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Musician Part 5: Machining

I could have titled this blog: Rise of the machine. It would have been fun, we would have been in a Terminator kind of atmosphere, but I thought that “Machining” was first more accurate and second, in the spirit of the previous blog on this series.

What is machining, you might ask?

Well, for drummers, it is drum boxes and drum machines, for example. In a single digital program you have at your fingertip the capacity of a million dollars studio of the 90’s. There are so many ways to sample, to eq, to clean up or dirty up a sound, it boggles the mind. You have the potential of a million different drum parts in a little program. You can even add some “feel” to it and make it sound like a real drummer, one that sweats and swears. You can also record yourself and make music not only in a cheaper way, but with much less musical techniques and skills than ever before. Well, that last part I wrote, almost all producers would disagree. They want to have as clean of a take as possible, even if they will make you redo a fantastic take and then, in the editing process chose for the final mix the verse with take 3 that you played, and the chorus with take 14, and the bridge with take 62, and so on and so forth.

What is a take? It’s when you record. You press the button, you let the musician do the song she’s supposed to do, when she’s done you press stop: that’s one take.

For piano machining it’s even more daunting. If you have a few skills playing the keys, all of the sudden you are ready to make millions. Almost literally. What am I talking about? I’m talking about controllers.

A controller is a keyboard. It can have 88 keys. It is attached to a program on a computer. The program determine the sound you can have on the controller. Should you chose a violin sound on the program, you’ve just become a violin player. Because as you press the key of the controller, instead of having the sound of a piano, you get the sound of a violin. Want a saxophone? Drop down menu, pick saxophone, off you go! Oh! the fun, the days!

The keyboard players are the engineer of music. They are the first ones all the computer technology was design to appeal to. If you play a little piano and you own Garage Band, you’re on your way to become a star.

Now, these are the machines who are supposed to produce music. They are very important in the music industry right now. But there are other machines that are as important, and, sometimes, even more important: The smart phone, the tablet, the smart TV. YouTube is no joke in promoting your band. iTunes either, or Spotify. The fight is fierce to get people’s attention. These machine have some reviews, some critics, some comments, they can bite you, rise your business to the moon or kill it in an instant.

Be aware of the Rise of the machines (Ah! We’re back to Terminator)!

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