Music technology encompasses all forms of technology involved with the musical arts, particularly the use of electronic devices and computer software to facilitate playback, recording, composition, storage, analysis, and performance. This subject is taught at many different educational levels, including K-12 through college and university. As an academic discipline at university level, Music Technology (meaning music produced using software or electronic hardware) first emerged in the middle of the 1980s, most notably at the University of York, where the Departments of Music and Electronics set up a joint Masters programme in Music Technology in 1986. Furthermore, music technology encompasses the technical and scientific aspects of music such as acoustic science, programming, music psychology/sociology and music industry business practices. Starting with such early pioneers as Luigi Russolo, Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry, Edgard Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen and others, music technology has been and is being used in many modernist and contemporary experimental music situations to create new sound possibilities. Contemporary classical music sometimes uses computer-generated sounds, either pre-recorded or generated/manipulated live, in conjunction or wikt:juxtaposition with classical acoustic instruments like the cello or violin.
The concept of music technology is intimately connected to both artistic and technological creativity. People are constantly striving to devise new forms of expression through music, and physically creating new devices to enable them to do so. Because of this, our definition of what music technology encompasses continually expands. Although the term is now most commonly used in reference to modern electronic devices such as a monome, the piano and guitar may also be said to be early examples of music technology. In the computer age however, the ontological range of music technology has greatly increased, and it may now be mechanical, electronic, software-based or indeed even purely conceptual.
Sequencer software programs, such as Pro Tools, Logic Audio and many others, are perhaps the most widely used form of contemporary music technology. Such programs allow the user to record acoustic sounds or MIDI musical sequences, which may then be organized along a time line. Musical segments can be copied and duplicated ad infinitum, as well as edited and processed using a multitude of audio effects.
Many musicians and artists use 'patcher' type programmes, such as Pd, Bidule, Max/MSP and Audiomulch as well as (or instead of) digital audio workstations or sequencers and there are still a significant number of people using more "traditional" software only approaches such as CSound or the Composers Desktop Project.
Music technology includes many forms of music reproduction. Music and sound technology refer to the use of sound engineering in both a commercial or leisurely/experimental manner. Music technology and sound technology may sometimes be classed as the same thing, but they actually refer to different fields of work, the names of which are to some extent self-explanatory, but where sound engineering may refer primarily to the use of sound technology for media-logical purposes.
External links