There are not many ways to pass music on to the future. Until the late 19th century, if you wanted to hear music, you had to know how to perform it, or you had to be physically present in the place and at the time that it was performed. The performance of music had a value that it now has lost, even though music itself—defined differently by every listener—has enormous value to almost everybody. Now with recording and playback devices we can hear any music, from any place, from any time in history, and at any moment we wish. We can have an enormous orchestra in our living room, and we can command it to stop while we step out to the kitchen for a moment—and then command the Mahler symphony to continue. It is quite remarkable.

Thomas Forrest Kelly, “Were You There?”, Early Music America, Spring 2010