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Thanks for the Memory?

Ever since its inception, E&MM has included the musical applications of computers as part of its editorial content. And in the time that's passed since E&MM was first launched, there's been an enormous increase in the numbers of people using computers as an aid to making music, largely as a result of the enormous recent boom in the sales of home micros and the widespread installation of computers in educational and research establishments.

Perhaps the biggest boom is still to come: the advent of MIDI and the appearance of the world's first computer specifically designed as a musician's tool (the Yamaha CX5) will more than likely introduce even greater numbers of music students, composers, performers and researchers to the musical potential of the microcomputer.

However, what is becoming readily apparent is that not every musician is interested in making the micro work for him. And, seeing that quite a bit more work is needed before computers' power can be used to the full (witness the problems with sound-sampling systems), it's perhaps not surprising that there are still plenty of people who remain unconvinced as to the power of the QWERTY keyboard as opposed to the C-to-C variety.

We at E&MM can see their point. Which is why we still include practical projects whose applications are totally unconnected with computers, and why Computer Musician is a supplement to E&MM, not the other way around.

Then again, there do seem to be a few people who have taken it upon themselves to promote the idea of computers and music almost to the point of saying 'buy a home micro or you'll be left behind'. Frankly, we consider such an attitude to be more than a little irresponsible, especially when you realise that computers (and their accompanying software) have still got a long way to go before they become really musician-friendly.

After all, what's the point of insisting that a keyboard player become involved with computers, when all his micro can do for him is act as a flexible - but difficult to program - sequencer? And as Computer Musician Consultant Editor, David Ellis, points out elsewhere in this issue, the degree of software and hardware duplication between rival manufacturers is rather too high for comfort at present: it seems that very few people responsible for developing music-related computer products have an original idea in their heads...

So, if you feel you're not ready for the computer, don't worry. You won't start losing hair, you won't go green, and your teeth won't start falling out. You'll just be able to sit back and relax while other musicians - those who have a genuine interest in micros and music - do the pioneering work.

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Electronics & Music Maker - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.


Electronics & Music Maker - Jun 1984


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