The Long and Winding Road (That Leads to the DAW)

Category: Education

Presentation Description

This lesson plan was developed by Richard McCready M.M. and Joseph Pisano Ph.D. for distribution in conjunction with the National Association for Music Educators’ (NAfME) Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM) that happens every March. The presentation details the history and evolution of modern music technology and ends with discussion about today's Digital Audio Workstaions (DAWs). All of the materials for this presentation may be found at • -


Presentation Transcript

A Brief History Of Significant Electronic Music Hardware Development & Its Evolution To The Present Day:

A Brief History Of Significant Electronic Music Hardware Development & Its Evolution To The Present Day Richard A. McCready M.M. Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. The Long and Winding Road (That Leads To The DAW )


Foreword “As for the future of electronic music, it seems quite obvious to me that its unique resources guarantee its use, because it has shifted the boundaries of music away from the limitations of the acoustical instrument, of the performer's coordinating capabilities, to the almost infinite limitations of the electronic instrument. The new limitations are the human ones of perception.“ ~ Milton Babbitt © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Presentation Background:

Presentation Background This presentation has been created by Joseph Pisano and Richard McCready specifically to celebrate electronic music and to be used as an a dvocacy tool in conjunction with the National Association for Music Education’s ( NAfME ) * Music In Our Schools Month initiative (March of every year). This presentation provides the viewer a succinct history of the achievements in electronic music and recording, outlines some of the significant technological advances that predicated today’s Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), and serves as a reminder about how all types of music are important and appropriate for studying and performing within our schools and communities. The presentation utilizes open-source resources and is licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0 No-Derivatives License. Please feel free to share this presentation and utilize it. Additional teaching resources related to this lesson/presentation may be found at presentation’s homepage at MusTech.Net : . *Help celebrate NAfME’s Music In Our Schools Month 3 © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

What is a DAW?:

What is a DAW? 4 Today’s Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software platforms allow anyone to have complete studio production capabilities, literally, almost anywhere. With a DAW setup such as Pro Tools , users can record, mix and master multi-track audio… Photo Credit: 2012 Richard McCready © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

PowerPoint Presentation:

5 … record and edit MIDI data using virtual instruments, sequencers , and MIDI editors… Photo Credit: 2012 Richard McCready © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

PowerPoint Presentation:

6 … and can use classic historic synthesizers and studio gear without having to hunt down, purchase, and maintain the original physical devices. Photo Credit: 2012 Richard McCready © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

PowerPoint Presentation:

7 But all of this magic didn’t just happen overnight….. This presentation will detail some of the important historical events that led to the development of modern Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software. …Explore and see many varied and wonderful devices … Click on the YouTube log or the associated links to see and hear YouTube videos of these devices and the inventions being demonstrated … Scan the QR codes or click on the Wikipedia symbol to get more information from Wikipedia … Enjoy the Long and Winding Road (that leads to the DAW)! Teachers : be sure to check out the auxiliary classroom materials at http :// © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Pipe Organ:

Pipe Organ Origins can be traced back to the 3 rd Century BCE with the creation of the Hydraulis or “water organ ” Mozart called it the “King of Instruments ” Pistons and stops enable the organist to engage and layer hundreds of timbres Keyboards and pedals can be coupled so notes played on one keyboard will also be played on another All pipes operate by wind – before electricity, this air was provided by foot bellows; today most organs have electric blowers Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons Clip: J.S. Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D Minor The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air (called wind) through pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each organ pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass. Most organs have multiple ranks of pipes of differing timbre, pitch and loudness that the player can employ singly or in combination through the use of controls called stops… © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Player Piano (Pianola):

Player Piano ( Pianola ) Very popular mechanical instrument in late 19 th and early 20 th centuries Notes were punched into rotating roll of paper, and could be played back on any model player piano During the 1920’s almost every other piano being made was a “player piano ” Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons A player piano (also known as pianola or autopiano ) is a self-playing piano, containing a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano action via pre-programmed music perforated paper, or in rare instances, metallic rolls. The rise of the player piano grew with the rise of the mass-produced piano for the home in the late 19th and early 20th century.Sales peaked in 1924, as the improvement in phonograph recordings due to electrical recording methods developed in the mid-1920s… Clip: Sid ewal ks of New York – Player Piano with Words Piano rolls allowed music to “travel” and be heard, and was therefore an early method of distributing recorded music Because of player pianos, we are able to hear performances of distinguished pianists such as Gershwin and Rachmaninov who were “recorded” on piano rolls © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Edison’s Phonograph:

