Change in transaction

Parthasarathi’s research suggests that in live performances early 20th century in India the interaction between the singer and the listener was vital. The way the listener responded to what was being sung changed how the singer was performing. The idea of witnessed presence is important when focusing on the rupture or break between the listener and the singer.

Because the witnessing in re-play is anonymous, one can argue that the performances are relatively more similar. If you do not know who you are singing for, than you largely sing a more standardized composition. Early 20th century this gap between the singer and the listener was addressed by advertising to give life to a faceless person, to give life to a faceless machine, which is the gramophone at that time.

Different media today create different kinds of presences dependent on how they facilitate different kinds of transaction in time and place. The telephone for example offers synchronous dialogues and therefore it is not replay, it is ‘live’ transactions. Parthasarathi uses the example of a rock concert: there are three scenario’s. You are in a rock concert for example in the midst of 5000 people. You can also watch the video of the rock concert in a bar on full screen with a hundred people in the bar. And you can listen to the rock concert on a CD in your house. It is the same composition, but there are three different kinds of transactions between the singer and the listener. Apparently the experience is not only determined by whether one listens to the concert being present in the performance space or by way of mediating media, also the difference in context when experiencing the mediated media changes the transaction between the singer and the listener.

The primary quality of the real singer and the real listener is the transaction between them. The moment it is mediated there is not this real transaction. When listening to music that is re-played by a CD for example, the listener will attribute all kinds of qualities to the music he/she listens to. These are not based on a real life interaction with the singer but nevertheless they are sensorial as well. The re-played music has the potential to influence the listener: behaviour, mood, sense of calm, imagination and more. The listener creates a mental map of the replayed music and this is also influenced by other information. For example, Parthasarathi argues, person A has not been to a particular rock concert but person B has and they talk about it. What person B will tell person A, will affect person’s A mental map of that rock concert and will influence person A when he or she listens to it.