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Viewing topic "Musicians’s Rant! We are the Architects of our own demise."

     
Posted on: September 29, 2022 @ 11:50 AM
lastmonk
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Total Posts:  342
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast

Especially on the keyboard side of things, and in cahoots with DAWs the whole music production process has steadily and increasingly moved away from producing music and more towards:

Audio Engineering
Automation
Speed of Workflow
Technological Innovation

Many folks don’t even use the term musician or performance anymore.  No real discussion of melody, or harmony.  Thanks to the DAW music is more about what you see on the big screen rather than what you hear what your ears. 

Visualizing music is more about seeing colored waveforms on a grid and dots on a piano roll than seeing musical notes on a page. Today the audio engineer metaphor of the DAW is far more influential than the musical notes of music in notation software.

What caused my present rant?  I was asked yesterday How could I arrange music for 8 instruments without using a DAW and was virtually ridiculed for not using one.  When I explained I use Finale (Notation) software to arrange, layout, edit, compose and playback midi and audio, it was like I was talking in a obscure pig latin language.  The individual that I was talking to had no real concept for notation software, could not see the relationship between sheet music, scores, lead sheets and the idea of music production, composing or arranging.  And after much discussion I realized that individual is probably not alone.

As a community we’ve been so indoctrinated with the DAW, Automation, Technological Innovation, Next New Gear metaphor that we’ve either forgotten the basic tenets of music composing, arranging, orchestration, lead sheets, charts & scores, or we never learned them in the first place.  How FN sad!

If every thing becomes about audio engineering, automation, technological innovation, then soon, we will all be replaced by Artificial Intelligence powered technologies.  Everything, will be computer generated samples, arpeggios, automation, machine learning, templates and loops.  We will have successfully chased gear and new technologies to the point where music is not even produced by humans any more.  Is the DAW a trojan horse for automation, computer generated music, AI powered templates and arpeggios?

I often use Finale to produce lead sheets, guitar tabs, fretboard charts, and scores for small ensembles.  I often do complex midi editing not by editing midi event lists on my Motif/Mox but by editing the midi as music within the Finale notation software.  I playback my Finale sheets to the Motif, and Mox.  In fact I often compose and arrange in Finale and then export the midi from Finale, and import it into the Motif, do work in Song mode or Pattern mode and then export the midi back to Finale and put the finish touches on it in Finale and then play the whole thing back from Finale while recording the Audio to my Portastudios.

Yea, so in this sense, I use Finale the same way that many folks doing music production use a DAW.  But this keeps me closer to the basic ideas of music; melody, harmony, rhythm, polyphony, etc.  I don’t think of my songs as work flow, engineered, automated, templated music production of the DAW experience.

I can’t help but wonder if this DAW centered universe is leading us down the road to repetitive, generated, automated, engineered music production self destruction.  And whether if music notation software had played a more prominent role might we be on a different musical trajectory than the one we are presently on.

I’m not saying that everyone has to be a hardcore sheet music reader, but once a upon a time many pop, funk, and r&b;musicians at least knew what leadsheets, or charts were.  Jazz and classical folks definitely knew what they were. Today the primary format of music is a Protools, Ableton live, Cubase, Logic, FL Studio file.  How do folks even communicate whats to be played to other musicians?  You know how do you share your music so that others can play it or perform it with you?  Oh no, wait there are no other musicians.  Its all been constructed, manufactured, automated, and engineered in the DAW with Plugins, and Virtual Instruments.

I’m looking forward to Midi 2.0 implementation on one hand, but on the other hand, I think Midi 2.0 is going to lead to even more automation, templatization, and virtualization of music.

Perhaps we need to slow our roll, and be careful what we wish for.  We shaping up to be the Architects of our own demise.

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