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Composing Technologies - Case Study Example

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Composing Technologies

There is a well founded anxiety that the artist is losing touch with the music and composing has very little to do with artistry. Composing has become a technical, rather than artistic, exercise. Music that is composed and played by technology retains the artificial sound and feeling of the computer software that generates it.
Developments in technology based music have made tools available that allows almost anyone to engage in the making of music. Yet, while computers and technology can aid a composer, it is no substitute for musical knowledge and human intervention. The digital representation and reproduction of music becomes altered and limited by the storage protocols and digital techniques. Moroni, Von Zuben, and Manzolli (2002, p.187) argue that, "musical objects cannot be presented in a compressed time form without distorting them". While the composition and playing of music appears to be characterized by exactness of time signature, tempo, pitch, and temper it is in fact moulded by human nuance that the technology can not support. A composer with little or no music knowledge could make little more than a mechanical and robotic composition.
No other technology has revolutionized the realm of music to the degree that the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) has....
The digital information is them played by sequencers, wave generation devices that reproduce the sounds of a musical instrument. However, the process of writing and playing MIDI music eliminated the physical action of the playing of the instrument. Volpe (2005, p.2) illustrates the need for physical involvement in the playing of music and states that, "gestures are used to obtain an expressive sound and, in particular, control some of the particular features of digital musical instruments such as pitch, dynamic and the possibility of exploring sound palettes". These characteristics are lost by anyone who does not have an intense musical knowledge or lacks the ability to play a musical instrument.
Sampling is another technique that has given the novice musician access to artistic material that they would otherwise be unable to generate. Sampled sounds of international musical instruments and audio events are copied and reproduced to give the listener the required familiarity with the sound. Indeed, sampled music has infiltrated every corner of the music industry. Lysloff, Ross, and Gay (2003, p.98) contend that, "Samples of conventional musical instruments and, increasingly, the sounds of world music instruments find their way into a diverse set of uses, from Nintendo to Disney and from popular music to multimedia projects, film soundtracks, and television commercials". A sound can be very specific to a genre, an instrument, or an artist. However, the sound alone does not produce a composition. An artist may be able to reproduce the sound of an obscure ethnic instrument, but can not direct the sound to play a musical score. Sampling is a tool that composers can use to add to their sound palette, but is ineffective at helping the musical novice make anymore than ...Show more

Summary

The tools available for composing, storing, and playing music have changed dramatically in the last 50 years. The ability of computer software to shape waves and define sound have placed a symphony of sounds at the touch of a computer keyboard. Composing, writing, and editing music is enhanced and automated by computer programs that offer input in a variety of formats…
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