Rolling with the changes

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Technology constantly changes things considerably. There was a time when I would write a piece of music and not really have the chance to know the sensation of hearing what it would sound like, until it was played by other musicians. I used to get a thrill out of that moment when the music would leave my hands, to be emoted with the talents and skills of others.

Nowadays, thanks to composing software I can hear a semblance of what I imagined, as I create the music. This gives me more control over what I express musically. Does it make the music of today any better than what was created before? Probably not, but maybe the jury is still out in this regard.

When these new shifts in technology emerge it is likely that they also have some impact on the ways that human beings receive information and how they process it. There was a time when it was seen as ridiculous that anyone would make a living out of being a curator of playing a sequence of music recordings in a social setting – which is basically what a deejay does. Nowadays, deejays are probably more respected and rewarded for their skills than the folks who devote years of their lives to playing instruments – a curious state of affairs.

Some of us have strong views about the ways that sounds should be made, in order for music or musicians to be worthy of respect for what they do. Perhaps this tendency is similar to the inclination of some folks to buy handmade shoes and clothes. There will be occasions when it will be noticed that a pair of shoes has a special quality about it that could only have been created by a pair of hands. Most of the time, we just have to get on with life and make use of what is available and most expedient to use.

Our values shift imperceptibly and eventually some of us find that we’ve been left behind because we cling onto the terms of engagement of our youth. Film makers and performers who couldn’t adjust to the emergence of the talkies went under when the audiences developed new tastes. Nothing remains the same, it seems.