I object to background music no matter how good it is. Composers want people to listen to their music, they don’t want them doing something else while their music is on. I’d like to get the guy who sold all those big businessmen the idea of putting music in the elevators, for he was really clever. What on earth good does it do anybody to hear those four or eight bars while going up a few flights?
–Aaron Copland, Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music
The chief results of piped-in noise, as far as Miss Manners can see, are self-absorbed slaesclerks who don’t attend to their customers and half-shouted conversations that ought to be nearly whispered. We have gotten so used to it, that silence has come to be considered somewhat frightening–an admission of social failure, or the world’s being empty. It is now possible to make anyone confess anything–not by torture, but by looking at them in silence for so long that they will tell all, just to break it.
–Judith Martin, Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else.–Lily Tomlin