View Poll Results: Do you consider the laptop to be a musical instrument?

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Thread: Do you consider the laptop to be a musical instrument?

  1. #91
    Senior Member some guy's Avatar
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    That's it. That's what we need. More categories. At least one more.

    So we have things that were designed to be musical instruments, a category that came after the one of things that weren't designed to be musical instruments but can be used thusly. (Rocks and sticks and conch shells and hollow logs and such-like.)

    And we have instruments that weren't designed as such but have come to be used that way enough to be considered ordinary instruments now, like the anvil and the auto brake drum and the turntable.

    And finally, we have things like the laptop. As a computer, the laptop can do (be) all sorts of things, depending on what software you have installed. If you have music software installed, sound-generating software, then your laptop is, among other things, a musical instrument, designed to be such. (The primary purpose of the software is to turn the multi-functional laptop into a musical instrument.)

    (This is my synoptic response to Elgar's on page two of this discussion in which he identifies two categories. Thanks of course to Gorm Less and Herzeleide and Krummhorn and Frasier and Lang and Weston and Elgarian, who have already said everything contained in this synopsis.)

  2. #92
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    some guy You are confused again, most of us enjoy modern [your word] music [but not all modern music] the means of delivery is important to some of us, e.g. Beethoven’s P Son #14 in c# min, would not be enjoyable to me if played on the Bag Pipes or Moriori nose flute, but I admit there are those on this forum that would go into raptures and declare it to be the next important leap forward in music, what you have called an exclusive attitude could be just good taste, please don’t say that is subjective, that much is so obvious, but is the opinion of the majority.

    You also ask us to “look outside this thread for a moment, to practicing musicians playing music. Do any of these people use the laptop to create music? To perform music? Yes, they do.” I would say a lot of musicians use the PC as a tool to help with many forms of music “had it been around in my day I would have used it” but it is IMHO a wild stretch of the imagination to try and class it as a musical instrument

  3. #93
    Senior Member some guy's Avatar
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    Actually Andante, the word I used in the post I think you're referring to was "contemporary."

    As to whether most people on this board enjoy contemporary classical music or not, well, judging by the responses to this thread, it's about half and half. And I'm not confused, per se, but I am puzzled by your reference to means of delivery. I've never made that an issue. (Maybe you're confusing me with someone else?) I don't think of the laptop as a means to perform older music, although it could certainly be used to do that, just as the Moonlight could be played on the bagpipes, but as a way to produce new music, music that fits its capacities and capabilities.

    I was also using exclusive and inclusive as descriptors not evaluators. Simply to describe how people could be expected vote on Elgar's question. (And the voting has indeed been, predictably enough, right along those lines, has it not?)

    And finally, the wild stretch of the imagination you refer to is no more than simply an observation that music software turns any computer into a musical instrument. Hardly wild, hardly a stretch, though possibly quite imaginative!

  4. #94
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    it's about half and half.
    Since when did what is discussed in this thread divide anything? Electronic instruments are by no means the definition of contemporary music, I can enjoy contemporary music with being bombarded with composer's desperately trying to be different they turn anything into an instrument with absolutely no reasoning behind it.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    Actually Andante, the word I used in the post I think you're referring to was "contemporary."
    I was not quoting you, and 99% of readers will understand the meaning of contemporary [belonging to the present time] and modern [characteristic of present-day art and music] do you have a different meaning if so what is it?? If not what is the purpose of your remark ??

    And I'm not confused, per se, but I am puzzled by your reference to means of delivery. I've never made that an issue. (Maybe you're confusing me with someone else?)
    You see, I did not say you had made it an issue but if you read my post again you should be able to understand my point.
    Judging by your remarks to my posts and others [Yagen] you either deliberately hide behind words or are simply being bloody minded. while it makes things interesting it does tend to get a bit much

  6. #96
    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andante View Post
    [SIZE="3"]e.g. Beethoven’s P Son #14 in c# min, would not be enjoyable to me if played on the Bag Pipes or Moriori nose flute, but I admit there are those on this forum that would go into raptures and declare it to be the next important leap forward in music,
    Beethoven left us instruction as to how he wanted his music to be played and we must play it as such. The goal of a composer is not to violate the intentions of past composers as you seem to be infering here, but to create meaningful art that is representative of it's time.

    As for Yagan Kiely's coment about composers desperately trying to be different they turn anything into an instrument with absolutely no reasoning behind it, this has never happened in the history of musicmaking. Composers have enough imagination and talent to compose fresh, original work without desperation. Also, composers always have a reason for infering their various musical events. The reason must come before the decision to include, say, a laptop in a composition.
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

  7. #97
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    Composers have enough imagination and talent to compose fresh, original work without desperation.
    So you are telling me that if someone wanted to write brilliant music in a compeltely unoriginal style in the mid 20th century, or in a modern era, they would become extremely famous? No they wouldn't. The culture of 20th century music doesn't care about the quality of the music, the only important aspect is the piece's concept being original and completely unique. Composers are plagued by the idea of unique because they are forced to. It is desperation to become known and actually make a profession out of their music. Musicality is not the driving force. Same thing with copyright actually - it doesn't promote creativity per se. You seem to be getting the order confused, they compose 'music' which has a completely unique concept because of desperation, they don't compose it 'desperately' they do a very good job at being unique.

    Also, composers always have a reason for inferring their various musical events.
    There is no valid reason to invent an instrument when a perfectly good (i.e. sounds virtually the same and/or same attack/decay etc.) equivalent already exists in the accepted and un-contentious options.

