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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

FriFlo

Senior Member
It certainly can be a creative tool, but an instrument? Maybe you could call the keyboard attached to it an instrument. But a computer offers nothing of the direct interaction and year-long learning experience a real instrument does. Even electronical substitutes for the real instruments (like an electric Piano) do not offer that kind of feeling and relationship. A computer is simply a tool, which can be used.
If you voted for yes, you should honestly try to really learn an instrument, otherwise you might be missing something important in music ...
 

gregh

Senior Member
I dont think the computer is an instrument - the analogy I would make is with a violin or a guitar. No-one would think that the wood they are made from is an instrument until it takes on the form of an instrument (such as violin or guitar). Similarly the computer is not an instrument but the form that it takes might be
 

JonSolo

Not Han's Brother
A guitar was designed to be a musical instrument. It really can't be much else.

A piano was designed to be a musical instrument. It really can't be much else.

Spoons were designed to be used to eat with but were repurposed as a musical instrument.

Computers are more like spoons. They have been repurposed in some cases to be musical instruments but they can be other things as well. But their design was not originally intended to serve a musical purpose like a guitar or piano.

So I would have to say it IS an instrument but not a musical instrument by design. It must be repurposed to fit that terminology.

What do you play? Oh I play the piano.

What do you play? I play a little guitar.

What do you play? Oh I am proficient at the computer....hmm...nope doesn't work.
 

ranaprathap

Active Member
I use my computer keyboard to input notes into my Piano Roll, and I don't use a MIDI controller.

This makes my laptop my sole musical instrument.

What about EDM producers who use launchpad attached to their laptop to play live? Doesn't that make the computer their instrument?
 

lp59burst

I'm just a "hobbyist"...
I realise I'm not helping here, But how on earth did this thread get to 3 pages?
Slow day at the office maybe...? ;)

As to the Poll question.... It's not a "simple question". You asked if it's an instrument then yes, but then, by that definition, so is a scalpel and pen. It's more of a tool and not a "musical" instrument... if it's a "musical" instrument then so is my CD player, smart phone, my car radio... :whistling:
 

JonSolo

Not Han's Brother
:thumbsup:
I use my computer keyboard to input notes into my Piano Roll, and I don't use a MIDI controller.

This makes my laptop my sole musical instrument.

What about EDM producers who use launchpad attached to their laptop to play live? Doesn't that make the computer their instrument?
The question is not "can the computer be USED as an instrument". The question as stated "IS the computer an instrument".

There is no question that the computer CAN BE USED as an instrument. Most reasonable (subjective) people would likely say "yes" simply because a LOT of non-musical things can be used as an instrument.

But musical instruments (a least ones I consider real) serve NO OTHER PURPOSE. Therefore, a launchpad WOULD be a musical instrument because it was created solely with music as its intent. A computer on the other hand would not be a musical instrument if I were creating graphics, doing my homework, crunching a database, etc. Try doing those things with a musical instrument and see how far you get.

A computer is a multi-use tool. Music is one of its uses. And it CAN be USED as a musical instrument.

And I guess I am contributing to getting to a 4th page...:thumbsup:
 

Saxer

Senior Member
I would compare a computer musicwise to the wood of a violin body.
If the wood is lucky it will become part of a musical instrument.
 

G.R. Baumann

Senior Member
hmmm... a tool made or found to interact with to generate sound, perhaps?

To be considered a master virituous, you invested in excess of 10,000 hours to reach that stage, and not too long ago, we really narrowed that down to acoustic sound generators only, triggered by breath, strings or beating the crap out of drums or the likes.... behold, then we started to use electricity.

I think it is plain wrong to consider Kontakt for example not an instrument, since the way I play, aftertouch, velocity and so on, varies the tone.

So yes, by all means, a computer, used in a specific way, is an instrument. Further, no one would object a digital synthesiser to be an instrument, I guess.

But.... why do you ask?
 
Computers are made of atoms. Loree oboes are made of atoms. Haynes flutes are made of atoms. Woodwind players are made of atoms. When there is a beta decay from radioactivity, a neutrino or an anti neutrino is emitted depending on whether it is a positron or a normal beta particle. Do you really wish to get into this discussion? Would not a more interesting question be is the instrument a computer? That one I am geared up for. This one is boring to me. Just joking as always. I am laughing. Sorry, I laugh at my own jokes when nobody else does. It is a character flaw.
 

TGV

Senior Member
For some it is, for most it isn't. A record player with an LP is not a musical instrument, but some people use it to create sounds from scratch (ok, bad pun). An oil barrel isn't a musical instrument, but it can be turned into one. Likewise, a computer is –for most people– a tool, but for others an instrument, most obviously those who program it to generate sound waves. Many of us would fall somewhere in between: it's not quite an instrument, but we do use it to make music, like the frame of a piano.
 

FriFlo

Senior Member
After reading responses like @FriFlo's below, I think I am going to quit this forum...
Marc, if you took that as an offense, I am sorry. I did not intend to attack anybody. But it is out of my imagination, how someone could compare the two - the instrument, crafted by human hand and improved over centuries, giving a human being intimate control over sound and than the PC (or Mac) that is certainly a fine accomplishment of human technology, but nonetheless bares no resemblance to the other ...
If you think, a PC is an instrument, fine! But there is no need to feel attacked, when I just find that crazy talk ...
 

marclawsonmusic

Senior Member
Marc, if you took that as an offense, I am sorry. I did not intend to attack anybody. But it is out of my imagination, how someone could compare the two - the instrument, crafted by human hand and improved over centuries, giving a human being intimate control over sound and than the PC (or Mac) that is certainly a fine accomplishment of human technology, but nonetheless bares no resemblance to the other ...
If you think, a PC is an instrument, fine! But there is no need to feel attacked, when I just find that crazy talk ...
I did not feel attacked nor did I take your comment personally. I just found it to be highly ignorant and dismissive.

Your point comparing hand-crafted instruments to modern technology is a valid one... but so also is Hans' analogy that the computer is much like the old pipe organ. The computer is a tool and it takes a great deal of craft to create with it. To be dismissive of that seems very naive to me.
 

FriFlo

Senior Member
I did not feel attacked nor did I take your comment personally. I just found it to be highly ignorant and dismissive.

Your point comparing hand-crafted instruments to modern technology is a valid one... but so also is Hans' analogy that the computer is much like the old pipe organ. The computer is a tool and it takes a great deal of craft to create with it. To be dismissive of that seems very naive to me.
Indeed, I consider a keyboard or a pipe organ less an instrument then a string or wind instrument (although I only play keys and a tiny bit of guitar). But as soon as digital comes into play, there is always missing something. Even with the most innovative inventions, like the Roli Seaboard, which is way more capable in terms of expression than my piano. If someone would ask, wether a Seaboard is a musical instrument, it would be a difficult question. With a computer, it is out of the question to me. Fine! Others see it differently and they are allowed to. I am just saying, if so many people here other forum don't share that feeling, I get the impression I am in the wrong place here, to be honest ... and I am by no means anti technology or anything like that. A physical instrument is however its own thing in my mind and it cannot be replaced by technology.
 
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