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Poll: Is the computer an instrument?

Is the computer an instrument?

  • Yes

    Votes: 85 72.6%
  • No

    Votes: 32 27.4%

  • Total voters
    117

d.healey

Music Monkey
Maybe we need a definition of computer since a digital piano is a computer with a keyboard interface and I'm petty certain that's an instrument
 

muk

Senior Member
Depends on your definition of 'musical instrument'. To be lazy and quote Wiki: 'A musical instrument is an instrument created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument'. By that definition, any computer that is adapted to make musical sounds, and used to that purpose, is an instrument.
 

C.R. Rivera

Popper @ his favorite toy.
It seems to me that if an object is capable of producing any impulse it can be an instrument. Witness early man beating two rocks together, or, stamping their feet. However, one wonders whether in the year 2525, will man still be alive. :) Only the oldsters will get the reference.
 

Soundhound

Senior Member
This reminds me of the discussion when Dylan 'went electric'. Some interesting distinctions drawn, which is how conventions in thought progress. In the end though, hasn't really got anything to do with making music. Mike Bloomfield and Al Cooper, and Levon Helm and Rick Danko playing with Dylan, that's making music.
 

URL

Senior Member
Computer is not a instrument, computer often compensate the lack of being able to extract an instrument for what an instrument is intended for.
However, for this reason, it is still possible to create music based on different feelings that go through a computer to host, for example, sampling libraries.

Its better to play arpeggios for a instrument with your hands on a instrument and feel then use a computer based machine...

Computers is great for recording what you just played with your fingers or mouth thats my opinion.:cool:
 

C.R. Rivera

Popper @ his favorite toy.
Computer is not a instrument, computer often compensate the lack of being able to extract an instrument for what an instrument is intended for.
However, for this reason, it is still possible to create music based on different feelings that go through a computer to host, for example, sampling libraries.

Its better to play arpeggios for a instrument with your hands on a instrument and feel then use a computer based machine...

Computers is great for recording what you just played with your fingers or mouth thats my opinion.:cool:
If I might reply here, does anyone remember when synths first came? The purists said pretty much the same. In addition, the mellotron, which is not a computer, was also criticized in the same vain. I suspect Mike Pinder, Rick Wakeman, Tony Banks, et al., probably feel pretty worthless playing a "non-instrument." [But, they got some beautiful wall hangings called 'gold records'] :)
 

Ned Bouhalassa

Senior Member
My point is not that a computer cannot be an instrument, but rather that it can be that, it can become an instrument, but since it does so much more, it's closer to a human than a guitar or a saxophone. Then again, my favourite instrument of all time is Ella Fitzgerald!
 

URL

Senior Member
If we are talking musical instrument here or are we talking tools for been creative in composer setup?

If we are talking musical instrument.
You can't play violin on a keyboard-it do not sound the same as a violin player plays on a real instrument.

If you play a modular synth with keyboard as a person okey you play a musical instrument.
Computer is a tool for been creative in different areas... recording knobs moment to a Daw from a synth etc.
Swinging knobs for filters and LFOs etc is sound design in my opinion.:cool:
 

pbattersby

Member
I think of the computer as a tool - a thing that plays back sounds, like a tape recorder. My MIDI controller is the instrument. I don't play the computer, I play the MIDI keyboard. If I draw notes in my DAW, it's still a tool just like staff paper and a pen.
 
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pbattersby

Member
To me, if something transforms human creative input into sounds, it's an instrument all right
By that description, wouldn't a set of speakers or headphones be considered an instrument? They take creative human input and transform that into sounds by causing the surrounding air to vibrate just like a drum or any other traditional musical instrument.
 

MarcusMaximus

Active Member
Of course it's not an instrument, in and of itself. It is a device which can store sounds and if you connect another device to it which can trigger those sounds, like a midi keyboard, then I think that whole setup could be described as an instrument. Whether striking the keys causes a bunch of hammers to impact on certain strings or to trigger a bunch of samples or other sounds in an electronic device makes little difference IMO. Once the physical act of striking the keys causes a sound source to respond and produce a musical note or other sound, then it can qualify as a musical instrument. It's only the technology that is used to produce the sound that is different.
 

Pietro

Senior Member
By that description, wouldn't a set of speakers or headphones be considered an instrument? They take creative human input and transform that into sounds by causing the surrounding air to vibrate just like a drum or any other traditional musical instrument.
Yes, and so they can become an instrument too. Your hands, feet, metal objects, kitchen tools, freaking animal guts or gunpowder cannons. If you use them to create music (in a very wide definition of it), they become instruments.

This is one of the ways a piano or organs have become an instrument, although I bet someone in the old times looked at those hellish machines for the first time and said "Are you kidding me? Lute is an instrument, shawm if a fine instrument too. I understand you can play drums, but this? F&@k this s&@t".

- Piotr
 
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