1. avatar Broken Studio
    I apologize for the academic post, but I require some information, opinions, experiences, anything from musicians and producers/engineers in relation to my dissertation research topic below:

    [b:81fd82d364]‘One Man Band’: an investigation into how the advancement in music technology has placed the control of an entire orchestra at the fingertips of the modern day music producer. Have performing musicians been replaced by computers in the studio?[/b:81fd82d364]

    Thank you to all who post replies, much appreciated
  2. avatar feline1
    I liked it when the Musicians Union strove to ban the mellotron, castigating it for the cruel and unsual practise of genetically engineering bonsai musicians who could all fit inside its wooden casing, thus putting full-size orchestras out of work.
    Of course, this was proven spurious when Rick Wakeman's "Eight Wives of Henry VII - on Ice!" extravaganza employed more personnel in a week that had played in the London Philharmonic in the entire previous tax year.

    [img:f6460547b5]http://www.fdiskc.com/syn/namm/2005/mellotron.jpg[/img:f6460547b5]
    [i:f6460547b5]A mellotron, yesterday[/i:f6460547b5]
  3. avatar rubyvroom
    Hate to point out the obvious, but surely no piece of technology can reproduce or indeed create 'musicality' or emotion?
  4. avatar feline1
    Human emotion is produced by hormones released into the blood, and even the latest digital formats and surround sound cannot actually record and reproduce hormone molecules.

    The styles and sounds of playing which tend to be regarded as "emotional" are idiomatic and culturally determined.

    How many nanowebers of flux density does a magnetic tape head have to imprint onto ferric oxide in order for it to be "emotional"?
    What shape of groove do you have to cut into vinyl with a lathe to make it emotional?
    How many candelas of light does a cinematographer have to project onto a screen to make your Aunty Mabel cry in a tender love scene?
    How good does the MPEG encoding on a pair of bouncing tits need to be in order to induce erection in the male penis?

    I for one am greatful that people are still willing to carry out dissertational research into these issues, to find the answers.

    Some hints may be garnered by wiring up electrodes to a musician sat hunched over a computer screen, clicking on his maus,
    and to some guys with beards who are jamming together.
    I would bet ten thousand million pounds that neurological analysis would demonstrate the different parts of the brain were shown to be active in these differing contexts, illustrating the different types of mental processes which occur in solo predeterminism vs. group play.
  5. avatar drakeguild
    [quote:58d9869604="rubyvroom"]Hate to point out the obvious, but surely no piece of technology can reproduce or indeed create 'musicality' or emotion?[/quote:58d9869604]

    What?
  6. avatar Broken Studio
    Although there are people creating software that can do precisely that, it is neither here nor there. My apologies though, I should have been clearer. What I am referring to is the fact that one person can create, say, a film score entirely on their own through without having to record a full orchestra. All they need is a midi controller, Reason and a semi decent computer. The question could also apply to session musicians. Are they sought after as much nowadays with the mass of software available that can recreate their particular instrumental sound to an extremely realistic level of comparison. The question is open ended, any genuine responses are greatly appreciated.
  7. avatar feline1
    Well, might I suggest you listen to some of Murry "Bloody" Gold's work on Dr Who?

    It's the classic example of some music-school gimp whose been trained on Cubase and Sibelius and Halyon (sic) gigasamples blah blah blah, in order to churn out generic plastic sounding orchestral soundtrack fodder.
    All text book stuff, as beatifully polished as a Big Mac.
    It's hell! ARRRRRRRGH.

    I would then contrast it with Hoyt Curtin's rollicking orchestral score for BATTTLE OFFF THE PLANETS, which tells the exciting tale of five young orphans, defending earth's entire galaxy (inseperable! insometheringorotherable! INVINCIBLE! - they're always five, ewe see, fighting together at one).
    It's much better, probably because it's rough round the edges and full of string players sawing away too fast whilst the brass section fart in the general direction of the woodwind and everyone scowls at the bloody session muso with the beard who was brought in to play 'disco guitar'.

    Mind you, having said all this, the Dr Who Theme tune was original realised by only two people, Delia Derbyshire (who was clearly absolutely insane, as can be seen for her guest appearance on The Smell of Reeves and Mortimwer's MASTERCHEF sketch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=towd9vZWDJg
    she was the one to whom Vic drawled "LOOK, I DID NOWAT MAOIYKE YOUR STOOPID DINNER CRROIY!") and "Dick" Mills, still alive and squidging swarfega under his armpits to this day!
  8. avatar dodgi stereo
    I have heard from a working musician that they are getting less regular recording work, which they attributed to studios relying on technology to create ensemble sounds from one players work.

    One player gets the gig - the studio makes it sounds like many players. Money is saved and the end product is produced with mostly happy punters.

