7 Digital Software that Made Music Accessible to the Masses
The creation of music software has gone through a lot to grow into the platform we’re used to nowadays. Some even argue that the whole process of creating music has become too mainstream and digital.Many would go through traditional means of composing and recording a track, and there’s no denying that technological advancements have revolutionized the music industry.
The need for a big-label backing is no longer necessary in music production. Nowadays, top-quality productions can be created from your basement with inexpensive equipment and apps that are understandable and easy to use. Popular streaming platforms and social media ensure your work gets through to millions of people worldwide.
However, music software does not do the magic by itself. The combination of software and a good desktop/laptop, studio headphones, and monitors all provide you with a high-quality recording of your track. But how did we get to this point? We look at seven examples of digital software that made music available to the masses.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) combines hardware and the support of digital software. It connects a wide range of musical instruments, computers, and audio devices to edit, record, and sample music. The use of MIDI even influenced the Atari ST, which had built-in MIDI ports, making it the ideal companion for any computer musician.
MIDI is considered one of the most important formats in music inventions that shaped how we hear computer music today. The influence of MIDI was so great that it would be hard to imagine where computer music would have been today without it.
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) come as electronic devices or software apps. It’s an extension to a MIDI Controller as it allows you to arrange and rearrange tracks, add effects, record instruments and vocals, and play and edit your tracks. It enriches your experience as a computer musician, but it also makes arrangement, mixing, and production easier and faster.
Virtual Studio Technology
Before 1997, if you wanted to add any special effects to a track, you needed external hardware and equipment to make that possible. This would often lead to more expenses, time loss, and space usage that could have been used for something else. When Steinberg released their Virtual Studio Technology (VST), it became possible for developers and producers to process their music with plug-in effects. This technology became so popular that other companies started to incorporate their version of VST into their products.
Logic Pro has been a market leader for a long time now, especially if you’re an Apple user. It was considered a workstation that had bundled everything you could imagine and more. Its portability and features were very well received by musicians and producers and continue to grow its popularity.
Logic is a workstation with quicker learning and adaptability than its competitors and works as a powerhouse for those who stick to the application and use it for a long time. Even though it is an Apple-exclusive product, its fame and recognition grow along with the Mac.
Did you know that Auto-Tune was not intended to be used for vocals? That’s hard to imagine considering its influence on the wave of music released in the early 2010s. It was initially invented to interpret complex seismic data, but the technology could also analyze and modify pitches in audio files.
Auto-Tune comes as both a hardware and software piece. It takes whatever vocals you feed into a microphone and readjusts the pitch to the nearest semitone so that the audio does not sound false or off. It remains in the same key as the rest of the tune.
The way you use Auto-Tune is completely up to you. The alterations to the pitch can be as subtle as not being able to hear the difference, or the effect can be so blatantly obvious that anyone can realize effects were used to modify the vocals. Cher’s song ‘Believe’ released in 1998, is a clear example of how Auto-Tune was used in a song.
Ableton is a music software company established in 1999. They were one of the first commercially available software for everyone to use. Ableton Live uses a wide range of MIDI and USB controllers and physical and virtual instruments to allow you to compose, arrange, edit and record your music.
Since its release, users and developers quickly realized how capable music software was, and there is no one way of generating computer music. The software was completely revolutionary and is nowadays used by all types of musicians worldwide.
Garageband is another Apple-exclusive software that was developed in 2004. Before its inception, there was a huge wave of easy-to-use music software like Reason. Apple knew it had to developits software to keep up with its competitors and saw that possibility when it acquired Logic Pro in 2002.
Garageband is a stripped-down digital workstation that was easy to use, and the software was based on the intelligence already used in Logic Pro. It featured MIDI sequencing, audio recordings, and virtual instruments to develop your music. With every new release, more features are added, and the software can now perform even more complicated tasks, becoming as good as Logic Pro.
Almost every iMac or MacBook comes with a version of Garageband, whether you use it. In 2011, Apple released an iPhone and iPad version of the app, making portability and recording even easier for the masses.
Computer music has been around for the past 50 years, and with every year that passes, more and more advancements are made with the rapid growth of technology. The examples given above are only a few instances of how digital music shaped how we produce and listen to music.
The future of the digital music age lies with the creators and producers and how they want to take music production in the future. As time goes on, more music gets released and shared worldwide. Will we see a new wave in the advancement of computer music? Only time will tell.
Read More – Max Liron Bratman