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Unread 20th June 2013, 12:50 AM   #1
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Default Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

In researching musical instruments, I come across a recurring theme: Synthesizers now produce sounds that are indistinguishable from the original instruments. Are musical instruments no longer necessary, apart from the synthesizer that can deliver the sounds of the original instruments? For me, the question kind of answers itself.

The original musical instrument being electronically mimicked had to exist in the first place and its sounds extensively sampled, therefore possesses desirable qualities in and of itself. And you don't need electrical outlets to play a saxophone, guitar, or fiddle.

However, I keep coming across assertions that most musical instruments are pass and unnecessary to produce the sounds you want. Are musical instruments becoming obsolete?

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm talking about.
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Unread 20th June 2013, 01:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderbird View Post

Are musical instruments becoming obsolete?

I dunno, but the wife still throws in a good one now and then. They say there's many a good tune played on an old fiddle.
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Unread 20th June 2013, 01:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

I see a lot of concerts these days because of my work and I spent the past 2 years seeing my favorite artist on tour whenever I could. Plus there are rich music scenes in New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. I think we're safe from electronic instruments right now

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Unread 20th June 2013, 05:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

As long as people want to go see real musicians play, musical instruments will
never become obsolete.

Never.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 05:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Synthesizers have been around a LONG time! Piano types have ALSO! For DECADES you could buy a tiny little $100-$200 synth and STILL the HUGE EXPENSIVE pianos STILL exist and are STILL sold. HECK, English is spoken by MANY on the planet, and europe, UK, australia, new zealand, US ARE big markets. Other languages STILL exist, and translators STILL get business.

Humans are funny! HEY, I could REALLY go out there and show you how people are trying to $%^&*() BUT....

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Unread 20th June 2013, 07:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

They can imitate the notes an instrument plays, but not the soul a musician puts into those notes.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 07:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

I'd like to see someone try to play something like this on a synthesizer!


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Unread 20th June 2013, 07:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Tanner View Post
I'd like to see someone try to play something like this on a synthesizer!

Tommy Emmanuel - Classical Gas (by Mason Williams) - YouTube
Sadly, it can be done. But I don't think that's the point or the problem. When I
saw Mason Williams actually play this on Ed Sullivan with that orchestra
behind him, well, no words.

But watch for yourself. One of the all time great TV performances.


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Unread 20th June 2013, 08:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

That IS another thing! Musicians have been playing with the little qualities of instruments like using a part of the instrument for percussion, and resonance, etc... And YEAH, I have NEVER heard of a way to notate it. Until they can notate it, a synthesizer won't be sold that can do it. BTW they have probably thought about this for thousands of years. They can map octaves, notes, and timing, ad that is really it. For instruments, pace, tweaks, etc... they resort to writing notes, etc... And even THAT couldn't replicate that classical gas piece.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

And then there's this.
Attached Thumbnails
Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?-music.jpg  

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Unread 20th June 2013, 12:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by seasoned View Post
That IS another thing! Musicians have been playing with the little qualities of instruments like using a part of the instrument for percussion, and resonance, etc... And YEAH, I have NEVER heard of a way to notate it. Until they can notate it, a synthesizer won't be sold that can do it. BTW they have probably thought about this for thousands of years. They can map octaves, notes, and timing, ad that is really it. For instruments, pace, tweaks, etc... they resort to writing notes, etc... And even THAT couldn't replicate that classical gas piece.

Steve
Steve, I am a musician and a composer going on 35 years of my 55 years on
this planet and I have no idea what you're talking about. In English please?

Aside from that, I could go into a big long spiel on how synthetic sound is
created (not that anybody would care) but ultimately, in general, yes, a
synthesizer CAN duplicate a piece of music note for note and have it sound
almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

The key word is ALMOST. To the very trained ear, they can tell that the flute
attack on the runs is a little unnatural or the up bow on the violin isn't crisp
enough.

But to your average Joe on the street, trust me, if I played them two pieces,
one by an orchestra and another by a synthesizer or program, they could NOT
tell the difference.

In fact, here is the program that I use to produce my classical recordings.

Listen to this. It's downright scary.


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Unread 20th June 2013, 12:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post
Steve, I am a musician and a composer going on 35 years of my 55 years on
this planet and I have no idea what you're talking about. In English please?