Edison’s Phonograph Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons The phonograph, record player, or gramophone is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing (playing) sound recordings; although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds. The recordings played on such a device generally consist of wavy lines that are either scratched, engraved, or grooved onto a rotating cylinder or disc. As the cylinder or disc rotates, a stylus or needle traces the wavy lines and vibrates to reproduce the recorded sound waves... Introduced in 1877 and invented by the famous American inventor Thomas Alva Edison Edison’s invention recorded music on to tinfoil sheet cylinders Although Edison’s phonograph was the first patented device used for reproducing a recorded medium it did not become the most popular during the first decade of these type of devices The “gramophone” used records instead of cylinders. Because these were easily “stamped” in production, they became more popular than the phonograph due to the ability to mass produce the recorded media Clip: Edison Cylinder Phonograph Playing “Listen To The Mocking Bird” © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

The Telharmonium :

The Telharmonium Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons Invented By Thaddeus Cahill, whose grand idea was to “stream” music into hotels, restaurants, and theatres via telephone line The Telharmonium (also known as the Dynamophone) was an early electronic musical instrument, developed by Thaddeus Cahill in 1897. The electrical signal from the Telharmonium was transmitted over wires; it was heard on the receiving end by means of 'horn' speakers. Like the later Hammond organ, the Telharmonium used tonewheels to generate musical sounds as electrical signals by additive synthesis… The Telharmonium weighed 200 Tons It cost over $200,000 US dollars to complete in 1897 Output was connected to a phone via a loudspeaker – you dialed in to listen to it via a telephone call Harmonics could be added by “tone-wheels” and organ-like stops that could create different pitches and timbres Clip: Telharmonium – Magic Music © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Theremin :

Theremin The Theremin is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without discernible physical contact from the player. It is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928. The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player's hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other, so it can be played without being touched… Invented by Russian immigrant Professor Leon Theremin (Lev Termen ); US Patent, 1928 It is usually considered the first truly “electronic” music instrument It is controlled by changing the distance of the hands from the two antennas - one antenna for pitch and one for volume Vibrato could be achieved by rapidly changing the distance of the hands from either antenna (pitch vibrato or volume vibrato ) Heard in many early sci-fi soundtracks – The Day the Earth Stood Still, Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, and also used by The Beach Boys in their song Good Vibrations Kits and pre-constructed Theremins may still be bought today Clip: Leon Theremin playing his own instrument Clip: Clara Rockmore Plays “The Swan” Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Ondes Martenot:

Ondes Martenot The Ondes Martenot also known as the ondium Martenot , Martenot and ondes musicales, is an early electronic musical instrument invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot . The original design was similar in sound to the Theremin. The sonic capabilities of the instrument were later expanded by the addition of timbral controls and switchable loudspeakers… Created by inventor Maurice Martenot Introduced at the Paris Opéra in 1927; production continued until 1988 Used a sine wave oscillator (an electronic chip used to produce various pitches via oscillation of sound pressure) Could be played in step pitches or portamento mode (like the Theremin ) Player used a ring on the right hand to dictate pitch, while the left hand controlled frequency -a keyboard was incorporated later Employed by Olivier Messaien in the score for his “ Turangalîla-Symphonie ” Used in many films and also in commercials and advertisements (notably as the Maxwell House Coffee Musical Logo ) Clip: Jean Laurendeau And The Ondes Martenot Clip: Ondes Martenot Et Theremin Music Instrumentist (in French, not sub-titled) Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Les Paul, Multi-Track & More!:

Les Paul, Multi-Track & More! Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009)—known as Les Paul—was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multi-track recording were among the first to attract widespread attention… In 1948, Capitol Records released Les Paul’s “Lover” and “Brazil” recordings -the crazy tempo and seemingly blazing speeds of the background tracks were the world’s first glimpse of the far-reaching implications for using multi-track recording techniques in the music industry Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford were one of the most popular duos of the 1950s -in 1951 alone, they sold over 6,000,000 records Les Paul added a second record head to an Ampex tape machine to create the process known as “sound-on-sound” recording He used stacked Ampex tape machines and synced them together to form the first applicable usage of multi-track recording He developed new designs for electric guitars; most well-known is the solid body guitar design, marketed by Gibson Guitars and still used by many guitarists today Clip : Les Paul & Mary Ford demonstrate the sound on sound technique © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Tom Dowd:

