Technology in Music

Article by: Rom Villarica

Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, shaking the foundations of society as it does so.  Especially in more recent times, it has become common to see technology used in ways it never had been before.

One such area in which technology has found a new home is the arts, namely music.  Traditionally, musicians practiced their craft by strumming a guitar, tinkling the keys on a piano, or drawing a bow back and forth across the strings of a violin.  However, with the advent of musical software such as FL Studio and Garageband, it is now possible to produce music without even touching an instrument.  Aspiring musicians can simply click a few buttons, type in a few commands, and produce a track.

And this is only with regards to making music in a studio.  In the last few years, live music has become increasingly inundated with technological elements such as synthesizers capable of simulating nearly every sound.  Senior Kris Crouch, whose band The Shire is renowned for frequently employing technology in its performances in ISM’s annual Battle of the Bands, has this to say: “If one has access to a digital instrument, such as a synthesizer, I’d highly encourage they use it to perform. With it, it instantly becomes possible to emulate thousands of sounds and instruments that may not be available or easy to play well. If, for instance, you wanted to have a whole brass ensemble, you could just load up a synthesizer patch for it. This would instantly result in your performance feeling full and rich in tone as well as keeping it from being limited to the orthodox guitar-bass-drums combo, making your band a cut above the rest.”

There are of course concerns that technology may in fact be sapping the “soul” of music, but Sophomore Sofia Jimenez disagrees.  She states that “I’m happy about the integration of technology in music as it is creating exciting new forms of music that the world hasn’t been exposed to. Although some may argue that it takes away from the music, I believe that it makes music that much more interesting. This is because the range of the kinds of music that one can enjoy has been broadened. However, I do believe that it shouldn’t mean completely disregarding traditional music, as the balance of both traditional music and technologically integrated music is important.”  Indeed, the latter has even spawned its own set of genres, such as techno and EDM.

It is immediately evident, then, that the utilization of technology in music has not corrupted the art; rather, it has enhanced it, expanding its scope to encompass both the old and the new.