Aside from that, I could go into a big long spiel on how synthetic sound is
created (not that anybody would care) but ultimately, in general, yes, a
synthesizer CAN duplicate a piece of music note for note and have it sound
almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

*****DUH*****! It is IMPOSSIBLE to create a sound that is sent to the masses and not be able to reproduce it ******EXACTLY******! WHY? Because ALL methods have, for many decades, been relayed over a speaker. And HEY, if years manner, I HAVE worked with this to some degree for 43 years. I am WELL aware of how such devices work.

So can it be duplicated? ******OBVIOUSLY****** after all, we did NOT hear Tommy emmanuel play! We heard a SPEAKER convey a recording transmitted through youtube.

I NEVER disputed THAT! That would be DUMB! What I said is that I don't believe that there is a way to NOTATE IT! Want a sample? OK, let's look at classical gas by mason williams! Classical Gas Sheet Music | OnlineSheetMusic.com Listen to the sample! Does THAT sound like what tommy played, or even STANDARD classical gas? NO WAY! BOTH however, were played here NOT by piano or guitar, but by SPEAKER. MOST speakers are basically paper diaphragms that just click.

If you can't notate it, HOW can you control the system in a synthesizer in a standard way. There is resonance, harmonics, etc.... and these can vary.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 01:08 PM   #13
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by seasoned View Post
<snip>
If you can't notate it, HOW can you control the system in a synthesizer in a standard way. There is resonance, harmonics, etc.... and these can vary.

Steve
Could variance of resonance, squeaks made when changing frets, accidental knocks, harmonic quirks, etc. and be included in the synthesizer's algorithm?

(that was a joke, sort of)

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm talking about.
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Unread 20th June 2013, 03:32 PM   #14
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Absolutely not. You can't synthesize a raw guitar performance ever.
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Unread 20th June 2013, 03:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by seasoned View Post
*****DUH*****! It is IMPOSSIBLE to create a sound that is sent to the masses and not be able to reproduce it ******EXACTLY******! WHY? Because ALL methods have, for many decades, been relayed over a speaker. And HEY, if years manner, I HAVE worked with this to some degree for 43 years. I am WELL aware of how such devices work.

So can it be duplicated? ******OBVIOUSLY****** after all, we did NOT hear Tommy emmanuel play! We heard a SPEAKER convey a recording transmitted through youtube.

I NEVER disputed THAT! That would be DUMB! What I said is that I don't believe that there is a way to NOTATE IT! Want a sample? OK, let's look at classical gas by mason williams! Classical Gas Sheet Music | OnlineSheetMusic.com Listen to the sample! Does THAT sound like what tommy played, or even STANDARD classical gas? NO WAY! BOTH however, were played here NOT by piano or guitar, but by SPEAKER. MOST speakers are basically paper diaphragms that just click.

If you can't notate it, HOW can you control the system in a synthesizer in a standard way. There is resonance, harmonics, etc.... and these can vary.

Steve
Okay, before you bust a blood vessel, calm down. I never said you could duplicate the sound of an instrument exactly. What I said is that you can come damn close.

But that isn't even the point. So what if synthesizers can sound "almost" like real instruments. There are people in this world who want to watch a real violinist play a concerto and as long as we have that desire, no synth will ever replace a real instrument.

I can't believe I'm even getting into this argument.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 03:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post
Sadly, it can be done. But I don't think that's the point or the problem. When I
saw Mason Williams actually play this on Ed Sullivan with that orchestra
behind him, well, no words.

But watch for yourself. One of the all time great TV performances.

Mason Williams - Classical gas - YouTube
Never had synthesized music make me tear up. Thanks for the share.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 03:50 PM   #17
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderbird View Post
I Are musical instruments becoming obsolete?
I hope not, I dusted off my old guitar and started monkeying around again a few months ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Tanner View Post
I'd like to see someone try to play something like this on a synthesizer!

Tommy Emmanuel - Classical Gas (by Mason Williams) - YouTube
Whoa! That was awesome. The best version of Classical Gas I've ever seen or heard. Thanks, Brandon.

