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Re: samples

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  • Burton Thomas
    I am non-musician (I neither play an instrument nor sing) and am excited by the development of electronic music over the last 30+ years, particularly in this
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 29 3:04 PM
      I am non-musician (I neither play an instrument nor sing) and am excited by
      the development of electronic music over the last 30+ years, particularly in
      this decade. The wide spread use of samplers, computers, etc. has created
      the possibility that musical non-entities like myself can create the music
      which I hear in my head and which I wish I could get out to be heard, if by
      no one other than myself. Many of you may decry this possibility since much
      of what could be produced subsequently could be lousy music. But I imagine
      that many of the artists working in the broad genre of electronica today
      might otherwise not be pursuing musical paths without the availability of
      this technology. It seems to me that samplers, etc. work against the
      elitist tendencies that inevitably develop in any art form. Granted, there
      will always be elitism in art, but our technology now affords more people
      the ability and opportunity to develop their musical interests and to find
      an audience for their works. I think that this is a very positive movement,
      only made possible by this technology.

      Influences are very important in the creation of all art and especially in
      my chosen field which is architecture. Architects constantly and freely
      "quote" from the work of others and from buildings which they find admirable
      or important. This is especially true early in one's education and career.
      Many of the great composers of music have done the same thing e.g.
      "Variations on a theme of...etc." Samplers are a technology which
      facilitates this "appropriation" of musical ideas and which allows those who
      create music today to expand on the ideas of others and to develop their own
      style or "voice" which can often be based initially on the work of others.

      This proliferation of musical creation does have its problems. We are
      inundated with musical choices, many of which are not very good. But we can
      also find some truly wonderful listening. Critical writing is one vehicle
      to discover music to which we might otherwise not have been exposed. The
      Wire is the best publication I have come across for this exposure to new and
      different music. The difficulty with all artistic criticism is that, after
      awhile, a critic can become jaded because of the mountain of stuff they must
      look at, or hear, in the course of their work. Vincent Canby of the New
      York Times was once asked why he overlooked many good movies (by most
      standards). He said that he was required to see so many films that he began
      to look for only that which was truly exceptionable or which had something
      that really grabbed his attention. I think the same thing happens with
      those who write for The Wire or any other critical journal. The shear
      volume of material, to which they have to listen, affects how they might
      otherwise react to the music in a non-critical setting. This is not
      necessarily bad but is a fact of life which readers should take into
      consideration when judging a review. Technology has exacerbated this
      situation and is both blessing and curse. Ultimately though, I think our
      artistic lives are richer for it.

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