    Is there research needed to prove this?
    I can try hook you up with said musician,
    if you need to PM me.
  9. avatar papaul
    I think that technology has put music back in the hands of the public, as opposed to people who can actually afford to pay a choir, drummer, orchestra etc. Without this technology, I would never have got into music quite as deep as I have. I have to say I love it... Do sessions get less work these days? Yeah, probably, but I think producers are getting more work. If I had the money for a full orchestra, I would have one, but I dont. I feel its a step forward.
  10. avatar whipchorus
    [quote:dfa7f4550f="rubyvroom"]Hate to point out the obvious, but surely no piece of technology can reproduce or indeed create 'musicality' or emotion?[/quote:dfa7f4550f]

    Hahah Mr Soul Coughing, what? what?

    Tell that to Florian Schneider and indeed a cast of thousands.
  11. avatar T Entertainment
    "Hate to point out the obvious, but surely no piece of technology can reproduce or indeed create 'musicality' or emotion?"

    I'd also like to add: what?
  12. avatar Pete
    I think Rubyvroom has a point and I don't think it's too hard to understand it.

    No matter how good your sample library is, or how well programmed the midi is, nothing compares to a great recording of a a great performance from great musicians.


    It's finding the money to pay them that's the problem. Less and less money and time is being spent on recording (at all levels) inorder to make more profit more quickly these days.
  13. avatar T Entertainment
    Unless Rubyvrrom is talking about a hitherto undisclosed form of artificial intelligence, then I don't get it. All instruments are 'pieces of techonology' - each one wielded by the London Philharmonic for a start. And at all stages of that body's history. The variable is human input, innit?
    Was there a line drawn somewhere demarcating 'proper' instruments and the 'lesser' sort?

    An interesting one tho, this 'un. :-)
  14. avatar Smallsquare
    Orrrrr you could say musicians performing in orchestras are little more than virtual instruments themselves, playing whatever score is given to them with no personal involvement. Ripe for automation and rightly so. Technology wipes away the mechanical skill and gives way to pure creativity. Or something.
  15. avatar Pete
    Yes, but I believe the comments were related to the original post concerning entire orchestral pieces being assembled from samples instead of being assembled from the recorded interaction of 50+ people.

    I don't think it was meant as a "are electronic instruments *valid*" type post.
  16. avatar TheJaneBradfords
    As papaul says, its nice that those who do not have the resources to employ a 50+ orchestra can still have some level of realistic orchestration in home productions. The danger is though that, as mr. feline says, you can end up with some truly banal bollocks with no life or soul to it.

    Then again, the same could be said for some live performances. Eg. Using logic pro I reckon i could easily do a better job of 'covering' OK Computer than the string quartet did because their arrangements were boring and predictable.

    The principle is the same whether you have a live orchestra or you're playing strings on synths; you need a good arrangement AND a good performance.
  17. avatar feline1
    Ultimately though, I don't really see what the big topic for intellectual enquiry is here?

    Mechanisation has been replacing human labour for several millenia now... in every case, individual humans get made redundant, but what can be achieved using the machines gets bigger and bigger....
    .....there are copious writings on the phenomenon from the days of the Roman Empire, for example (y'all read Latin, I trust? :)

    in the last century, combine harvesters threw many farm labourer into redunancy...

    The piano enabled a musician to play 10 or more notes with his hands - bye bye recorder consort and string quartet? ... well maybe not entirely.

    What are you interested in - the social changes brought about by mass rendundancy? Or the changes in the end product? (are concrete dwellings the same to live in as wattle and daub huts? Does combine harvested grain make the same bread and stone-milled hand-picked wheat?)

    The musical arena has some subtle additional aspects:
    for one, there is no practical reason whatsoever for the human race to make music - unlike food and buildings, we do not require nice tunes to be able to live.
    We do however enjoy them... so society has been prepared to pay musicians to make them, to some extent...
    Do you get different results from lots of real musicians improvising and performing in front of an audience, and from a composer working in pre-meditated fashion in isolation - undoubtedly - any fule knows that - presumeably different bits of the brain are used for these different activities -
    does that automatically make solo composition inferior to group jamming - patently not, and one can easily prove by listening to "Jazz Odyssey" by Spinal Tap...
    (Although as Mr Shorovsky tutted at Bruno Martelli when the latter complained that Mozart would today have just sat alone and sequenced his tunes - "That's not music, Martekki - that's masturbation!" - and you know, he was gonna live for ever, light up the sky like a flame - FAME! - and babies would remember his name, or sthg.