A synthesizer can imitate sounds, but can it imitate the love, the pain, the loneliness, the joy and so forth that pours through a musician into his instrument? I think not. Therefore, musical instruments will remain.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 03:51 PM   #18
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Obsolete? So much for loving to toot your own horn.

I'm thinking the same as everyone else - won't happen. Humans have the need for creativity and self expression, and electronics just won't cut it as a complete replacement.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 04:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post
I hope not, I dusted off my old guitar and started monkeying around again a few months ago.



Whoa! That was awesome. The best version of Classical Gas I've ever seen or heard. Thanks, Brandon.

A synthesizer can imitate sounds, but can it imitate the love, the pain, the loneliness, the joy and so forth that pours through a musician into his instrument? I think not. Therefore, musical instruments will remain.
This is actually a very complicated subject that would take me a week to explain
accurately and you know how long winded my posts can get.

In a nutshell, and I'm all for the love and pain and heartache that goes into
making music with "real" instruments, but that's all subjective. Let's face it,
if a guy plays the Tibetan Gong in a symphony orchestra, how much love and
pain and heartache can he actually put into beating that thing with a stick?

And the truth is, some instruments are easily synthesized because they don't
have a lot of dynamics. But then look at the violin. I have yet to hear a
violin patch that I really loved.

Why?

For starters, it's probably the hardest instrument in the world to play. You
can hit a key on the piano and it will sound the same as that same key struck
by a concert pianist. But a violin? You can scratch that bow across a string
and it can sound like pure shit. So now you have to make sure you sample
violin sounds played by somebody who can actually play.

But then it gets really deep. There's all the different ways of sliding the bow
across the strings, the crescendo and decrescendo and on and on and on.

That's why most violin patches suck wind. It doesn't matter if you sampled
each note, which with today's technology can easily be done and not end up
with a memory nightmare. You simply can't duplicate the subtle dynamics of
the violin. Even the flute is tough to get 100% exact if you listen to the
different breath and tongue techniques.

So forget about heart and soul. To the incredibly trained ear, the difference
between a synth and a real instrument, in many cases, if night and day. But
to the novice, a lot of people can't tell the difference especially if the patches
are really well done and the programming of dynamics is painstakingly done.

Again, watch the video I posted of the Garritan strings. I don't have the ear
required to tell that that's not a real orchestra. But it's not. It's my Finale
2012 program, granted, run through a crap ton of post processing.

Heart and soul? Believe it or not, an electronic piano plays almost identical
to an acoustic piano. The action today is amazing. And the technical aspect
of playing it is no different than playing an acoustic. You still have to run
your hands up and down the keyboard. Just because the sound is generated
from computer chips and not hammers striking the strings, doesn't make the
emotional feel of playing any different.

In short, we've come a long way.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 04:16 PM   #20
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

easy

i will stop collecting guitars and strat [very freudian] collecting antiques, but i wont arp on it too much
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Unread 20th June 2013, 05:16 PM   #21
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderbird View Post
Could variance of resonance, squeaks made when changing frets, accidental knocks, harmonic quirks, etc. and be included in the synthesizer's algorithm?

(that was a joke, sort of)
SURE, but they would have a hard time creating something that could relatively easily approximate the instrument. There is a LOT affecting the sound in the average accoustic instrument. Even in an electric guitar, you have resonance of the strings, and various things that affect them.

Steve
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Unread 20th June 2013, 05:22 PM   #22
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post
Okay, before you bust a blood vessel, calm down. I never said you could duplicate the sound of an instrument exactly. What I said is that you can come damn close.
I'm not busting a blood vessel. And you can't duplicate the sound exactly, and the final sound could vary based on the speaker size, design, etc... But you can have the masses have the speakers driven in exactly the same way so, with the sae circumstances, get the same sound between them. If you had an ultrasonic device that a dog could hear, and they were at the concert, they would hear it. Maybe if they were listening to any recording, they couldn't hear it because the mike didn't. But that is why I specified the masses.

Quote:
But that isn't even the point. So what if synthesizers can sound "almost" like real instruments. There are people in this world who want to watch a real violinist play a concerto and as long as we have that desire, no synth will ever replace a real instrument.

I can't believe I'm even getting into this argument.
Yeah, and that is what I originally said.(Humans are funny!) HECK, bands FAKE playing sometimes, and there are air bands.

