Music technology has somewhat taken over in recent years, hasn’t it? Our world has become more digitally-led, and we’re also rolling with the punches because we love the convenience. We can instantly email; no need for snail mail. We can send a text message and get information about where we want it to go when we want it to get there. We’re taking ourselves to the movies at home with streaming services like Netflix and Prime.
Technology has changed the workplace, too. With bigger, better, and faster computers, printers, webcams, and more, we’re able to work from home, use the best ASMR microphone out there for vlogging and blogging to get brand names to homes; and we’re doing well at it! It’s not just these areas that technology has leached into, either. Technology affects our connection to the internet, the way we travel, and it’s also changed our hobbies. People who once used to play the ukulele now use synthesizers and DJ stations while they play music.
People who once used radio are now swapping out iPods and Spotify to avoid adverts. The most significant area that seems to have been influenced is music. Every song is affected by the changes in technology. Autotune, vocal synthesizers, the way we experience music in general – it’s all changing. There are now people alive today who don’t know what a cassette player is or how to use it (sob). Technology has made sure that music has evolved, and here are some of the pieces of tech that has made those changes:
Did you know that Thomas Edison brought the phonograph to the world? In 1877, this was the first real piece of innovative technology, bringing music from live performances into the living rooms of those who had to miss out. The phonograph mainly was like what we know as the first music system we had growing up. Some kids had an MP3; others had a vinyl record player – the phonograph was what our great, great, great grandparents had!
Do you remember seeing the first Les Paul on stage? Made in 1941, this was an instrument that shifted music and the entire future in a direction towards rock, roll, and everything in between. Electric devices changed the way music sounded. There were fear scratches, fewer imperfections, and it challenged the existing sounds in the music world. It’s enormous, and it’s still around today!
Can you imagine there being a time where musicians would have to record an entire song in one take? Most people can’t picture it because we’re now in a time where multitrack recording is a thing. There’s more than the musician and his guitar now: there are sound engineers and technicians, and they’re bringing music to life in a whole new way. Songs can now be broken into sections piece by musical piece, which leaves space for them to be perfected.
We’ve had pedals on pianos for many years – decades, even. However, we now have effect pedals, and they’re not just on pianos. Electric drums, electric xylophones, and more all have effects pedals recreated digitally. This means that musicians can now easily add products beyond their instruments to the music. This can be anything from reverb to chorus and distortion to different track parts. This changes the sound and brings up something more excellent in most cases!
This one has been around for many years, and it came about in the 70s. When it came out, people wanted to replicate the sound on an orchestral level. The synthesizer has done that, and they are powerful tools with more sounds than you can count. The music world is better off for it, and there are decades of tracks that have been forever changed by the wavy sound of the synthesizer.
Did the DJ put your record on? Well, not so much anymore. The turntable was a massive introduction to the music world, and it allowed brand new DJs to offer their unique flavor to the songs they played. Of course, mashing them together, blending them, and making them stand out beyond any other music is part of the fun for a DJ, but without the turntable, it wouldn’t be possible. Electric turntables are perfect for today’s music industry, and you’ll find them at any club set.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface
This is the MIDI, and it’s got technology that allows users to hook themselves up to a computer to play more than one instrument at once. With one of these controllers, you could play every instrument and layer them one after the other to create a whole new sound. So musicians can have better access to a range of sounds without buying all of the instruments and hosting them in their house.
We’ve mentioned this one, but it has completely changed the music. Artists doing dances on stage can sing in tune thanks to the effect of autotune. The Vocoder allows them to bend their voices, manipulating them to the same extent as an instrument. Every musician uses it to improve their sound, and whether they use it live or record with it, it’s changed music for good.
Where would half of the musical world today be without a personal computer? Anyone with a laptop can step into the music world and create their studio environment without an actual studio. You could get a computer and start mixing your music right now if you wanted to! That’s how simple it is to access, and it’s right there at your fingertips.
Listening to music has changed, too, with wireless headphones and streaming making music more accessible than ever in life. Technology has shifted the world in a way that couldn’t have been predicted.