Let’s not make a categorical distinction between 19th-century musical products — publications for sale to a public of amateur players — and the recorded musical products of the 20th and 21st centuries. The work of the “composer” notating sonatas for sale to ladies of the bourgeoisie is the same work as that of performers and producers of 20th-century sound recordings. Both endeavors are musicking, both bring a public into the process/experience of music, facilitating further musicking.
Can we distinguish musical product from musical act — or pro-cess from pro-duct? Professional, expert work is carried out. Let’s not see composers as distinct from performers. Let’s recognize that we are all processing, we are “producing” music.
Of Leopold Stokowski, Glenn Gould said: “The real benefit of his interest in technology, I think, was that it enabled Stokowski to resist the inhibitions induced by those pre-technological attitudes toward music-making which created the stratified roles of performer, listener, and composer, and which held that those roles must forever remain separate and distinct. And for Stokowski, I think, such distinctions are themselves the single greatest danger which the artist must face.”