A view of technology in music

I do not know why it is so difficult to write this post; this must be the third of fourth draft that I have posted, but then decided it was too stupid to stay. The post is related to the technology of music, but my relationship to music is not through the technology of its production. Even to indicate that the creation of music has been achieved through technology appears to be a step too far, as it often appears to be too far fetched to think of any creative act in terms of technology.

(There was some one who I have forgotten, maybe Robert Moog, maybe the guy who was also involved in speech synthesis who thought about music in through acoustics. The idea raised, and I am not entirely sure if this was a new idea, or an idea relevant for its importance to synthesizers.

Why does a violin sound like a violin, why do old violins and new violins sound different from each other, or the violin from the violin-chello, or both from a flute or a haut-bios. Because each instrument,  when it is played produce fundamental notes, that is the note that is identified as the main component, or the basic note, but also a range of harmonics, in the case of stringed instruments, even different notes as parts of the string resonate all along the string also producing the notes not chosen. The resonance through the body of the instruments, the effect of the players contact with different parts of the instrument. Thus the player not only has to select the correct notes but consider the harmonic variants of their instrument, perhaps even to the extent that they appear develop an instinctive understanding of the harmonic tones. It is the harmonics that lead to the various differentiations.

The most accurate instruments are not necessary the ones that are most valued. A Stradivarius, is in some ways not as accurate as a good new violin. Its harmonics produces notes that are sometimes less accurate that the new instrument. Its notes are more frayed at the edges, there is not the sharper distinction of the new instrument; instruments are not simply validated for the quality of its notes, but in effect, for its harmonics. Unless of course you have no technique for the violin, then its all fundamentals and some nasty scracthing.


This also explains why early synthesizers sounded so cold, although there were various attempts to use sampling; An early example was the Mellotron. This used a simple form of sampling as each note recorded on a short piece of tape which was activated through the keys of a keyboard. It was not the first example of the use of this technique, there was an earlier version called the Chamberlin. The Mellotron was created in the UK, In the City of Birmingham in 1963.

donKayne West

Waves – S waves

A Beginners Guide to Synth


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