Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Schafer predicts the ringtone

Who invented the telephone bell? Certainly not a musician. Perhaps it is just a bad pun on the name of its inventor? It may be that such an audacious device should have an obnoxious sound, but the matter should be accorded more consideration. If we must be distracted ten or twenty times a day, why not by pleasant sounds? Why could not everyone choose his or her own telephone signal? In a day when cassettes and tape loops are cheap to manufacture this is entirely feasible.
R. Murray Schafer: The Soundscape, p. 241-2. The date is 1977.

3 comments:

SadOatcakes said...

Unfortunately, being able to choose your telephone signal does not preclude being surrounded by pleasant sounds only. You must remember that everyone else is choosing their own ringtones, too.

Osbert Parsley said...

Agreed. The ironic thing is that while in 1977, Schafer thought the telephone ring was "unmusical", many of the musicians I know are now railing against ringtones and complaining that you can't find a traditional bell sound on today's cell phones. I'd be interested to see what Schafer thinks of the current situation.

SadOatcakes said...

I don't know. I hope at least he would join the rest of us in railing against endless tinny renditions of the first eight bars of classical pieces.