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Synthetic Society

Last week I downloaded this amazing new program from Native Instruments called Razor. Native Instruments’ Razor is an additive synthesizer, which means that it utilizes individual sine waves that vary in amplitude and frequency to create one clear waveform. This particular synthesizer is unique in the fact that it simultaneously fires up to three hundred and twenty sine wave partials that can be manipulated in such as way as to create everything from filters to vocoders. While I was messing around with the sleek 3-D interface I got to thinking about how far we’ve come as society technologically that even our music is created using electronics. If you went back even one hundred years and tried to explain to a musician that you create your bass lines by using and additive synthesizer to run sine wave partials through a modulated formant filter his head would explode (let alone trying to explain how the computer that powered it works, if you could even manage that). Nowadays a huge percentage of music we hear is completely or at least somewhat synthetically generated and no one really stops to think about how that has just recently become the case (relatively).

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. zmackay
    April 23, 2012 at 4:55 am

    I really liked this post for so many reasons. First and foremost, I completely agree with you in that technological advancements are redefining art, music, and culture today. The resources available to creative people are virtually unlimited, and it makes one wonder where there is room left for individuality and even talent. Some of the greatest musicians of all time scribbled with ink on parchment by candlelight, yet we still play with reverence their greatest works today. Some of the most renowned artists, Rembrant, Monet, created masterpieces that are now worth millions of dollars from paints and canvas while looking at a simple landscape. I can’t help but wonder what these “legends” would have produced had they had access to all that we take for granted today. What do you think? What place do you feel ingenuity and innovation have in all this? Are the creative challenges we face greater or less because of the resources we have at our fingertips? I also really appreciated your choosing a subject that is both scientific and clearly personally relevant. I think this really brings home the point of the past semester; identifying what role science plays in so many unsuspecting aspects of our daily lives.

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