The word “musicality” is bandied about in hifi circles a bit, but what does it mean? If you look for a definition with Google, you will end up with something like “Musicality is a noun that means sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music.” (From Wikipedia.)
You might wonder what that has to do with hifi… and I’ve wondered about that myself quite a lot… so I suppose that in a way, that is what this blog is about – the pursuit of “musicality” in hifi. And what is “hifi”? By most any definition it would mean something along the lines of high-quality (“high fidelity”) replay of information contained in a recording medium. Put them together, and there is my definition of “musicalita”: the creation of a musically-sensitive rendition or simulacrum of some original musical event, as recorded in some original location and then reproduced in my home.
You know, you can get into twists and turns in all of this. Most of us do. In fact, I suspect that most of us have been led by the nose down one lane or another by the audiophile press or other supposed authorities. One day, you will be told that your equipment is not sufficiently revealing to enable you to detect minute nuances between some minor electrical parts, like fuses or connectors. The next, you will be told that it is all about the music and that you are a fool to be focusing on equipment.
I remember one time being told that one of my websites was not worthy of a certain person’s attention because the users were not “skilled audiophiles.” Other times you will read hifi writers giving themselves airs about how they’ve been in the hobby for so many years and what incredible listening skills they possess as a result. I think this is all nonsense – being an audiophile takes barely any skill at all, compared to actually composing or performing music. Creating a good recording of a performance also takes a good deal of skill, of a different nature. Creating high-quality, marketable, audio equipment also takes skill, again of a different nature. But a “skilled audiophile”? Give me a break.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile hobby, or a fun one for that matter. You don’t have to be a great writer to read (and really enjoy) a great work of fiction. By the same token, you don’t have to have any musical talent to listen to (and really enjoy) a recording of a great piece of music performed by great musicians. Great joy and enlightenment can come from simply being the end consumer of the incredible talents of the composers, performers, and engineers that brought that recording to you. And personally, I think that’s really quite OK.
And so, musicalita. Appreciation of the musical qualities of the equipment we own and the ways in which it helps us to create an enjoyable simulacrum of music that we love (or might learn to, given half a chance).
As for the “a” ending. Well, if you’ve tried to get a meaningful domain name recently, you will know how hard it is, especially if it’s one word. So variants that are not English but still recognisable (to English speakers, in my case, since I am one) can help in finding a good domain name. And also, the Mediterranean/Latin-American flavour of the name means that I can snap my fingers in the air and stamp my feet as I say it.