Making Music from the Ground Up

After spending even more countless hours sifting through a ton of online articles, I found some really cool information that can serve as my academic source. It’s an article by Gideon D’Arcangelo called Creating a Context for Musical Innovation: A NIME Curriculum and it details the makings of a college course that invents music-making devices while presenting a variety of innovative musical controllers. I found this pretty interesting because I’m kind of familiar with a few current music-making devices but I’ve never thought about the making of these devices and what surrounds their coming to be.

For those who don’t know what I mean by music-making devices, I’m referring to instruments such as synthesizers, turn tables for mixing music, computer programs that make music digitally and other similar devices along those same lines. These are also refered to as MIDI, which stands for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface.”  It is a connectivity standard that musicians use to hook together musical instruments (such as keyboards and synthesizers) and computer equipment. Many of these devices are used in a lot of popular music today ranging from rock, pop and rap to help create a unique sound while trying to appeal to a wider fan base. I personally enjoy how MIDIs are used in the music that I listen to but to each his own in my opinion. We can talk about my colorful choice in music another day, right now we need to talk about music-making devices.

The making of these instruments show the true creativity of an individual. Imagine being in a classroom full of other bright, open-minded innovators trying to create music with raw materials from one small idea based on the instruments looks or sound. This was the case for a group of students at New York University. Their class revolves around identifying issues surrounding music-making devices  while displaying a variety of innovative musical controllers (which are all hand-made by the students with the assistance of a mentor). Now I believe that creativity and innovation tend to go hand in hand a good part of the time so hearing how the class is structured and that quite a few students were interested in it showed me that there is a new sense of creative flair in music. I’m just happy to be able to make a decent piece of macaroni art, so I can’t imagine building a machine that can digitally compose or be used in a musical performance. It just sounds so unreal!

The school started this class experiment back in 2002 and from the layout of the course presented in the article it seems like there is some good coming from it. This here is a life example of innovation being able to foster creativity. Taking an object and giving it a new purpose is ingenious to me and shows that taking something that is old and giving it a new edge is in deed a positive thing. I’m still pretty caught up on this whole MIDI movement so it’s time to do more research!










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