The Computerized Composer

I often hear how creating music on a computer means that it is somehow fake.

When Amadeus Mozart imagined a piece of music and wrote it down on paper; was it fake? Following the logic, it was fake until a group of musicians performed it. To believe this logic is to dismiss entirely the creative work of the composer. The paper invited everyone into the imagination of the composer so that the music could be performed and reproduced by anyone. The computer is just today’s paper. It still takes a human mind and a human heart to create the music. It’s not magic and the computer does not make any decisions about the music. The composer does.

The only difference today is that the computer creates an audible version of the, once written, score and this audible version becomes the promotional material for the imagination to be heard and the possibility for live performances of the work to later be created. The computer allows everyone to enter the composers imagination and listen to their heart and mind.

The part must be imagined before it can be performed.

Naturally in a live music setting no one wants to sit and watch a computer playback the music, you want to see musicians performing. It would be the same as Mozart just setting the sheet music on a stand and charging admission for people to walk in and read it. Live music absolutely requires live musicians but from a composition perspective, having composed the music first on a computer puts everyone on the same page. It’s called planning and pre-production and it’s the difference between composition and improvisation. To sit down and write a part for a violin with an emulated sample of a violin is not cheating, it’s just an efficient use of time. Many times these emulated parts will be replaced by actual musicians on the recording but it’s not always necessary. This is just another decision the composer and the producer of the music must make in determining whether the production and performance has the desired effect.

To call music that is created on a computer fake is to call the imagination of the composer fake.

Creativity should be wide open and not determined by opinions of what is real or not. If a tool inspires creativity; use it.