Putting it across

The book has a section which deals with the importance of clear, ‘logical’ scores and band parts and makes an attempt to arrive at standardization – accents (usually) opposite the stems; instructions to the player, except dynamics,  above the stave (staff) etc.

Music written for recording and broadcasting will generally involve ‘sight reading’. Studio time is expensive and places an even greater responsibility on the shoulders of those who prepare the music on paper.

But this is just a small part of the wider world of communication and the need to ensure we make ourselves clearly understood. The matter is assuming greater and greater significance because of the increasing sub-division of knowledge which is an inevitable consequence of the growth in our understanding of the world we live in.

There is as much technology involved in the tread on our car tyres (tires) as there was in building the entire Model ‘T’ whereas, in Leonardo Da Vinci’s time, it was considered quite normal for someone to be scientist and artist. There wasn’t so much to learn.

I’ve been mulling over this problem for some time but an experience this very morning prompted me to put fingers to keyboard.

Two of us spent around half an hour trying to find the link on my wife’s new Google page to download her emails but without success. Eventually, more by accident than analysis, we found it on the first page we encounter when we click on the Google logo in the Favourites bar. It’s a small link top right.

Google is a good example of the increasing difficulty of ‘keeping up’. Some people I’ve spoken to find Google+ unbelievably difficult to follow, and I find that understanding Webmaster Tools requires a great deal of time and effort, although I manage in the end.

 As knowledge increases, those ‘in the know’ forget what it’s like to be ‘normal’. In many cases, they probably couldn’t write for the novice if they tried to.

Websites, particularly those representing large corporations, are also guilty. Trying to find the link you require can be a nightmare. More than once I’ve been compelled to use the search facility, if there is one.   

I also worked in advertising and PR which is all about ‘putting it across’. We had a rule that the onus is on the communicators to make themselves understood. We always imagined that the recipient of our message had a ‘blank sheet’. We never thought

‘Oh, of course they’ll know this, or that’.

 Advertisers are generally after your money and usually make a greater attempt to ensure they’re reaching us, backed by market research. Where money is involved people really click into gear.

To be completely fair, it’s reasonable, in more esoteric circles, to assume a certain level of competence; you can’t teach ‘down’ to a subject. That would seriously impede progress and, in any case, we all need to read up on an area that’s new to us. But there has to be a limit.

There are ominous implications here: those at the top of society are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the Status Quo. As a result, being able to hide behind an increasingly esoteric level of verbalism, will make it easier for them to achieve their sinister aims.

‘We told you! Don’t you read the small print?’.

Words. Damned words!


2 thoughts on “Putting it across

  1. Yes, everything is getting more and more complicated. As soon as I “master” one software program, two more are updated with new features and a rearrangement of where familiar features used to be. Recently I have felt that one must focus on only one major computer program only if one wants to be a virtuoso with it. Sadly I have many diverse interests and being buried in updates and having to relearn things instead of moving forward seems to be the order of the day. At least we can manage to do this right here and now!


    1. The problem is, Jim, that updates are often worse than the versions they replace. ‘Word’ is the obvious example. It also takes time and energy to find THAT out.


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