I just wanted to say if I ever got off topic, it is only because I get too excited about a certain topic. And sometimes, I get out of control (as you've all seen this afternoon in class).
What I really think about electronic convience or any other convience is:
"It is a BLESSING, but also a CURSE." Reasons I said this, is because It is wonderful how electronic innovation can bring musicians/audiences closer (for example, you can read about a composer's bio. and other works of his/hers),and so easy to retrieve any type of music you want to listen to. From classical to jazz, to pop. It is so accessible on the internet. Companies such as Naxos, and Rhapsodies allow you to create an account, and you can get any music you want. (with little money, or no money at all. Trials are FREE for at least a month). This is a great way to EXPLORE music. With this great internet access, one can really get a sense of the style of composers, and performers. If one really enjoys whom they wanted to listen to. They can get concert tickets, and KNOW that they will enjoy the music they're going to hear!!! Personally I don't like music to go, but, great, if you do.
It is also a curse with this great accessibilities. The quality from the computer's speakers (without hooking up to one of those surround sounds) aren't so good. From the recording point of view, although you can still find out what the pieces are about online by google. But, the personal relationship between the performers and you is missing. Some composers such as Varese, and Philip Glass served a very intimate relationship with his audience.
In 1958 Varese composed "Poem Electronique" for the world fair premier. He built specifically an acoustic theatre that goes with his piece of music.
"Although you don't have the sense of the way it was presented originally at the World's Fair with 400 speakers, it still presents itself as a very poetic piece with a large variety of sound sources that are combined in an exciting way. You can also experience how these sounds move through space in a way that had never been attempted before...." Varese's music is about the relationship between space and sound. "sound being set free in space and very much concerned about how sound can move, interact, collide and integrate with sound. He talked about sound masses."
(http://www.furious.com/Perfect/ohm/varese.html) My point here is that composers have innovative ideas about how the sound is perceived and project. And one could not get a "real" sense of this from 5 speakers at home, until he goes to the live concert.
For composers such as Philip Glass, he's the artist in the artists communities. He shared stages with dancers, painters, poets etc. His concert venues includes museums, art galleries. Where a sense of visualization is part of his music.
To conclue this, I hope that I've made my point clear about how conviences can help us to explore, but we can also miss out on the most innovative "IDEAS." No ideas are "avant-garde" maybe we just all need time to absorb them.