Before MIDI

As an electronic musician with more than a little grey in my beard, I remember the pre – MIDI days as well as the MIDI days, and the MIDI + digital days that came after.

Back in the old days, electronic instruments could not talk to each other (I remember several times when it was all that I could do to get them to talk to themselves). This was not seen as much of a loss; we didn’t know better, for one thing, and musicians were quite used to playing one instrument at a time as a rule.

So unless you stuck with one single company, or at best two or three that happened to recognize the same voltage specs, you were still playing one instrument at a time (okay, sometimes two… I’m no Rick Wakeman, but even I can handle a bassline with my left hand on one synth, and chords or melody with my right hand on another). That’s fine for studio work and most performances, so it wasn’t a big deal. Lack of patch memories and shaky tuning were a much bigger hassle, if I remember correctly!

However, a growing number of fellow experimenters saw the possibilities for both convenience and experimentation (not to mention increased opportunity for the control freaks and one – man bands, or anyone else who was a little tired of working with crazy drummers and contrary guitarists… and we won’t even get started talking about singers).

All said the era following the release of the MIDI was nothing less than astonishing. It really is a great tool that has been vital in the art of creating music for some of us. I enjoy getting together to jam as much as the next guy but when it comes right down to the creation of music, it is best left to more classical approach of working to create it yourself rather than the joint effort of creation with a group… As you can imagine creative differences would often present themselves at meetings such as these in the past. It was a very regular thing for one or more member of a creative group to feel that their influence should be weighed more heavily than others. This as you might imagine led to more than one confrontation leading to the eradication of the group all – together.

No, I feel that the creative work should be done separately and by one’s self as to be sure that your vision is properly expressed. If you are in the group collective you may add to the final outcome that is achieved but you are rarely able to reconcile it as your vision completely. This is my view at least…