Tom Dowd First engineer to record exclusively in 8-track Gave up a successful career as a Nuclear Physicist to record music Perfected the art of true stereo recording, where each instrument is heard in the appropriate vertical space in a mix Helped to standardize the bass-line preeminence found in modern recordings Invented vertical faders for mixing boards, making multi-track mixing and recording much easier in the studio - all modern mixing boards are based on Tom Dowd’s design He produced more chart hits than Phil Spector and Sir George Martin combined Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons Clip: Tom Dowd Interview Tom Dowd (October 20, 1925 – October 27, 2002) was an American recording engineer and producer for Atlantic Records. He was credited with innovating the multi-track recording method. Dowd worked on a virtual "who's who" of recordings that encompassed blues, jazz, pop, rock and soul records… © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready


Mellotron The world’s first true sampler keyboard The Mellotron was a British copy of the Chamberlin, invented by American Robert Chamberlin The Chamberlin was intended for recreating the sounds of the orchestra in a home setting The Mellotron was used by The Beatles in many songs from 1966 on, most notably in Tomorrow Never Knows and Strawberry Fields Forever Immensely popular with progressive R ock bands such as Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant Depressing the keys triggers tape heads to play pre-recorded tapes of musical sounds Each tape strip was limited to eight seconds Later models allowed quicker swapping of the tape strips for added flexibility and selection Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s. It superseded the Chamberlin, which was the world's first sample-playback keyboard... CLIP: Inside A Mellotron © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Fender Rhodes:

Fender Rhodes The Fender Rhodes originally had 32 keys, then expanded to 73 Continued to evolve and in 1972 was manufactured with 88 keys, the exact same range as a mechanical grand or upright piano One of the first successful Stage Pianos - used extensively in the 1970s, especially in jazz performance The Fender Rhodes can be heard on many classic recordings by Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea , and Steely Dan The “Rhodes” classic e-piano/bell-like sound is replicated by almost every synth built today and can often be found in virtual versions in modern DAWs The Rhodes piano is an electro-mechanical piano, invented by Harold Rhodes during the 1950s and later manufactured in a number of models, first in collaboration with Fender and after 1965 by CBS. As a member of the electrophone sub-group of percussion instruments, it employs a piano-like keyboard with hammers that hit small metal tines, amplified by electromagnetic pickups… Clip: Fender Rhodes Story- Chick Corea Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Dr. Robert Moog – Analog Synthesizers:

Dr. Robert Moog – Analog Synthesizers Robert Arthur Moog, commonly called Bob Moog (May 23, 1934 – August 21, 2005) was an American pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer (analog)… Between 1964 and 1968, Dr. Robert Moog invented the concept of analog synthesis Almost every Rock group in the late 1960s and 1970s were using an analog synth made by Bob Moog The music industry was introduced to “analog synthesizers” via demonstrations of the Moog synthesizer at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 The first Moog synths available to the public were made in an assembly line process, had over 1 mile of “hook-up” wiring and were priced between $3,000 and $7,000 dollars each In 1970 Moog developed the first truly “portable” synthesizer aptly named the “ Minimoog ”; by 1973 he had sold over 3,500 units Clip: Brief History Of The Minimoog Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Analog Synthesis:

Analog Synthesis All analog synths are based on the design work of Bob Moog Analog synths use valves or integrated circuits along with an amplifier and an input device (usually a keyboard) An analog or analogue synthesizer (or analog synth) is a synthesizer that used analog circuits to generate sound electronically… Clip: Third Encounter of a Close Kind? The ARP 2500 Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons Sound is synthesized using two or three banks of oscillators, with filters, envelope generators, ring modulators, and low-frequency oscillators to shape the sound Important analog synthesizers include the Minimoog , ARP 2500 (pictured), and the Oberheim 4-voice and 8-voice models The ARP 2500 is familiar to many listeners due to its use in the score to the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Digital Synthesis:

Digital Synthesis A digital synthesizer is a synthesizer that uses digital signal processing (DSP) techniques to make musical sounds. .. Clip: Synclavier II Demonstration Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons First became available in the late 1970s, with prices around $20,000! Digital synths use hard-wired digital circuitry to create sound, with sound shaping via digital signal processing techniques Many digital synths retain the analog model of oscillators, filters, envelopes etc ., but in the digital domain Important digital synths include the Yamaha DX-7, the Roland D-50, the Prophet 5, the Synclavier (pictured), the Fairlight , and the Korg M1 © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready


Sequencers A music sequencer (or simply sequencer) is a device or application software that can record, edit, or play back music, by handling note and performance information in several forms… Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons Clip: Roland MC-8 Sequencer Demonstration The first Analog Sequencers used rows of voltage-controlled potentiometers triggered in “sequence” by an automated clock Synthesizer manufacturers such as Yamaha, Korg and Moog often included separate sequencer modules in their synth designs. German bands Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream made considerable use of sequencers in their albums Most popular Drum Machines such as the Alesis SR-16 and the Roland TR-808 are really digital sequencers which specialize in the layering and shaping of percussion sounds © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready


MIDI MIDI is a protocol created in the early 1980s, for transfer of information between synthesizers made by different manufacturers Using MIDI, a keyboard player on stage could control any keyboard from another one, so that the sounds in a Yamaha synth could be played via a Korg or Roland keyboard or vice versa (almost like the different manuals of a pipe organ) MIDI was so perfect in its conception that we are still using MIDI 1.0 today Clip: What is MIDI? MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is an industry specification for encoding, storing, synchronizing, and transmitting the musical performance and control data of electronic musical instruments (synthesizers, drum machines, computers) and other electronic equipment… Photo credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons MIDI data travels through a 5-pin cable. In its original design, pins 1 and 3 were included for future development, but are still not actually used in MIDI data transfer MIDI information consists of note on, note off, velocity, and control change data. Graphic representation of MIDI data bears an uncanny resemblance to player piano rolls The development of MIDI has led to alternate controllers such as drum pads, MIDI guitars , and Electronic Wind Instruments (EWI ) © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

The Digital Audio Workstation (DAW):

The Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic system designed solely or primarily for recording, editing and playing back digital audio. DAW’s were originally tape-less, microprocessor-based systems such as the Synclavier and Fairlight CMI. Modern DAWs are software running on computers with audio interface hardware… Photo Credit: 2012 Wikipedia Commons Sonic Foundry’s Acid (1998) was the first program to allow the ability to stretch audio in time without affecting pitch and vice versa, making loop-based recording easy Apple has included GarageBand , a simplified version of Logic, on all computers sold since 1994 Modern DAWs include Pro Tools, Logic, SONAR, Digital Performer, Cubase, Reason, Fruity Loops, and Ableton Live DAWs began to be developed as apps for the iPad and other tablet devices in 2011 Clip: GarageBand for iPad 2 demo by Apple DAW software developed from firmware programs included on high-end digital synth/sequencers In the early 1990s, computer programs such as WinJammer allowed users to program in MIDI on their home PCs Digidesign brought computer sequencing to the professional recording studio with Pro Tools, which includes the ability to record multiple tracks on the computer © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Softsynths and Plug-ins:

Softsynths and Plug-ins Softsynths originally emulated classic synths, allowing computer users to add retro synth sounds into their DAW compositions Propellerhead’s Reason software (pictured) includes an entire rack of virtual synths and sequencers Softsynths can be instantiated as plug-ins in any DAW. Current formats are VST (Steinberg), AU (Apple) and RTAS ( Digidesign ). Today plug-ins also include emulations of classic studio gear such as compressors and EQs Modern artists such as Deadmau5 and Skrillex compose exclusively in softsynths such as Massive or Razor, both by Native Instruments Softsynths and Plug-ins allow modern artists and listeners to appreciate classic analog and digital sounds and effects that are no longer manufactured Plug-in versions of virtually all classic Electronic instruments (including Mellotrons and Theremins) are available today A software synthesizer, also known as a softsynth is a computer program or plug-in for digital audio workstations. Computer software which can create sounds or music is not new, but advances in processing speed are allowing softsynths to accomplish the same tasks that previously required dedicated hardware. Softsynths are usually cheaper and more portable than dedicated hardware, and easier to interface with other music software such as music sequencers… Photo Credit: 2012 Richard McCready Clip: Meet the Propellerheads © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

Selected References & Resources:

Selected References & Resources Related Project Websites: - Project Home http :// - Project YouTube Videos Joseph Pisano’s Websites: Twitter: @pisanojm Richard McCready’s Websites: Twitter: @ richardmccready Related Informational Websites: http:// http :// http :// / Related DVDs/Videos: Imogen Heap: Everything In-Between – DVD Les Paul: Chasing Sound - DVD Mellodrama : The Mellotron Movie - DVD Moog – DVD Ohm: The Early Pioneers of Electronic Music - 3CD and DVD set Theremin : An Electronic Odyssey – DVD Tom Dowd and the Language of Music - DVD © 2012 Joseph Pisano & Richard McCready

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