Gig preparation

Posted in Band, Concert, Music on Oktober 23rd, 2011 by EO-Manager

A part of your work when being in a band is to always care about your next concert(s). Unless you have a band manager who does that for you, it’s up to you and your personal engagement. So here you go, all dressed up and ready for your next gig. You drive to the venue, prepare and do the sound check. But let me ask you one question: have you ever thought about your AUDIENCE BEFORE the concert? Read more »

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Your personal cyber musician

Posted in Creativity, Inspiration, Opinion on April 29th, 2011 by EO-Manager

It seems that these days almost everything is possible when it comes to record music. Not only do you get most of the classical synths, guitar and bass sounds, drums and all the emulations of classic peripherals and fx – no, developers have gone further and even want to find the perfect emulation of a musician. Nowadays you will get various approaches of automated instruments and modules that promise to be as “human” as the old homo sapiens. Can that be true? Let’s have a closer look at it.

When you listen to humanized virtual instruments, first of all you are impressed. Well at least I am. You just hack in a couple of parameters like genre, timing, length etc and your virtual friend starts playing. Perfect, right? But then, after a couple of minutes your ear got used to whatever is played and you notice a couple of human imperfections missing. To be frank I haven’t heard any virtual “humanizing” instrument yet  that convinced me over a longer period of time (let’s even say: song)  – especially when used in a musical context. Why is this so and what exactly is missing here?

Obviously there is more to music than just simple rules. If you think, for example about a pianist’s way of interpretation, there a hundreds if not thousands of parameters that define his or her rules. Talking about drummers, you would still be able to distinguish one drummer from another, even if they played the same song (isn’t it right: you can almost instantly tell when drum machines are used?) Why? Because a program is only as good as its analytical abilities and the performing processor – in other words there is something very, very important missing: intuition and the possibility of deliberate and free decision. In other word: intelligence. Brains, mate! After all, a virtual this or that is still programmed. But how do you program deliberate choice? Part of a musical context is improvisation, interpretation and even deliberate “imperfection” (like being a tick before or after the 16th note) and feel.  Lots of your own “personality” goes in every song you write or play. You can call it “soul” or you call whatever. The question is: how do you program “personality” or “soul”?  It is intuition, nuances and experience we are talking about and the human ability to react on other humans  almost instantly. Every musician is able to vary his play in milliseconds according to a general musical “drift”. Can a program do that? I mean, really do that?

I don’t think so. Not in our days. It is a bit like cooking a meal. If you let the machines make the decision and the humans just do the work everything will taste like **insert your favorite global junk food provider here**. Yes it is ok once in a while, but otherwise it becomes stale and tasteless.

And even if people play the same music it just sounds differently. The complexity of our free will and the ability to decide within an almost infinite number of possibilities obviously makes the difference. I am not denying there are (basic) rules and guidelines you can program into a cybermusician – no more and no less. If this fits or exceeds your level of ability – hey, there is nothing wrong using it. It can help you getting better. But if you already are a good musician (especially with your own personal style) it won’t be good enough, yet.  Before you sack your bass player or pianists, though – think twice. Have you ever tried to have a beer and a good laugh with software?

Feel free to comment – or even better: feel free to name a program that already DOES the trick? And, err, no,sorry,  Jamstix does not, neither does Virtual Bass player nor Band in a box…

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