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Re: Effect as crutch

At 09:40 AM 11/26/99 -0500, you wrote:
>At 03:11 AM 11/26/99 -0200, you wrote:
>>>technology must always be a servant to music and creativity, not the 
>>>way around.
>How could it be otherwise?  Not being a smartass here.  Please explain.
I think part of what Javier and others have been getting at is the danger
of being lazy and using "out of the box" presets (and/or patches, beats,
tired overused samples, second-hand ideas, etc.) rather than making the
effort to be a bit more original. While technology has obviously made many
great things possible musically, it has also made it very easy to be
mundane. Of course, this has always been true and doesn't apply only to
high-tech; it's always been up to the musician to make the best use of the
equipment on hand, and it's always been possible to run out and buy the
finest instrument in the world and still not bother to learn more than
three chords. It's just that lack of originality and poor musicianship can
be harder to hide on a more conventional instrument.

New tools (like the current bunch of "grooveboxes" out there, or the
swiss-army multi-fx boxes) make it easier than ever to sound competent, and
as such are a target for the backlash from schooled musicians who've worked
hard to hone their skills. But the very features which make it easier to
sound competent often make it more of a challenge to allow one's own
musical identity and ideas to show through and characterize the piece, and
every overplayed hit on the radio that fails this challenge adds weight to
the "technology equals lack of musicianship" stereotype.

It's a lot like the old arguments when sampling became popular: there's a
big difference between lifting a whole idea/line/motif to use in your piece
and using a sample in a new, creative way. Just because the Vanilla Ices
and MC Hammers of the world may have ripped off old Rick James or Queen
basslines or James Brown fills doesn't necessarily invalidate the whole
idea of sampling, but there's no getting around the fact that such things
invite criticism and leave those who want to use the technology in an
original and creative way to fight the flak flung by "purists".

So, in this light, music and creativity become a servant to technology and
effects a crutch when the amount of thought, effort and originality are
minimal. It's not the same as saying that the technology is inherently bad,
because we all know it's not, especially when we consider the gearlust most
of us on this list suffer from! We just have to be careful not to abuse it.