    Something which combines the two arguments above: Let's say that someone managed to compose music based on Einsteins Quantum Theory; now while this may be a wildly unique concept, it would be difficult to translate that into musicallity, but the concept itself would imidiatly render it a good composition.

    Also how do you have good or bad unique music when there is nothing to compare it to? It's as if they are trying to avoid critique. Also how do you critique something which avoids all rules? It may indeed invent the rules, but how can you tell if those rules are bent of broken to the benifit of the music? There is no history and you can't tell.

  8. #98
    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    So you are telling me that if someone wanted to write brilliant music in a compeltely unoriginal style in the mid 20th century, or in a modern era, they would become extremely famous?
    I'm not saying that at all, I'm not sure where you derived this synopsis of my argument from!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    The culture of 20th century music doesn't care about the quality of the music,
    How on earth can you say this?! Composers care as much today about the quality of their music as Bach did! The quality has not changed, just the style.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    There is no valid reason to invent an instrument when a perfectly good (i.e. sounds virtually the same and/or same attack/decay etc.) equivalent already exists in the accepted and un-contentious options.
    There are many valid reasons; making this statement highly flawed! Anyway, why would composers want to imitate a violin on the laptop? Because it's cheaper yes, but composers of the laptop don't seek to imitate existing instruments as you appear to believe. From what I've heard their goals are to create new and unexplored soundworlds which I find very exiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    There is no history and you can't tell.
    Not for those who don't research anything and close their ears at anything that doesn't sound like a violin or piano!
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

  9. #99
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    Using a laptop in order to create music is in no way or means desperation. It can create sounds that would take a lot longer to master with existing instruments, plus it has the ability to oscillate waveforms into new and unique sounds. If you were that much of a musician you would recognise that everything has its place in music, even the triangle in an orchestra plays an important role in the whole piece. If you were to take the final product and say 'yes I really enjoyed that' does it ultimately matter how it was produced? A musical instrument, by definition, is any existing matter that can be oscillated (whether that be hitting it, rubbing it, or synthesising it using a computer) in order to create a sound.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    There is no valid reason to invent an instrument when a perfectly good (i.e. sounds virtually the same and/or same attack/decay etc.) equivalent already exists in the accepted and uncontentious options.
    There is a perfectly valid reason! You are obviously an ignorant musician and I feel somewhat sorry for you, because you are limiting music to what you feel it should be. By saying that computers only 'imitate' instruments that already exist, I am unsure whether you are being dismissive and ignorant to back up your failing argument. Computers can manufacture sounds that we could only dream of making ourselves, taking listeners to a different level, and creating new genres of music. If you are that ignorant that you would totally defy this fact then you are a close-minded fool. Who in their right frame of mind would deliberately outlaw any musical instrument? That totally contradicts the fact that you call yourself a musician!
    Last edited by Arnold Schoenberg; Mar-01-2009 at 14:44. Reason: Wrong quoting method

  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by marval View Post
    To make a laptop play music it surely needs software, which is not already there. So without the software can it play music?
    Without software, the laptop couldn't even boot up, so that's a weak argument against it.

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    I'm sick of hearing ****** loud and incoherent noise coming from music tech computers and their attached speakers. Until I actually hear some music come out of them they are NOT instruments.
    Either you have heard some purely **** music from laptops, and have a bad experience, or you are just closed-minded and believe that people who orchestrate computers are not real musicians. It takes a lot of skill to produce synthetic sounds from a laptop, and I would really like to see you try. If you are going to bash a musical instrument so much, you have to get to know it, and try composing music with it. Without enough knowledge, you are trying to support a meaningless argument.

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnold Schoenberg View Post
    Either you have heard some purely **** music from laptops, and have a bad experience, or you are just closed-minded and believe that people who orchestrate computers are not real musicians. It takes a lot of skill to produce synthetic sounds from a laptop, and I would really like to see you try. If you are going to bash a musical instrument so much, you have to get to know it, and try composing music with it. Without enough knowledge, you are trying to support a meaningless argument.
    Hey Schoenberg, by the way I HATE your music, a laptop isn't an instrument. Get real. Now go and compose some more crappy music.

    P.S. Tell Berg and Webern that I also HATE their music will ya? Thanks a lot.

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Elgar View Post
    Beethoven left us instruction as to how he wanted his music to be played and we must play it as such.
    any musical score is open to interpretation, music notation is only a guide,
    The goal of a composer is not to violate the intentions of past composers as you seem to be infering here, but to create meaningful art that is representative of it's time.
    really? I do not understand what you are getting at?[/quote]

    As for Yagan Kiely's coment about composers desperately trying to be different they turn anything into an instrument with absolutely no reasoning behind it, this has never happened in the history of musicmaking.
    to me this really would revolve around you definition of reasoning,
    [/quote]
    Composers have enough imagination and talent to compose fresh, original work without desperation. Also, composers always have a reason for infering their various musical events. The reason must come before the decision to include, say, a laptop in a composition.
    I agree that some do but I am puzzled by the inclusion of the word “inferring” ??? and once again we have been side tracked into going off topic, so I will repeat what I think, and a lot of other posters seem to think along simular lines which is: A musical instrument is that which has been designed specifically for that purpose, I suppose that a couple of posters will now be googling “drum/tom-tom” sigh

  15. #105
    Senior Member Herzeleide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    Hey Schoenberg, by the way I HATE your music, a laptop isn't an instrument. Get real. Now go and compose some more crappy music.

    P.S. Tell Berg and Webern that I also HATE their music will ya? Thanks a lot.
    Haven't heard this before.

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