Maker Player Composer

Day 308 Week 44 Q4 Sunday, November 5, 2023

Today’s music world has come full circle to many hundreds of years ago when the same person could be the instrument maker, the instrument player, and the composer of music they played on that instrument. This was before the age of specialization when if you wanted an instrument, you probably had to make it. And if you had made up some music, you were the one who had to perform it. For a composer to expect other people to play, their works would have been nonsensical originally. I do not know whether this was 500 or 1000 years ago or longer, but having the same person be responsible for what was to be played and how it was to be played and to provide the performance themselves seems very exciting to me.

We are now back to that world in an authentic way. A modern musician. Often performs with digital instruments that are entirely software-based. This means they may plug some sort of a controller into a computer to produce the sounds everyone can hear. A significant portion of the sounds we hear are produced digitally. Sometimes they are terrible, and sometimes they are marvelous. Sometimes, they can be highly edited, changed, combined, and morphed by a performer. A performer has more control over their instrument today than has been the case for hundreds or even thousands of years.

In a similar vein, that very same computer used to produce the sounds can also be used to produce music scores or recordings in the service of music composition. Those same musicians who can control their instruments to an unprecedented degree can also control their composition and composition process.  That very same laptop can be their instrument, recording studio, and composer laboratory, complete with orchestration and arrangement capabilities.

For a person who is tremendously attracted to music, the tool kit has become more powerful than imaginable even 20 years ago, but ironically, it has brought us back hundreds or thousands of years to the point where the same person could be the maker and the player and the composer. Not everyone has skill in all of these areas, but they now have a lower barrier to entry to learn about all of these areas ever before in history.

The amount of time that it takes to make a physical instrument compared to the ability to modify, edit, and morph digital instruments was hundreds of times greater. The same is true for composition. To have all these tools at our disposal in the same laptop computer represents a musical revolution that many people are taking part in right now.

You, too, can be a maker, player, and composer.