    However, much of the point of classical training and the orchestra is to make the musicians behave like reliable machines who can transparently interpret the composer's score anyways... so MIDI orchestration isn't perhaps not the most straightforward example of the phenomena of technology replacing real musicians...
  18. avatar drakeguild
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  19. avatar georgia
    [quote:e156563c3d="Smallsquare"]Orrrrr you could say musicians performing in orchestras are little more than virtual instruments themselves, playing whatever score is given to them with no personal involvement. Ripe for automation and rightly so. Technology wipes away the mechanical skill and gives way to pure creativity. Or something.[/quote:e156563c3d]

    Yes, you could say that. If you've never played an instrument.
  20. avatar greensleevesisgod
    Yeah but what about the Portsmouth Sinfonia?
  21. avatar feline1
    Well I know that the Portsmouth Sinfonia's rendition of Also, Sprach Zarasthustra nearly made me wet myself.
  22. avatar Broken Studio
    [quote:8727f15743]Ultimately though, I don't really see what the big topic for intellectual enquiry is here?[/quote:8727f15743]

    You are completely correct, it is a pretty straight forward topic, hence why I chose it. I know the answers myself already but I require opinions etc for my appendices and to help me with my results and findings. I would have done out questionnaires but then who would I have asked? Where I'm from musicians live in the shadows, plus this way is easier. Thank you to all who have posted replies so far, its appreciated
  23. avatar feline1
    Perhaps we should have a thread instead on "is education redundant in the light of the interweb?" and wonder if original research is being replaced by the banal requirements to satisfy coursework criterea and obtain bits of paper? Does the modern researcher even need a university library when these days any dude with a telephone line can canvas vox pop drivel on a message board, etc etc?
    In the 21st Century, it's certainly quicker to find answers - but is humanity just talking more shite than ever?
  24. avatar Pete
    [quote:73a8556c38="drakeguild"]'Rubbish Pete. Yea because people who make electronic music all use sample libraries?I think that is a kind of naive statement and always comes from people who have no idea about this kind of music.[/quote:73a8556c38]

    If you would just back it up a minute and read what I was actually saying I was referencing [i:73a8556c38][b:73a8556c38]orchestral arrangements[/b:73a8556c38][/i:73a8556c38], just like the original poster. I never once intimated that electronic music was inherently wrong or bad.

    I don't need to listen to go listen to Squarepusher because I already have, on my ipod over the weekend. That particular playlist also included Boards of Cananda amonst the likes of Amon Tobin, Royksopp, Coldcut and Future Sounds of London. So don't assume I'm some kind of anti-electronica luddite.



    So just to summarise my point again, I don't think technology has advanced enough, or may ever advance enough, so that truly believable and memorable results are achieved in song or score arrangements where real recordings of perfomances by real instrumentalists (string sections, horn sections etc etc) are being replaced by midi programmed samples. You lose the human element.

    Not a bad word said about a synth or sampler there I hope you agree.
  25. avatar drakeguild
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  27. avatar Tele
    I swear, you are by far the biggest twat I have ever encountered on the internet.
  28. avatar drakeguild
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  30. avatar PaulMAK
    Pete I think you are a anti-electronica luddite!

    :-)
  31. avatar Pete
    Only when you're sitting infront of a synth!!
  32. avatar BookBookBook
    I agree with Pete in the fact that a live orchestral recording holds incredibly more merit than a midi produced sound, but for certain things I see the benefit of midi produced pieces.

    Brian Philip Davis's film The Poet And The Bear featured a midi score, but most of the time you didn't notice the crude sounds because the arrangement and composition were so good.

    I think midi will always be the subordinate as, even if midi becomes bigger, orchestras will become sought after even more. People will tire of midi as they tired of a million other trends.
  33. avatar drakeguild
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  34. avatar PaulMAK
    [quote:81ab342913="Pete"]Only when you're sitting infront of a synth!![/quote:81ab342913]

    I thought I brought the best out in you! :)
  35. avatar captain a
    [quote:36cd48d676="Broken Studio"]
    [b:36cd48d676]‘One Man Band’: an investigation into how the advancement in music technology has placed the control of an entire orchestra at the fingertips of the modern day music producer. Have performing musicians been replaced by computers in the studio?[/b:36cd48d676][/quote:36cd48d676]

    orchestra's.... when a czech orchestra plays a piece it'll sound different to a german orchestra, or the same czech orchestra on a different day, but then a music libray through midi will actually repeat identically every time. there's some loss there but the music wasnt written for computer in the first place. i think it could possibly shorten the lifespan of a good piece if it always got played the same...
    maybe i'd be curious about the other end, i.e.: here's the tune where the drummer was on acid. is there a music library for "drummer on acid"?? or "string section who hate you and wish they werent there"??? those are the tiny differences that might make it for me. replaced is definitly the wrong word. i'd definitley say technology has become part of the palette, but not a replacement...