Saturday, July 01, 2006

Distributed Computing as a Next Step for Music

As we enter a dynamic, interactive age in which Internet connection speed will be blazingly fast and bandwidth will be more or less infinite, some new ways of thinking about the conventions of music making and music notation should emerge. One might regard the current level of thinking as embedded in print-oriented media or traditional recording studio configurations. The conventions also ignore the tremendous potential of collaboration or the power of teaching and learning music as an interactive, creative act.

Distributed computing essentially means that several servers are coordinated to achieve a common goal and the personal computer is a device for connecting to such servers. The music applications and the files produced exist on these remote servers. This means that I can connect and work on material from any location in the world that is linked to the Internet.

Such applications should empower the novice to be effective in making music, cutting through the traditional theoretical barriers so that beginners are faced with aesthetic decisions about the sound of the music early in the creative process. This may seem threatening to those who have invested many years in acquiring theoretical and music literacy skills, but it is a necessary stage that parallels other such developments where technology increases the accessibility of interested bystanders to become directly involved in the process of creating new artworks.


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