“Irretrievably lost”

In response to the closure of the last sheet music store in New York City, Naomi Lewis asks on the latest WQXR Conducting Business podcast:

No matter what you’re doing online, is there not something irretrievably lost from that interaction with the sales clerks and with the fellow musicians…?

Nothing can be gained without something being lost. Some people love sheet music shops, and it’s a pity that they’ve lost something here.

People will disagree with me on this, but I’ve never enjoyed the experience of buying music (or anything, really) in a shop. While dealing face-to-face with knowledgable professionals is lost, not all losses are regrettable. Online, there’s never the inconvenience of looking for a score that somebody’s moved, or of having to visit the store twice because your score has to be ordered in, or of speaking to a sales clerk who doesn’t know what s/he’s talking about.[1] Those things are irretrievably lost too.

I still prefer paper, but the easier it gets to annotate on my iPad, the less that’s true.

All that being said, I wrote this post on my way to Dublin’s last good sheet music shop, and the service was excellent.

  1. I’ve been rather rudely told on more than one occasion that the composer I was looking for didn’t exist.  ↩