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Old 2010-07-05, 00:48
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Is the significance of 'live' playing being eroded?

I've spent over 25 years working in the club/wedding circuit at weekends as a guitarist and have witnessed many changes over the years, but none as detremental to a live instrumentalist as pre-sequenced/pre-recorded backing tracks. I've witnessed more and more so-called club 'bands' miming all but the lead vocal...sometimes even that too!......and they are increasingly getting away with this - both from the audience and committee! - stomach churning stuff! It is increasingly extremely easy for a band to do this. My live background will never, thankfully, lead me to accept any band not playing completely live. While I appreciate the financial incentive to do so, I will never accept any front person/vocalist leaving a successfull, fully live set-up to go it alone just to make more money.....again, I've witnessed many great live club/wedding bands throughout the years having to disband because their main vocalist was greedy. This also applies to commercial 'popular acts' - the gradual decline over recent years in the visibility of musicians other than the main vocalist is quite damning for the industry.....and some people view this as progress/natural evolution! Additionally, many record companies do not allow a number of their singers to sing live - for obvious reasons - the SouthPark 'magic button' isn't currently up to the task (I'm sure Melodyne/AutoTune/ect will be, in time).
As such, I have a very mixed opinion about (ie abuse of) technologies that can lead to the reduction in the 'live' aspect of a concert/gig.

With this, you'd find it surprising if I said that innovative software such as Reason, Rewire (and Record!) are excellent creativity tools. I have never seen any other software that allows virtually anyone with even the most modest knowledge of music achieve so much - so easily. They are fantastic creative aids....allowing anyone to sketch a comprehensive idea very quickly.

However, I would not like to see them used repeatedly to the increasing exclusion of a real musician alternative - for the final commercial release. I do accept that financial pressures/competition is a real factor and thus this may be unavoidable. However, do we really want to live in a world where our children know the sounds of instruments such as drums, guitar, orchestra instruments, even....controversially...a synthesizer, but who could not identify any of them in a picture!

My views, of course, have been sculpted/pre-determined over many years as a live musician. What do others think? Can the apparent 'advantages' of increasingly sonically faithfull soundbank and loop libraries co-exist in the same place/world with their live counterparts? Can this happen without further degrading in the impact of the live musician? Do you think this is a good thing for the music industry in general?

Last edited by mboogie1; 2010-07-05 at 00:52.

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