Steve
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Unread 20th June 2013, 05:26 PM   #23
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLee View Post
Never had synthesized music make me tear up. Thanks for the share.
These days, it can be HARD to tell if music is synthesized. Some guitar players can play some music really clear, and pianos have mechanisms to make the music sound more clear, and a synthesizer could do that. Then again, they may have synthesizers that replicate those characteristics pretty closely.

Steve
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Unread 20th June 2013, 05:27 PM   #24
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post
I hope not, I dusted off my old guitar and started monkeying around again a few months ago.



Whoa! That was awesome. The best version of Classical Gas I've ever seen or heard. Thanks, Brandon.

A synthesizer can imitate sounds, but can it imitate the love, the pain, the loneliness, the joy and so forth that pours through a musician into his instrument? I think not. Therefore, musical instruments will remain.
I won't say it was the BEST rendition I have heard, but it certainly hows how hard it would be to replicate such a thing on a synthesizer.

Steve
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Unread 20th June 2013, 05:42 PM   #25
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post
Let's face it,
if a guy plays the Tibetan Gong in a symphony orchestra, how much love and
pain and heartache can he actually put into beating that thing with a stick?
You NEVER KNOW! Supposed it is kind of close to ANOTHER gong, and causes resonance!? THEN, you get OTHER sounds as well! Suppose they vary the location or power of a strike? I wish I could remember the name of this special drum, that is often associated with like the virgin islands, but it is designed to have a HUGE difference in sounds based on where it is hit.

You really can't appreciate such things unless you REALLY think about them, or have heard a person use it in just the right way.

I mean a violin? A little flimsy box, and a few strings? HOW complex could the sound be? WHERE do you hold the strings? HOW do you hold/use the bow? HOW does the box react to the sound?

Steve
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Unread 20th June 2013, 06:00 PM   #26
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No.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 06:24 PM   #27
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Not as long as people are passionate about the instrument they play.

Personally, watching hubby play his heart out on his drums, pouring his very soul, the very essence of his being and releasing the emotion he is feeling at the time into that playing is very endearing and draws us closer. He's not quite the talker that I am and he expresses his feelings through his drums and I get it.

I'm quite confidant that watching him play a synthesizer wouldn't do the same, not to mention how many of them we would have to replace because his playing broke them. That could get quite costly.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 06:36 PM   #28
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Not as long as people are passionate about the instrument they play.

Personally, watching hubby play his heart out on his drums, pouring his very soul, the very essence of his being and releasing the emotion he is feeling at the time into that playing is very endearing and draws us closer. He's not quite the talker that I am and he expresses his feelings through his drums and I get it.

I'm quite confidant that watching him play a synthesizer wouldn't do the same, not to mention how many of them we would have to replace because his playing broke them. That could get quite costly.

Terra
Electronic drum sets have been around for a very long time. However, I've been in bands and came across plenty of drummers. Even though electronic sets have the ability to alter the whole sound of the kit, none of the drummers I've encountered has owned an electronic set.

Also, they all hate synthesizers. It's just simply not the same. The act of playing the drums, not just the sound you're producing, is part of the fun! It will never be replaced by a synthesizer.

Terra, I'm sure your hubby would agree.
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Unread 20th June 2013, 06:39 PM   #29
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissTerraK View Post
Not as long as people are passionate about the instrument they play.

Personally, watching hubby play his heart out on his drums, pouring his very soul, the very essence of his being and releasing the emotion he is feeling at the time into that playing is very endearing and draws us closer. He's not quite the talker that I am and he expresses his feelings through his drums and I get it.

I'm quite confidant that watching him play a synthesizer wouldn't do the same, not to mention how many of them we would have to replace because his playing broke them. That could get quite costly.

Terra
Okay, now drums. This is where it gets very interesting.

They now have electronic drum kits. You actually sit down and play the drums
except their synthesized. You put in the same blood, sweat and tears into
playing them (if you're any damn good anyway) but there is no acoustic kick
or snare or cymbal. Now the cymbals are hard to duplicate even with the
electronic ones being real cymbal shape because the tricks you can do with
a real cymbal (ask hubby, he'll tell you) are hard to duplicate sound wise with
an electronic cymbal.

