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Noteworthy Technology Essay

1275 words - 6 pages

Noteworthy Technology

Few things possess the power of music. Good music has the capacity to convey messages, evoke emotion and inspire awe. Yet, not many posses the means to acquire the power of music. Writing music by hand can be time consuming, inaccurate, and it does not allow the composer to actually hear the annotated music. Furthermore, learning an instrument can be time consuming and frustrating if all a person wants to do is compose their own music. This is where the beauty of technology comes in. Through a system known as MIDI, or Musical Instrumental Digital Interface, and musical notation computer software, composers are able to input their music into a computer and have ...view middle of the document...

However, The MIDI data transmission rate is different from computer data rates, so MIDI interfaces are designed to allow the computers to transfer information at MIDI's speed. Computer software is able to record, store, replay, and edit MIDI data into "songs." New composition software also possesses editing capabilities as well as intricate synchronization methods (MIDI).

MIDI technology is significant because it has revolutionized music composition by making it faster and less expensive for professional composers, amateur composers, and music students alike (Webster pars 4). MIDI technology and music annotation software make it extraordinarily easy for anyone to plunk out a melody on the piano or input notes into a computer by pointing and clicking with a mouse, and instantly hear their creation. This tool can be particularly useful for composers writing music for wind band or orchestra, where there are many different instruments that sound at the same time and it can be difficult to conceptualize the desired effect (Webster pars 9). Without MIDI technology, composers would have to wait to hear their compositions until they could hire a group of musicians to perform the piece. In addition, features such as cut and paste and transposition tools save composers precious time as they easily copy certain musical ideas and transpose them into different keys for different instruments (Webster pars 15). Music notation software also makes music composition and notation much more accessible to students and amateur composers by the accessibility and low cost of notation soft ware and MIDI compatible keyboards and guitars. Some notation software is provided free via the internet and the majority of the software available is straightforward and easy to learn and use (Ohler pars 8). One of the best parts of MIDI technology is that is allows musicians who do not read music but “play by ear” to transfer their compositions to finished annotated sheet music by playing on a MIDI instrument connected to a musical annotation program on a computer (Ohler pars18).

The small size and universality of MIDI files also make them technologically attractive. MIDI files are similar to word-processor files in that they can be created in one program but used in another (Ohler pars 61). A technique called sampling allows musicians to record sounds and converts them to files that can be stored on a computer; however these files require very fast computers and huge amounts of storage space. In contrast, MIDI sound files will run on almost any computer and require minimal memory to store (Ohler pars 62).

While MIDI and computer music notation software may seem to be the solution to all music composition problems, in reality MIDI technology does have drawbacks. The entire idea of converting actual live sounded music and transforming it into a written document , or a sound file for a computer to play, is very unmusical. The sound that the MIDI...

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