the overall sound and feel its very own character. Recorded tracks can sometimes become sterile as their perfection takes away the very thing that makes that particular song special.
In my opinion, this is why many of the records written before technology like auto tune became mainstream have such a different sound to more recent tracks. It may also explain why concerts and live lounge sessions are also extremely popular now even though anyone can access almost any song at any time.
If you don’t believe me, listen to the same song by the same artist but a live version (even a recording of a live performance) and a recorded version and you’ll see what I mean.