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Music vs Technology Over The Years

Music vs Technology Over The Years

Update: 2023-11-152


In the mid-15th century, France was ruled by Louis XI, otherwise known as “Louis the Prudent”...but he was always known as “Louis the Cunning” and “The Universal Spider” because he was always spinning plots and looking for conspiracies...when it came to dissent and wars, he was a brutal sort...

Being a despot is hard work and sometimes you need cheering up...that’s why he challenged Abbe De Baigne, a builder of things, to create a brand new musical instrument for his amusement...

The result was the piganino, a keyboard that required a number of pigs of varying sizes...each was laid out on a flat surface, smallest to largest...above the hind end of each pig was a spike connected to a piano-like pressing a key, the corresponding pig would be spiked, resulting in an oink of a certain was thus possible to play a tune by poking the pig...

It didn’t sound very good, but it worked and Louis XI found it very funny...the pigs did not...

Music and technology have always had an interesting relationship...sometimes it’s harmonious and wonderfully...other times—like with the piganino—there’s a hideous clash... ...however, the piganino, invented 600 years ago, was the forerunner of future music-related technologies like sample, sequencing, and synthesis...the tech—or at least some of the concepts—would eventually win out...

If we step back and look at the history of science, math, and engineering and the practice of creating the art music, we’ll see that every time the two intersect, technology almost always comes out the winner...and that’s okay...

Something that seems radical, evil, transgressive, impure, and corrupting turns out to be a pretty good deal and music is the better for it...

Here are some stories about the clashes between tech and music...I’ll lay out the facts and you decide if these were good things or bad...

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Music vs Technology Over The Years

Music vs Technology Over The Years