From baffles to bugs, music technology is an area that has grown out of the combined creativity of musical and technical endeavors. It refers to the technology used in the musical business, in particular computer software.
Technology is fundamental in the area of recording, but it is now hugely important in the area of composition also. Strictly speaking, music technology covers the area of acoustics and programming as well as the broader areas of business management within the music industry. While acoustics is the study of sound and how it behaves in a particular environment, programming is a computer term more familiar to the ‘techie’ person.
Music Technology Education
From an educational perspective, the areas to focus on are digital sound editing and sound recording skills. Music technology professionals will need to be adept at music instrument digital interface (MIDI) sequencing and software. Proficiency in MIDI and audio techniques are necessary before the opportunities now presented by technology can be used.
The use of microphones and direct-inject (DI) techniques are part of the mix, as is the use of dynamics and effects equipment. The study of acoustics and monitoring and audio monitoring is fundamental to the study of music technology. The aim is to be able to compose with MIDI-based music technology.
Although a feature of many courses will also be the more practical elements of soldering and wiring and studio routing. Session management for sound engineers is also a key skill to have. After all, it doesn’t matter how creative you can be with both music and technology if you can’t manage the process.
SoundCloud Music Technology
With the increase in bandwidth on the internet, the opportunities for music sharing have grown. A new company that delivers on music technology is SoundCloud. This is an online audio distribution platform which allows users to upload and share their original content. One of the cool things they’ve added in is the ability to add comments at particular points on the timeline of the track. This is a great example of the iterative nature of the web and of technology in general. Each version adds new features and the user experience is enhanced each time. Last February saw the Global Meetup in Ireland for this community.
It seems only fair to mention Steve Jobs at this point. His death has provoked a genuine sharing of grief and loss, and very much across the web. Strangely, the news spread across the very technical tools that he brought about creating. He has left a fantastic legacy to the world in general, but to music technologists and music lovers in particular.
For those who create music, the Mac has always been the product of choice and Apple took the audio components of their MacBooks seriously from the beginning. CoreStudio is also a superior product in its class.
Apple incorporated music technology in products and brought music to users in a much more sophisticated and sleekly designed product with the introduction of the iPod. Quickly on its heels came the iPhone and now the iPad. The iPad in particular has allowed touchscreen music performance that was previously prohibitively costly to do.