MusicWords Logo

Music Technology Pages

The Music Technology Pages were originally intended as a spillover forum for materials that were a little too esoteric or opinionated for the pages of Keyboard, the magazine where I used to work. Now that I'm a freelancer, I'd love to upload a bunch of pieces I've written recently for various magazines. Unfortunately, most magazines buy all rights, so I can't. Sorry.

All is not lost, however. For starters, I've uploaded Chapter 1 of Software Synthesizers, which was published in April 2003 by Backbeat Books. The book tanked, primarily because it was devoted to reprints of product reviews from the pages of Keyboard that were already out of date by the time the book reached the stores. Nonetheless, the first chapter, which was entirely new, has some continuing value. This excerpt provides clear (I hope) explanations of a number of things you'll need to know if you want to get started making music on your computer.

In addition, you'll find a few articles in this section that ended up not being published in magazines for one reason or another.

The first such item is a longish essay that I wrote in late 2000. It's about what's wrong with music technology. I originally wanted to call it "Technology Sucks," but my boss was nervous that people might get the wrong idea. I mean, I really do love technology, honest. The fact that I swear and get red in the face ... means nothing.

Instead I called the piece So, Does Technology Just Basically Suck, or What? I'm sure you can grasp the subtle but telling difference in nuance. Thanks to Peter Gorges of Wizoo for commissioning the essay. The opinions expressed are, I hasten to add, not Peter's but my own.

Another essay languishing on my hard drive was written in 2002 for a little magazine (now defunct) called Developer Market News. It wasn't even a music magazine; it was a 16-page free monthly newsletter for people who bought ads in computer magazines from CMP. For some reason (and I'm not complaining!), the editor thought a few CD reviews of electronic music would spice up his publication. The last piece I wrote for him, on the close relationships between music and mathematics, never appeared because DMN went bye-bye. The article was aimed at an audience of software developers, not musicians, but even if you're a musician, you may find that it's not totally devoid of interest. Here it is.

Eventually, if I ever run out of more intriguing things to do, a bigger chunk of the Music Technology Pages may be devoted to tutorials. The first one is on Just Intonation. More recently, I've written several tutorials for O'Reilly Digital Media, including pieces on:

Also available: An Ensemble file (click here) with which owners of Native Instruments Reaktor can experiment with alternate tunings.

Except where noted, all contents of are (c) 2006 Jim Aikin.
All rights reserved, including reprint and electronic distribution rights.