But does that make him any less of a drummer if he's playing an electronic
kit? He's still hitting everything with his drum sticks and using his hands and
speed.

This is now where we are treading a very fine line between what a real and
fake instrument is.

And with electronic drums, you can plug in headphones and practice at 4
in the morning even if you live in an apartment. That's something you can't
do with acoustic drums unless you've got very understanding neighbors.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 06:39 PM   #30
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Quote:
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Electronic drum sets have been around for a very long time. However, I've been in bands and came across plenty of drummers. Even though electronic sets have the ability to alter the whole sound of the kit, none of the drummers I've encountered has owned an electronic set.

Also, they all hate synthesizers. It's just simply not the same. The act of playing the drums, not just the sound you're producing, is part of the fun! It will never be replaced by a synthesizer.

Terra, I'm sure your hubby would agree.
I'm sure you're right!

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Unread 20th June 2013, 06:54 PM   #31
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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Okay, now drums. This is where it gets very interesting.

They now have electronic drum kits. You actually sit down and play the drums
except their synthesized. You put in the same blood, sweat and tears into
playing them (if you're any damn good anyway) but there is no acoustic kick
or snare or cymbal. Now the cymbals are hard to duplicate even with the
electronic ones being real cymbal shape because the tricks you can do with
a real cymbal (ask hubby, he'll tell you) are hard to duplicate sound wise with
an electronic cymbal.

But does that make him any less of a drummer if he's playing an electronic
kit? He's still hitting everything with his drum sticks and using his hands and
speed.

This is now where we are treading a very fine line between what a real and
fake instrument is.
Hubby tried out the electronic drums and insists it is not the same, for him anyway.

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And with electronic drums, you can plug in headphones and practice at 4
in the morning even if you live in an apartment. That's something you can't
do with acoustic drums unless you've got very understanding neighbors.
Here, it's acreage and a basement.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 07:40 PM   #32
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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Sadly, it can be done.
I wasn't referring to someone sequencing something like that on a synthesizer... I was referring to someone actually playing something like that on a synthesizer (as in "live", in real time).

And even if someone could play something that demanding on a synth, it certainly wouldn't have the same "soul" as if it was played on a real, acoustic instrument. There are just too many subtle nuances that an acoustic instrument can project, that are either impossible, or extremely difficult to emulate on a synth (when played in "real time", at least).

Don't get me wrong... I love synths (I have owned some pretty nice ones over the years, actually). They are a lot of fun for certain types of music. But they will never replace real acoustic instruments.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 09:18 PM   #33
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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This is actually a very complicated subject that would take me a week to explain
accurately and you know how long winded my posts can get. - snip -
A lot of what you said is true, but there are many nuances and aspects to this that no one has even touched on. For example, the gap between a synthesizer and a real instrument isn't as wide on a recording as it is for a live performance.

And it depends a lot on which instrument we talk about. And the skill levels of the artists. And the quality of the equipment. And so forth...

I've got a synthesizer, or did until I lent it to my son-in-law anyway. I've got nothing against them. It's just not the same though, not to me. Since this discussion mostly rests on opinion, I hereby pronounce synthesizers inferior.

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Unread 20th June 2013, 09:51 PM   #34
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

In answering this question, it's important to realize that synthesizers ARE musical instruments.

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Unread 21st June 2013, 06:52 AM   #35
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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A lot of what you said is true, but there are many nuances and aspects to this that no one has even touched on. For example, the gap between a synthesizer and a real instrument isn't as wide on a recording as it is for a live performance.

And it depends a lot on which instrument we talk about. And the skill levels of the artists. And the quality of the equipment. And so forth...

I've got a synthesizer, or did until I lent it to my son-in-law anyway. I've got nothing against them. It's just not the same though, not to me. Since this discussion mostly rests on opinion, I hereby pronounce synthesizers inferior.
Sure, this all goes without saying, which is why, as I said, synthesizers will
never replace the original instruments that they're trying to emulate.

Still, without them, I couldn't do what I do today.

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Unread 21st June 2013, 07:17 AM   #36
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

I believe they are. And Google is somehow behind it all.
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Unread 21st June 2013, 10:33 PM   #37
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

As long as humans are human, musical instruments will never become obsolete. If you make music with an electronic synthesizer or computer, then that device is the instrument.

