Musical Technology: Variations in Genre

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Musical Technology: Variations in Genre

Carson Gee, Reporter and Page Editor

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Technology makes life more convenient, and this includes technology in the music industry. What was once used to produce electronic sounding music now touches most genres that people listen to every day.

Most people listen to music daily. Others prefer to watch movies or videos online, but both media types have been touched by the software and hardware that makes music. Keyboards, synthesizers, drum pads, and microphones are present in a lot more than one genre, with good reason.

Ever since the 70s, bands and musicians have been using electronic instruments and modulators, whether they be specifically “electronic” sounding or more traditional sounding. By the time the 90s rolled around, things really started to change. More and more artists used exclusively electronic instruments creating a whole new genre simply referred to as “jungle” at the time. Though that is still a relevant name, there are other electronic genres now, like future bass.

There’s a multitude of technologies we have had throughout the years to make music. Some common technologies artists use include music software like Garageband and FL Studio, instruments like electronic pianos and drum pads, or vocoders that produce robotic voices, such as autotune. There are many instances of electronic instruments being used.  

Scott LeDuc is a music, film, and game teacher at Capital, and he said music can have a lot of variety.

  “You can shape sound, and there’s so many variables to shaping a sound.”

Despite all the use of this technology, some bands prefer to keep a more natural sound to their music. For example, the band Tool does not use many forms of modern technology, save for guitar amps from the 70s. Tool is one of the rare but intriguing cases of modern technology being absent from modern music. 

On the other side of things, most orchestral music is also devoid of modern electronics. Both of these genres have adapted to sound amazing with the addition of new instruments and electronics. A prime example is the experimental music of the band Radiohead. Radiohead is just one example of using instruments associated with other genres. LeDuc enjoys their music.

“What they’re doing, I just love the way they approach the creative music process. I can use the guitar in a typical form, or I could do this, I could use a cool synthesizer, create a cool sounds, create new sounds with it…” 

Thomas Bangalter, a member of Daft Punk and one time film director of the movie Electroma, said that the life of a musician is interesting.

“It’s unexpected, doing underground art next to a Kanye West single.” Bangalter said. “It’s funny to be able to stretch and still not feel like you’re a sell out – to be able to express yourself with integrity.”