Electronic v Acoustic?
The success and importance of E&MM as a publication has always been mainly due to a big change of attitude towards the use of electronic instruments in making music.
The media of film, television and radio have contributed greatly to the often unknowing acceptance of electronic string orchestras, brass bands, organs, drums and a vast range of keyboard equivalents of lute, harpsichord, mandolin, piano, accordion, harmonica — almost every traditional acoustic instrument has been imitated to some degree.
Whether you accept the electronic or acoustic version of an instrument usually depends on four basic factors: practicalities, cost, quality and skills; the practicality, say, of using a large orchestra on tour, the financial cost of producing music live or on record, the choice of an instrument or ensemble that is of sufficiently good quality for the performance, and the skills of the players involved.
Ultimately, the decision to use, for example, an electronic string machine instead of a live string orchestra is the artist's (or the manager's) decision. This does not mean in anyway that one is condemning the other. And the position of the working musician still remains the same: his skill will always be needed for manipulating a piano, violin, trumpet, flute, kettledrum, Linn Drum, Variophon, synthesiser/organ, Emulator or Fairlight CMI.
The fact that the musician is desperately trying to keep up with today's technology is a reason for E&MM's existence. What is not realised perhaps is that electronics/computer orientated people are finding a new creativity through their understanding of the new musical instruments. They appear to be acquiring musical skills quicker than musicians learning the necessary technical skills.
I, for one, have grown up in the classical and jazz worlds and firmly believe that my enjoyment of electromusic has come from my life-long appreciation of the different aspects of music. Hopefully we'll remain united under one banner — as musicians.
This month you can enjoy trying out Jon Lord's lyrical piece with these thoughts in mind. If I had a grand piano and an orchestra, that's certainly the combination I'd choose, but for now I'll have to content myself with an electric piano, drum machine, and a couple of synthesisers!
Editorial by Mike Beecher
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