Are Musical Instruments Becoming Obsolete?

by 54 comments
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 passé and unnecessary to produce the sounds you want. Are musical instruments becoming obsolete?
#off topic forum
  • Profile picture of the author Horny Devil
    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.
  • Profile picture of the author Ephrils
    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
  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    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....

  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    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.

  • Profile picture of the author SandraLarkin
    Absolutely not. You can't synthesize a raw guitar performance ever.
  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    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.
  • Profile picture of the author TTGSteve

  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    In answering this question, it's important to realize that synthesizers ARE musical instruments.
  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I believe they are. And Google is somehow behind it all.
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    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.
  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    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.

  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    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.
  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    The advent of NASCAR did not render horse racing obsolete.
  • Profile picture of the author Rmipro
    I think as long as people enjoy live music and shows, they will not be obsolete any time soon. When people stop paying...they'll stop producing.

    Synthesizers do have their place in convenience...but in a studio OR live atmosphere absolutely nothing can replace the sound of a REAL instrument.

    Anyone with an ear can tell the difference, but most people can't. So I'm not sure if it matters that much anymore.

    In alot of songs (especially in the R&B genre) live instruments used to be the norm. Now, it's what you do if you want to be different. Funny.

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