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Modern Technology and Musical Composition

by Lee Duane FitzSimmons

When it comes to composing music, there are numerous benefits that are reaped when a composer employs modern technology in the creative process. By far, the most important is instant playback. Now it is possible to hear what two or more parts will sound like when played together. In the past, the only way to do this was to have a natural ability to play multiple lines on the keyboard or have several individuals assisting with the process. Now, it is possible to have dozens or even hundreds of completely independent lines performed simultaneously. Not only does this free the hands and mind(s) of the composer(s), it also allows for a more objective viewpoint of the music to be developed as well.

In addition to the aid that modern technology gives to the composer, it also provides extremely valuable assistance to the recording artist. Not only does modern technology assist in the songwriting process, but it also helps a performer objectively analyze performances so that a better overall presentation can be developed for future live events. This multi-layered assistance is invaluable for any type of recording or performance art. This assistance allows for the fundamental musical prowess of humanity to be taken into a whole new dimension that was not possible in the earliest part of the 20th century.

The Lute Player by Caravaggio (1596)

With the most recent advances in recording technology that were introduced into the market in the late 1990's, the most advanced features of modern day recording technology were made affordable to the general public. Instead of having to accumulate a large room of equipment and wires to create the most professional sounding tracks, an individual could buy software and/or equipment for a few measly farthings and produce sounds that were just as good (depending, of course, on the ability of the artist and/or producer) as those created in extremely expensive professional studios. Prometheus had delivered fire to the common man.

In addition, the invention of the internet and its gradual infiltration into the information infrastructure of the late 20th century has proven to be the perfect handmaiden for the development of modern recording technology. When high-speed internet connections became commonplace, it became possible to stream .mp3 files that were encoded at 320 kbps with the average computer sold on the marketplace. This meant that CD quality sound (the difference between 16 bit .wav files and 320 kbps .mp3 files is infinitesimal) could now be streamed with ease over the internet from a location anywhere in the civilized world to another location anywhere in the civilized world.

Welcome to the revolution.

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Copyright 2014 by Lee Fitzsimmons