Music’s Evolution Through Technology

Throughout the ages, technology has shaped the development of music. Classical composers tended to work around the limitations of the instruments of their day, embracing advances in instrument construction. Orchestral instruments have evolved greatly since the Renaissance and Baroque periods — violins have longer necks and bows, brass instruments are louder, woodwinds have better intonation, to name but a few.

In popular music, the Moog modular synthesiser was perhaps one of the biggest influences on music, and appeared on countless recordings from the 60s and 70s. Digital synthesis dominated the 80s, with synths such as the Yahama DX7 contributing greatly towards defining the sound of the era.

Nowadays, every instrument imaginable is available as a digital recreation, mostly as plugin instruments in DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations). But handheld devices have the ability to become musical instruments in their own right with the use of smartphone apps. A great example is GeoShred, which was developed by Dream Theater’s keyboard player, Jordan Rudess. He has even played it live on tour.

It is now easier than ever to design your own apps with development platforms such as aquro.com, which have all the tools you need to get your app all the way from concept to app store.

We have surely come a very long way since the early days of electronic instruments. Electronic music followed after the development of several early electronic instruments: the Telharmonium by Thaddeus Cahill in 1897, the Theremin by Leon Theremin in 1919, the Trautonium by Friedrich Trautwein in 1928, and the Hammond Organ and Novachord by Laurens Hammond in 1929. Along with analogue synthesis, these developments were a fertile playground for composers such as Messiaen, Stockhausen, Boulez, and Xenakis, to produce experimental avant garde music.

The development of electronic sound generation and sound recording in the 20th century generated a pivotal change in the way music is written. Not only did it give composers a larger sound palette to work with, it created new compositional techniques such as Musique Concrète, as well.