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Playing an instrument versus building an instrument

Andre sent this in for our consideration:

"Software instruments never stop changing, never stop offering up more of
those infinite possibilities we're always hearing about. Compare the
situation with, say, playing an acoustic guitar. Years of practice are
necessary before you really begin to discover the hidden potential
inside that rounded box with six metal strings and a hole. But right off
the bat, software instruments - especially modular ones like Max/MSP and
Reaktor - provide a dizzying number of powerful effects.

This makes it easy to endlessly tweak your material rather than to
accept the constraints that partly define the act of composition. And
this is particularly true when you can tinker not only with the sound
but with the virtual machine that makes the sound.

"There are two approaches you can take with your music software," says
Gerhard Behles, who quit Monolake in order to run Ableton full-time.
"One is to consider your tools as fixed. The other is to control the
tools themselves. That gives you a much bigger lever. But it can keep
you from ever doing music again."

Joshua Clayton programs for Cycling '74 and remains captivated by the
nitty-gritty processing available in environments like Max/MSP. Clayton
also has concerns about the aesthetic attitude that such programs can
produce. "I find that people who use Max and similar programs often
aspire to be the god behind the universe, to come up with a formal
system that's completely under their control. Some people can't wait to
get everything inside the computer so they can generate some kind of
utopian music that's all contained within the machine."

This is fascinating stuff to ponder and I can see the dangers in living in
the software environment and , indeed, no many artists, who
never even produce any music for people because they are trying to stay on
top of the expansion of software that is continual.

I, however, also sense a wierd sense of deja vu recalling the judgemental
response of many 'old school' acoustic guitarists when
encountering Les Paul's first experiments with that new fangled 'gimmicky'
technology called the magnetic pickup.

Thank God, Dre' (for your fascinating music) that you went with the
instrument innovator's approach.    If you decide that you never want to do
anything but keep exploring a non-processed guitar through an EDP or two,
more power to you.  I know you'll create
really cool music with your approach.

It doesn't have to negate an artist who just can't wait to get and master
the latest mangling plugin software.     Two different instruments.  Two
different musicians...............Viva la difference!

Peace,   Rick