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Unread 21st June 2013, 11:48 PM   #38
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As long as humans are human, musical instruments will never become obsolete. If you make music with an electronic synthesizer or computer, then that device is the instrument.
Makes me think of Mr. Data on STNG. He was an accomplished musician and composer but he was always looking for the soul of the music. He was technically flawless but felt something was missing.

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Unread 21st June 2013, 11:55 PM   #39
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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These days, it can be HARD to tell if music is synthesized. Some guitar players can play some music really clear, and pianos have mechanisms to make the music sound more clear, and a synthesizer could do that. Then again, they may have synthesizers that replicate those characteristics pretty closely.

Steve
I am blessed with a pretty good ear but I must admit I do have to pay attention or I can be fooled. After many years playing many different real pianos, I am never satisfied with electronic keyboards. One of my pianos has ivory keys. There is no replacing that feel, either. Or the subtle personality of the sound board from the wood and the craftsman that shaped it.

The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. ~ Lin Yutang
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Unread 22nd June 2013, 11:03 AM   #40
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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In answering this question, it's important to realize that synthesizers ARE musical instruments.
Yep, just ask Kieth Emerson.
Terra and Steve,
Just like you have acoustic and electric guitars, you also have acoustic and electric drums.
The vast majority of drummers prefer acoustic drums, but I've seen many that play a hybrid kit (Carl Plamer for one). Then you have drum triggers which can be used to alter the sound of an acoustic drum or to level the volume of the drums. Drum triggers first came into prominence in the early 90's with some heavy metal drummers. They allowed the drummer to hit the drums lighter and still get the same sound (but enhanced) as you would if you hit the drum hard. Mostly they where used on bass drums. Much of that "phat" bass drum sound you hear in heavy metal is because of triggers.
As far as this goes "Synthesizers now produce sounds that are indistinguishable from the original instruments" and drums maybe they are for an untrained "drummers" ear, but with all the variances in acoustic drums they simply can't reproduce the actual sound of drums.
For example the material and thickness of a drums shell will play a part in the sound of that drum. You can have four drums of identical size, made from Maple, Birch, African Mahogany, or a composite, that may sound the same to an untrained ear but will sound significantly different to a drummer. Maple will give you boosted lows with even mids and highs while Birch will give you boosted highs with slightly reduced mids and lows. Mahogany gives you extremely rich low end frequencies, with beautifully smooth mids and a slight roll-off in the higher frequencies.
Composite shells try to balance the frequencies or depending on the material enhance one over the other two.
Shell thickness also plays a role. A 5 ply shell will vibrate more then an 8 ply shell will giving you more over tones that you may not want.
Then you have all the different head types. I recently went from Remo Weather King Ambassadors (on all drums) to Evans G2 Level 360 tom heads, Evans G2 Power center reverse dot snare head, and Evans Emad II Bass batter head with an Evans EQ3 front head. The sound of the drums changed significantly.
I won't get into the tuning, but suffice it to say there are so many variables with drums that it would be nearly impossible for a synthesizer to duplicate the differences just in the way a kit may be set up.

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Unread 22nd June 2013, 11:37 AM   #41
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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As far as this goes "Synthesizers now produce sounds that are indistinguishable from the original instruments" and drums maybe they are for an untrained "drummers" ear, but with all the variances in acoustic drums they simply can't reproduce the actual sound of drums.
The same goes for the guitar. I was playing last night and it occurred to me that I can make dozens of different sounds just playing same note. The way I hold the pick, or use my picking hand to deaden or partially deaden a string, or move the pick up or down the length of the string, or bend a string, or apply pressure to the neck, or use my thumb with the pick to create a type of feedback sound, or ...

Well, you get the idea. I can do all that without flipping any switches or using any special effects gear, that's just on a plain old acoustic guitar. And I'm not even very good, a more accomplished player could come up with even more variations of the sound.

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Unread 22nd June 2013, 11:59 AM   #42
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

Ever play a great Hammond B3 through a screaming Leslie speaker in a wood-floor studio?

Korg, Roland, and Yamaha are still trying...

As are all the VI plugin developers...

But don't get me wrong, I LOVE amp modeling and digital drum sets that trigger samples, etc.

