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Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Sound future for hi-tech music

LJ Rich demonstrates how easy it is to make music these days

There is no doubt that music and technology have been closely linked for decades.

The way artists make and record their music has been influenced by technology developments for a long time.

The first hardware which allowed musicians to manipulate instruments and sounds was big, bulky and expensive. The software was just expensive.

But in the 1980s entire orchestras and real world sounds started to be crammed into and reproduced by computers.

Samplers, sequencers and synthesisers were still exotic back then, and only best-selling recording artists could afford them.

By contrast, aspiring musicians today have access the kind of technology that was once the preserve of professional recording studios.

For instance, the entry-level GarageBand software which comes bundled with Apple Macs can perform a lot of the audio editing tasks that would once have required a studio.

Other music software applications such as Logic Pro and Cubase can also fulfil the needs of many professional musicians.

Hi-tech instruments

Professional musician Andrew Shravemade, who works for a software manufacturer, said artists are benefitting from the tech in other ways too.

BBC sound of 2009 winner Little Boots
BBC sound of 2009 winner Little Boots playing the Tenori-on

"It means you can do everything or a lot of things yourself," he said.

"So our work flow is reduced which means we can earn more money because we have got more time."

Alongside smarter software to help musicians will go big changes for musical instruments, he believes.

"We are constantly seeing new instruments," he said "For example, just the other day I saw a Yamaha Tenori-on which is just a series of buttons."

The gadget has been shown off by Little Boots - who topped the BBC's Sound of 2009 list.

Icelandic popstar Bjork has been using another hi-tech instrument called the Reactable in her performances.

It has a tabletop multi-touch interface that works by analysing movement on its surface and creating a variety of sounds.

But while these new instruments and software encourage experimentation, aspiring pop stars of the future will still need musical skill to back up their technical know-how.


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