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A Computer Now Counts As An Instrument?


Tman5293

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So I was having this argument with a friend of mine the other day.

 

Were talking about this software he is currently using called Reason. It basically allows him to create an entire virtual band. He then proceeds to tell me that creating background bands for a singer on a computer is the way of the future. dry.gif I argue back saying that it takes close to zero talent to do that and if he thinks that eliminating real musicians and just having one singer is the way of the future then he is really screwed up. I then go on to tell him that this is problem with main stream music today. To many people are using the computer as an instrument. I then told him that most mainstream artists today have very little talent. That, even if they can actually sing, their voices are still auto tuned and effects are still added. He says that its easier then having to worry about a real band and personal problems between band members and such. He then tells me that if I think its so easy he would just sit me down if front of this program and tell me to make a whole band right there on the spot (Which I can easily do since I have experience with programs like that). I told him that since the computer is such a hard "instrument" to play then he should have no problem if I gave him a guitar and told him to play some amazing face melting solo. He should have no problem being able to do that since he's so talented at playing guitar on his computer.

 

So my question to you guys is this, Does it take talent to create virtual bands/ instruments on a computer? And what do you think about his mindset? Unfortunately, this is the way that most of my generation thinks, which I think is totally fcuked up! Do you guys think its ok to eliminate the middle man (real musicians)?

 

Just wanna here some feedback on this. I think this could turn out to be a pretty cool discussion. msp_cool.gif

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Progress is progress.......Computers are not musical instruments. Computers are tools to assist recordings and the recording process...One could argue that a computer is a musical instrument depending on one's point of view, and, both points of view would be correct depending on one's view...Same with the Firebird X.....Is it a guitar ??? Or not ??? Are computers replacing musicians in the working world ??? Yes..Is this right or wrong ??? Once again it all depends on one's point of view.......

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Computers, as in personal computers, can be used both as instruments, as well as to mimic instruments. In fact, a HUGE portion of what you hear in pop music today could arguably be considered "computer generated", if one factors in digital mastering, sampling and vocalizers.

 

Drum machines, electronic drums, midi controllers, electronic keyboards, samplers, moog synthesizers... all have been around for years and are "computers" by the most basic of definitions. Perhaps a more narrow scope would be better.

 

In as much as you can sit down and crank out a band in "Reason", because you've used applications before, so your friend could learn to play one of the above instruments having used a computer. But we should compare apples to apples. If you are asking your friend to instantly compose and play a face melting solo, you'd need to instantly compose and compile a band on the scale of Queen playing Bohemian Rhapsody.

 

I any event, I hope you enjoyed, and won, your argument! Sounds kinda like your friend was snarky and I love to see a good snark be out snarked....

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Okay, a comment or two from the gray-headed old guy...

 

1. I wouldn't claim a computer cannot itself "make music." You could program something right now that would do something or another. With artificial intelligence coming in, I'd question that you might not have some half interesting stuff coming from that. On the other hand, I think who ever wrote the "Star Trek Second Generation" stuff where Data was writing and playing music probably nailed it that it would almost certainly lack emotional content. Ditto, however in my opinion, a lot of 20th century stuff like Webern and Bartok and such stuff with its conscious 12-tone rows and such. I can even find emotion in five-tone Asian material, but...

 

2. I think there are ways of using a computer in music and ways of using a computer in music. For example, I see nothing at all different in using a computer as an "in between" guitar and amp functioning as a stomp box or multi-effect pedal. In fact, I've a hunch it could be done now, and more economically in a "pro package" sorta thing that could include a songlist setup, between song joke script and even lyrics. That sorta thing is nothing more than a musician's toolkit in a computer as opposed to stompboxes or modeling software built into an amp and a paper "list."

 

3. The one-step further than #2 is what my youngest brother does. He composes with a keyboard into the computer and adds a degree of effects into the recording. It's not a live recording in the sense of a band pumping stuff out or me doing a guitar solo, but it's him and his musicianship as much as the band or the solo gig.

 

4. In a sense, you can't get away from the fact that short of acoustic guitar and no PA for your singing voice, electronic enhancement is part of today's world. I personally don't care to have a backing track - even if I individually recorded real instruments myself for the track. I think it looks a little odd on stage. OTOH, I see nothing wrong with the #2 "enhancement" package especially for a solo gig - and that could even include some vocal enhancement or even a "duet" vocal dealiebobber that's been out there for years.

