Back around 1980, while in graduate school, my friend Mark Boenke and I connected the primitive General Instruments AY-8910 sound effects chip to a minicomputer. We wrote several generations of software that let us capture music notation on the computer and then have the chip play the notes. By today's standards, our setup was primitive in every aspect. Still, it was a lot of fun. We entered a number of traditional pieces and wrote some original compositions.
A few years later, new generations of music synthesizers started to be equipped with MIDI interfaces, allowing them to be played from an external source. On the computer side of the equation, windows-based graphical interfaces allowed the composer to directly manipulate notes on virtual sheet music. Most computers sold today come equipped with sound cards that include MIDI synthesizers. That puts music composition within the reach of most all computer users.
Music composition on the computer is an interesting medium because performance is decoupled from the music itself. One thing about a computer, it never makes mistakes, and is willing to play all day long. Today's synthesizers can produce a wide range of sounds, copying all traditional instruments, as well as creating many new sounds. All that matters is the composer's inspiration. If you can dream it, you can realize it.
A few years ago I picked up a Roland SC-88 synthesizer. It's a so-called General MIDI box with several hundred voices, as well as about a dozen drum kits. For software, I use the Cakewalk capture and sequencing program. After I had my first set of original compositions, I decided to call the collection Twisted Triads. This term dates back to graduate school, when we first experimented with computers and music.
The Twisted Triads music has been adapted for the typical music synthesizer found on today's personal computer, and can be played on your computer by following the next link.
Back to my Music Page
Last update: Monday, April 29, 2002 07:39 PM
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