Music and technology go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

Brian

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Unread 22nd June 2013, 12:01 PM   #43
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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The same goes for the guitar. I was playing last night and it occurred to me that I can make dozens of different sounds just playing same note. The way I hold the pick, or use my picking hand to deaden or partially deaden a string, or move the pick up or down the length of the string, or bend a string, or apply pressure to the neck, or use my thumb to with the pick to create a type of feedback sound, or ...

Well, you get the idea. I can do all that without flipping any switches or using any special effects gear, that's just on a plain old acoustic guitar. And I'm not even very good, a more accomplished player could come up with even more variations of the sound.
Exactly Dennis. A synthesizer can give you a generic guitar sound, but can it duplicate what you did last night?
At the open mike night I play at many of the guitar players come in with 'boards' that are loaded with effect peddles and switches. For the most part they are young players. Then you have my friend who plays bass who may have one peddle or switch (I forget which) who has been playing bass for 30 years and one guitar player who uses one switch who also has been playing for around 30 years. Two weeks ago I played with a guy in his 60's who has been playing for 50 years and just plugged his guitar into an amp. Those 3 blow the others out of the water. All because they know how to finger and how to use a pic and play without a pic. They understand their instruments at a different level then the guys with the boards.

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Unread 22nd June 2013, 12:26 PM   #44
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

The great thing about art is that it supersedes the medium.

Artists express and create. Sometimes it's with wire and wood.

Sometimes it's with oscillators and waveforms in a DAW.

For every Earl Klugh there's a Trent Reznor. For every Radiohead there's a Monte Montgomery (look him up on youtube, geetar pickers!)

It's all art.

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Unread 22nd June 2013, 12:36 PM   #45
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

That is true Brian but let's not just include the musician's art in the mix. Add a writer's art in and Wow!

Some of the best times hubby and I have is when he's playing from his heart, his soul. Not anything previously composed, but just on the fly, interpretive, if you will and then I'll write the emotions I feel from his playing.

Sometimes, we'll do it in reverse and I'll write letting my feelings and emotions flow from inside to being penned on paper. He'll then take it and play the music for it.

It's fun and creative and yet another way of connecting with one another. After almost 30 years of marriage, you have to find new and fun ways to connect, lol!

But, it's not just for couples either. If you get a group of like minded guys or ladies together or even a mix of both, the raw emotion and connection on that topic and level becomes extremely powerful.

Wait! I'm sure that's how all of the greatest bands and musical groups have done it for years, right? Haha!

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Unread 22nd June 2013, 12:59 PM   #46
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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The great thing about art is that it supersedes the medium.

Artists express and create. Sometimes it's with wire and wood.

Sometimes it's with oscillators and waveforms in a DAW.

For every Earl Klugh there's a Trent Reznor. For every Radiohead there's a Monte Montgomery (look him up on youtube, geetar pickers!)

It's all art.
I've witnessed this in my own experience. There's a vision that precedes the medium (or even the language).

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm talking about.
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Unread 22nd June 2013, 02:33 PM   #47
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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For every Radiohead there's a Monte Montgomery (look him up on youtube, geetar pickers!)
No need, I've got a couple CD of him.

The truth is, there's room for everyone and a place for everyone. Nothing is going away or becoming obsolete.

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Unread 22nd June 2013, 03:32 PM   #48
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

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No need,
I've got a couple CD of him.
CD's? They still sell those? How quaint. Do you place your collection next to your gramophone?
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The truth is, there's room for everyone and a place for everyone. Nothing is going away or becoming obsolete.
Hmmm...I guess you're right:
Quality new and used horse carriage gigs carts

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm talking about.
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Unread 22nd June 2013, 03:38 PM   #49
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Default Re: Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

The advent of NASCAR did not render horse racing obsolete.
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Unread 22nd June 2013, 03:44 PM   #50
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CD's? They still sell those? How quaint. Do you place your collection next to your gramophone?

Hmmm...I guess you're right:
Quality new and used horse carriage gigs carts
TB, I don't mean to rain on your make fun of Dennis parade here, but do you realize how much some vinyl's go for theses days? Who is to say that CD's won't carry that kind of value in the future?

I'm not even going to tell you how many CD's I have in my collection.

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