 

4A. The electronic guitar is kinda what's there in #4. What's the difference between the electronics in the guitar or the electronics in the amp or in a stompbox or in a computer program? It's not playing itself in any event. For example, a "dream rig" for me could be an electronic guitar like the new Firewhatever, a computer for songlist and scripted performance, a good mike and stand with a computer attached, and a darned good PA that's still light enough for me to schlep. With that you even could use YOUR music to play during a potty break in a 3-4 hour gig. Yeah, backups, but... conceptually...

 

I guess the bottom line is that it's up to the musician and whether or not a crowd will "buy" the live performance. Heaven knows that "record label" recordings often are pasted together anyway, and were even in Les Paul's era. In fact, Les was among the first to use electronic enhancements which in ways may be more of a contribution to music today than the Les Paul guitar or his own exceptional performance ability.

 

I know of a number of duet gigs from the 60s forward that were two folks, guitar and bass and a "drum machine." What Bob "Notes" Norton does for a living is an extension of that with some of his backing track additions. He makes it work. I question I could, but I don't wanna knock how he and his wife/band partner keep audiences quite happy thank you. <grin> For what it's worth, I still have a Univox drum machine from the olden days that looks and works like a champ. Anybody wanna buy one?

 

Frankly I personally like the idea of computer use if used more or less "traditionally" in the same sense that orchestras are arranged on stage so the sound will be balanced for the audience, and have been for centuries, or that "we" have used guitar amps and voice mike EQ settings for years and years. I'd be more sparing than some with it, but could really kinda depend on it for solo gigs that could vary more easily with computer songlists, joke/patter lists and built-in "stomp box/amp settings" programmed in the computer then run through a PA for a given song.

 

That help at all???? EDIT: Bottom line is we're "entertainers" at a gig. If we don't entertain, we ain't gonna last long regardless of musical talent and skill.

 

m

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Well, I use my computer for recording. I have an entire system dedicated to virtual samplers and virtual synths.

So, technically, I use my computer as an instrument when I'm playing keyboards. I embraced this tech, it's so much easier.

I can have hundreds of samplers/synths at disposal on my laptop and midi kybrd.

I'm primarily a guitar player - I also use virtual amp and effect modeling on my computer. Again I technically use my computer as a part of my instrument.

 

That said - I am a musician taking advantage of a modern tool. So, I would say people who can't play a real instrument are not musicians, but then people call

DJ's and mixers "artists" so are these music algorithm programmers "artists" too? Also, is Artist the same as Musician?

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Well some of us rememeber during the 80's how synthesizers were going to make guitars obsolute. You can get all kinds of sounds out of them but if you couldn't play the keyboard then you weren't considered a true musician. That was my opinion then and I think the same is true for computers today...

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I don´t like the idea of computers replacing instruments or musicians. However, as far as recording, computers are the best thing that could ever happen. Everything is so much easier. I remember before, if you were recording and made a mistake, you had to start the song all over. With computers you can edit the specific part you need. And of course....there´s always the copy/paste options[laugh]

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To say it doesn't require any ability or talent is ignorant. I believe it is as much an instrument as a guitar.

 

Get over yourself kid. I used to be the same way "old school or its ****" mentality, while I love analog stuff, and prefer it, but recording and stuff like that is so much easier with my laptop and a 100 dollar USB mic. I would never be able to record or do anything if it was all analog stuff.

 

Never say never

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Nobody here has yet taken the time to define what a musical instrument is.

Until someone has done that I refuse to contribute to this topic on the grounds that it operates without an agreed-upon definition.

TMan, why don't you provide the definition since you're the one who started this whole sh*tstorm?

 

musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds.

 

 

 

Oh.

So.

Complex.

 

Capable of continuing now?

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Sure a computer can be a musical instrument. But it's not going to replace wood and wire

and reeds and brass. Can the computer execute a soulful guitar bend with tasty and idiosynchratic

vibrato? Can it manage the subtleties of a great horn player or violinist? When it can, I might

be worried. Until then, it's just enhancement - there are still musicians behind the machines.

 

Kraftwerk is probably a good example of the extreme of computer music...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T65NpyfPkQ

 

While you may not like it, it's hard to say it not music.

 

I think of Rammstein as a better example of the computer ethic meeting rock...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4K6ZxDwi34&feature=related

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musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds.

