Listening to music one evening, I found myself reading the liner notes jazz pianist Bill Evans wrote for the album Soulmates, released in 1963. Evans, interested in exploring questions of technique in what was being described at the time as modal jazz, decided to use this occasion to share his philosophical musings about the influence of sound recording on interpretative style. One passage, in particular, struck me as rather intriguing in relation to the themes to be examined in this chapter:

[T]he emergence and evolution of jazz has paralleled the invention and continued improvement of sound recording. It is not difficult to see that although musical notation is a device sufficient to preserve, record, and propagate music as traditionally composed in Western culture, there could be no conceivable system of notation that would allow a true and faithful recreation of the music of interpretive performers. The great composers as we know them may have been forced to many compromises in style because of the necessity of notating in such a way that the interpretive link could be used to preserve their music for future generations.