Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Who is Diego Ortiz?

Earlier today, I had no idea who this man named Diego Ortiz was - I should have, and I've probably heard his music before but I had no direct consciousness. Then I stumbled on a youtube with his music. While it played in the background, I had some sense that it might be old music but there were moments when it sounded like a modern composer. That's when I look more carefully. Then I found the wikipedia entry. From there I did a direct search on youtube and found dozens of videos. Spanish Renaissance. Of course. Some sacred, some secular. Makes sense. It's wonderful. A new world is opened. I can even print out this motet and pass it out to the choir tomorrow. I was able to discover all of this in the background while multitasking.

Then my mind drifted back to the bad old days. To discover this would have meant digging through music dictionaries (if you have the right ones), searching shelves of large libraries, fumbling through CD racks at huge music stores, buying CDs some good and some not so good, and otherwise spend weeks possibly and lots of money, all to familiarize oneself with Diego Ortiz. Then you had arcane knowledge hardly anyone else had. To acquire sheet music was nearly impossible unless you made it a profession.

Now I can perform all these operations, nearly by accident, in about three minutes. What a marvel our technology is. How much has been opened for us, just in the last ten years, even the last 24 months! I know all the downsides but I remain convinced that the capacity for knowing more about all things, treasures like this included, will make the world a better place.

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