 

Thank you ChanMan.

 

If we are to associate musical sounds with qualities of pitch, timbre, duration, amplitude and articulation, and if computers can be used to produce these sounds, then I would say that yes, computers can be used as musical instruments. We've agreed upon the fact that an application such as Reason can be used to produce musical sounds. That's my take on whether or not computers are musical instruments.

 

Yet there are always the same concerns associated with using computers as musical instruments as there are with using anything else as musical instruments. There are issues of taste, of course, which relate to how an instrument can be used in the context of a musical piece. As has already been mentioned, synthesizers are computers as well, and a quick listen to Edgar Winter or Keith Emerson will surely provide evidence for synthesizers as instruments. Frank Zappa's use of the Synclavier as a compositional tool also attests to this notion. What makes the use of a program like Reason any different from the use of a synthesizer system such as the Synclavier? The interface is the primary difference, if you ask me. There's also the issue of application--just as not all guitarists are good guitarists and not all saxophonists are good saxophonists, not all computer-aided composers/musicians are good. Regardless of what instrument they are using, they still require talent (or at least skill) and standards of taste in order to make music.

 

Might I also remind some of us who are less familiar with the history of western music that, at one point, guitars were hardly used in ensembles due to their low volume and difficulty of application. Amplification of electric guitars changed that, and in time horns were more or less phased out from popular usage, restricted to specialized ensembles that worked in jazz or classical repertoires. The face and nature of music changes all the time, and at the same time styles do not really die completely as much as they simply fall out of favor. If electronic music becomes predominant (and it will if things continue as such,) that doesn't mean the death of rock music, even if it does mean that it becomes less common and more "fringe." I'm not defending electronic music or the use of computers as instruments (because I don't happen to like much in the way of electronic music,) but I'm acknowledging its existence and legitimacy. K?

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Making music requires human interaction.

 

The instruments used are just tools for the job....a computer can be the tool.

 

I think its fine to have an "all-electronic/computer" instrument band....but no i don't think its the way of the future.

 

If ALL bands were drums, 2 guitars and a bass, music would get boring REAL fast.

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So I read over all of the responses and have come to several different conclusions based on the different arguments going on:

 

1. XD asked for a definition of a musical instrument. Chanman gave him one. However, I disagree with the definition given. I think that for something to qualify as a musical instrument it requires these key things. It must have some form of human interaction, meaning that someone should have to be physically playing it and creating music. Computers generate sound on their own based on pre-recorded simulations. Also, I think that a musical instrument must convey some form of emotion when played.

 

2. Some people here obviously misunderstood. I have absolutely no problem with using computers to record music and edit things such as mistakes or errors in the recording. As long as the music recorded is a recording of a human being physically playing an instrument. I do however, have a problem with using a computer to create the music, as it has no soul or emotion. I have no problem with digital recording and I don't prefer analog over digital or vice versa.

 

3. Fred, I don't appreciate being made fun of because you don't agree with me. Also, who the hell are you to call me a kid!? Your only what? 18? 19? A year or two older than me. dry.gif

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So I read over all of the responses and have come to several different conclusions based on the different arguments going on:

 

1. XD asked for a definition of a musical instrument. Chanman gave him one. However, I disagree with the definition given. I think that for something to qualify as a musical instrument it requires these key things. It must have some form of human interaction, meaning that someone should have to be physically playing it and creating music. Computers generate sound on their own based on pre-recorded simulations. Also, I think that a musical instrument must convey some form of emotion when played.

 

2. Some people here obviously misunderstood. I have absolutely no problem with using computers to record music and edit things such as mistakes or errors in the recording. As long as the music recorded is a recording of a human being physically playing an instrument. I do however, have a problem with using a computer to create the music, as it has no soul or emotion. I have no problem with digital recording and I don't prefer analog over digital or vice versa.

 

3. Fred, I don't appreciate being made fun of because you don't agree with me. Also, who the hell are you to call me a kid!? Your only what? 18? 19? A year or two older than me. dry.gif

 

So because the definition doesn't fit yours, you can change it?

 

Keyboards are a musical instrument, no? They don't show emotion because on cheaper ones, there is no aftertouch meaning that that the note is only a trigger. So is a keyboard not an instrument?

 

I call everyone kid, get over it. All I'm saying is you will mature. I was the same way, not moving forward is... STUPID

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