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Musical technology has come a long way to help ease the creation and production of music. The microphone is one musical tool that has revolutionized the way we hear and portray music, especially live. The microphone’s purpose is to help record music and even allow the singer to inflict emotions with a wide range while still being heard. The microphone translates sound vibrations into electrical sounds allowing it to capture the most minimal and softest sounds. This way, it can capture all emotions and techniques a singer has to convey a passionate and pleasing feeling to the listener. The only experience I have with the microphone happens when it is attached to a speaker. When giving this speech, I quickly noticed how delicate a microphone is. If you were too far from the mic, the audience could not hear you, and if you accidentally bump it, it sends off an unpleasant screeching sound. Although not the best experience it was still a nice occurrence.
The piece of music I selected is Camilo Sesto “Getsemaní (live 1977).” The microphone although not influential it allowed Camillo Sesto to express his voice in a variety of different ways. In the video, you can hear the different sounds and techniques he is using to create character and style to his voice. https://youtu.be/bY2eW9-mA1U
The instrument i have chosen to write about is the bass guitar. A bass guitar is part of the guitar family but instead it produces more “lower frequencies”(masterclass). This sound is then transmitted to an amplifier that allows it to be heard at different volumes desired. Before the early 1920’s the double bass was used for lower pitched sounds but looking for a more convenient way ti do the same with more features came about the electric guitar. The bass sound came about since the 1600’s, but not necessarily practical fir those who traveled a lot due to the inconvenience of its size. It wasn’t until 1935 where the first modern electric bass guitar was created by Paul Tutmarc with a company called Audiovox Manufacturing Company, following a failed attempt of another. This invention was not so popular up until 1951 by Leo Fender who added in the feature or an amplifier. The bass guitar’s role is to “maintain a steady rhythm”(School of Popular Music), the bass guitar also can support the harmony with an underlying deep sound which takes a good listen to hear.
The music i have chosen that uses a bass guitar is “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen which heavily relies on the use of the bass guitar which supports the drums throughout the song and vocals. Throughout the song it maintains a steady beat along with the drums.
A musical technology that has been commonly used is the use of autotune. Autotune was created in 1998 by Dr. Andy Hildebrand. Later the use of autotune was popularized by T-Pain who has used in most of his music. The autotune is a software that helps align the pitch of an artist’s voice to make it perfectly in tune with the beat of the music. Sometimes, an artist, has trouble hitting the perfect pitch of that the singer needs, so this software allows the pitch to be perfectly altered. As the autotune was created to help with the pitch of a sound, many new artists who have no talent in singing use autotune to help make their voice sound pleasing to the audience. I have no experience in using this software.
The piece of music I have chosen is “Buy U a Drank” by T-Pain, as you can hear his voice buried under layers of autotune to help make this music sound more smooth. It also had a hand in helping the song become one of T-Pain hit songs.
The piece of musical technology that I decided to choose is an instrument, the piano. The piano is a keyboard musical instrument (invented around the year 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori) that has wire strings, that sound when struck by felt-covered hammers operated from a keyboard. The standard modern piano has 88 keys (52 white keys and 36, shorter black keys) and has a compass of seven full octaves plus a few keys. It quickly became popular due to it being both louder and more versatile than the previous popular keyboard instrument, the harpsichord. It is louder because instead of a hammer plucking the strings as you do when you play a harpsichord, the piano’s hammer strikes the strings, giving louder ranges in volume. In the past, there have been people who played the piano in an unorthodox manner, as it was been said that Wolfgang Mozart played the piano once with his nose, and people on YouTube have played the piano in ways that include: blindfolded, backwards, two pianos at once, while playing the violin and with pencils. I never learned how to play the piano, but I would love to one day.
One piece of music that uses the piano is the song “Out My Mind, Just In Time” by Erykah Badu. In the first 1 minute and 50 seconds of the song, the song has a homophonic texture, as it is only Erykah singing and the piano playing alongside her. Later (until 2:35, where the first part of the song ends), a violin joins the piano, but the piano is still the primary instrument.
The piece of musical technology that I chose is the piano. The piano is an instrument with a lot of functions that can make a variety of sounds. There are also many different versions of it, but they are all made of white and black keys where the white keys are notes and the black keys represent flats, sharps, and etc. The piano also comes with three pedals where the foot area is. Those pedals each help make the notes sound different. The piano initially originated from the harpsichord which originally made sounds through plucking. Modern day pianos work by a hammer inside the piano. When you press a certain key, the hammer inside the piano hits the strings of the note. Each note on the piano has a different hammer and number of strings which is why each key makes a different sound.
I personally do not know another way that the piano is used except for the actual purpose but I’ve had experience with the piano in that my parents made me learn it when I was younger. I had no interest in learning how to play this instrument, but I do think it was a good experience because I have some knowledge of music and its elements and keys. I also somewhat remember how to play because of my continuous experience with music.
A piano piece that I personally really like is “River Flows in You” by Yiruma. I didn’t enjoy playing the piano, but I remember always trying to learn this piece. I think this piece is well influenced by the piano because the way the piano notes are played softly but with impact makes it a really good piece to listen to. It also makes the person listening to the piece calm and more relaxed. Through this piece, I can feel a lot of emotions at once.
I have chosen the loop machine as a technological instrument of music. The purpose of the loop machine is to add layers to music and develop a song further and further as the song continues. The machine loops a prior line of music and overlaps it with further singing or music throughout the song. It seems like a smaller version of a keyboard, and is held and used during a performance. In order to use it buttons and signals must be used throughout the performance to allow it to keep changing the music. Although I do not have any experience with this technology, I have seen many foreign country singers use it in their live performances.
This piece of music is named “toy” performed by Netta, an Israeli singer. She won the Eurovision contest against many other countries with this piece. This technology made this singers performance stand out and seem unique to people. This is what contributed to the performers winning Eurovision and other singing competitions. It is an uncommon instrument used during live performances and shocked many audience members.
A piece of musical technology that helps humans achieve certain goals is Spotify. Spotify’s purpose is to offer a digital music, podcast, and video streaming service that gives access to millions of songs and other content from artists all across the world. It is a software that allows people to create their own playlist and stream music. It works to achieve this purpose by making music easier to listen to. Users can create multiple playlists for different occasions. This helps out with efficiency since one can just set the device down during an event, and it will switch to another song by itself for free. However, if one wants to control which song it plays next, users would have to pay and purchase Spotify Premium. People usually use this application in a way that it is designed for. Again, that is either to listen to music or podcasts. I personally use Spotify when I can not hold the phone constantly, but still want to have music in the background; such as when I am driving, or busy running errands.
The song “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran is a song available to Spotify users. This song was actually ranked number one for the most streamed songs on this application. Spotify influenced the music it helped to produce by causing it to be more well known. It gave the song a wider range of audience members to have the opportunity to listen to. People were able to listen to this song wherever and whenever they wanted, due to the efficiency of the application.
Select a piece of musical technology such as a musical format, an instrument, a mode of instruction, software, etc. This can be anything related to music that fits our definition of technology:
“Knowledge, techniques, and tools that help humans (or animals!) achieve certain goals.”
Referring to your textbook, notes, and any online sources you find useful, describe this technology and answer the following questions. What is its purpose? How does it work to achieve that purpose? Are there any people that use this technology in a way that it wasn’t designed for? Do you have any experience with this technology?
Find a piece of music that uses the technology that you’ve chosen. How did the technology influence the music it helped to produce? Please include in your blog either a YouTube or Spotify link.
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