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To Undeaf Their Ears: The Spoken Word in a Multimedia World
October/December 2003 (vol. 10 no. 4)
pp. 8-11
Jerry Goldman, Northwestern University

The ability to store and retrieve sound marked a milestone for civilization. To be sure, texts and scores are storage devices, but they provide only the bare elements of the sounds we hear. Audio recordings (wax cylinders, reel to reel, cassettes, minidiscs, CDs) preserve our cultural heritage in the form it was created?the sounds themselves—whether the source is voice, instrument, or ambient sound. It?s hardly worth observing that ready access to recordings has transformed the musical experience as well as the musical tradition. As the medium by which we capture sound evolves, so have the methods of distribution. It?s difficult to adequately capture in a metaphor the effects of music file sharing over peer-to-peer networks. Yet for all the power contained in the listening experience and shared by tens of millions of music lovers, we haven?t yet made full use of spoken word resources nor shared them widely. What we are missing is a culture that recognizes the superiority of the spoken word in contrast to its next of kin: the transcript.

Citation:
Jerry Goldman, "To Undeaf Their Ears: The Spoken Word in a Multimedia World," IEEE Multimedia, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 8-11, Oct.-Dec. 2003, doi:10.1109/MMUL.2003.1237545
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