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Transforming Music: Tod Machover

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Aspen Ideas Festival 2009

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Previous FORAtv comments:
rraallvv Avatar
Posted: 03.20.13, 09:05 PM
I would recommend to make a serious editing out of it, or at least some audio normalizacion, BTW, very interesting stuff
bartonim Avatar
Posted: 12.19.10, 10:45 PM
I'm totally against messing with the Beatles!
Harold Parsley Jr Avatar
Harold Parsley Jr
Posted: 08.18.10, 09:14 AM
...and never argue with a french horn player. excellent response.
sirvedeus Avatar
Posted: 12.15.09, 06:22 AM
Rock Band and Guitar Hero are music junk food. They're easy to consume and fun, too. But without variety in your musical diet, you won't develop much.
harleyqmc Avatar
Posted: 08.25.09, 03:47 PM
is guitar hero ruining music? not if youre these guys : ..
Shawn Cartwright Avatar
Shawn Cartwright
Posted: 08.20.09, 11:39 AM
Addressing Some of Tod's Commentary on Rhythm Games Like Rock Band...
Tod, please take the following as constructive criticism, not an attack... Tod, some of your comments make it seem as though you've not actually played a rhythm game, like Rock Band, though you make some disparaging remarks about them. I would suggest that you play the game (Rock Band), then formulate your opinions on how it might be damaging "music" as a whole. Music is a visceral and instinctive thing for the Human Species (As well as other species). Rock band allows folks to tap into that and participate (Feel as though they are participating) in performing their favorite songs. If anything, rhythm games - rock band especially - has allowed a huge percentage of the population to easily experience aspects of performing musically, regardless of their training or skill level. I, personally, credit Rock Band with renewing my interest in playing music. I was in band in Junior High, High School, and College. I played the French Horn & Mellophone, but was always more interested in playing the drums, often playing with the drummers and on my best friend's drum set at home... 10+ years later, I played the Rock Band drums over at at my neighbor's home. Had a blast playing it, and I was impressed with how it made folks feel as though they were playing the drums. I have since purchased and played quite a bit of Rock Band 2, started taking drum lessons at a local music store, and bought my own drum kit. All of which I would have likely never done had it not been for Rock Band. Tod, most folks who play rock band realize that even though they can play the game well, they cannot play the real instruments. People understand this - Rock Band isn't fooling them into thinking they can play, but IT DOES give participants a feel for what it might be like to actually play the instruments or perform in front of an audience. I spoke with the owner of the local music shop. He and his employees had complained that these games would turn folks away from 'real' music - when the games were first introduced. After the games were out for a while, what they saw was more and more people coming into the store for equipment and lessons. These games that they were complaining about were actually inspiring more people to learn to play 'real' music. Some of the music instructor's credited these sorts of games for at least a 20~30% increase in business. Many of their students' directly crediting Guitar Hero or Rock Band for inspiring them to take lessons. The exact opposite of what you seem to be worried about in your lecture... What all you 'trained' musicians seem to forget is the first thing that attracted you to a life in music as a profession... That visceral emotional attraction to the first music that really moved you and inspired you. The experience that got you into music in the first place. These games, in some cases, are that 'first moving musical experience' for a whole new generation of kids. This feeling is what Rock Band deftly taps into and, in many cases, enhances. It allows people with no musical training or talent to get a taste of what it might feel like to know how to play an instrument, sing, and/or perform in front of an audience. Most species respond to music. You showed some footage of birds dancing to music. My dogs get frisky and playful when I'm practicing on my drum kit. They really seem to enjoy it, and I swear I've seen them change the tempo of their actions to be in alignment with the beat I'm pounding out on my kit. Music moves Humans and other species. Any product or technology that allows more folks to experience music is a good thing. Rock Band and games like it, have already proven to be a boon to the music industry, and in fact, these games are in the early stages of morphing the entire music industry. These games are creating entirely new and large music distribution channels via downloads. Rock Band is about to release a software package for folks to record their own music and make it available to others via Rock Band downloadable content. This is a game changer, Tod. This allows garage bands to gain a huge amount of exposure WITHOUT a 'record deal' through a 'label'. Here's the kicker, they get paid every time someone downloads their songs. Harmonix is enabling this. In a way, they become the record label, while cutting out the middle man and high costs of traditional distribution. All of this is in flight, Tod. You may even already be aware of it. However, you don't seem to acknowledge it in your lecture. You seem to claim that Rock Band and similar games are damaging music, but the new music instruments/interfaces that you and your team have developed for the disabled aren't doing the same thing? All these games really do is introduce new musical interfaces/instruments. Yes they are easier to use than the instruments they mimic. The same could be said of some of the instruments you show in your lecture. I'd argue the contrary. Rock Band may wind up doing more for music than anything that has come before it. Your projects are worthwhile, but they haven't reached the MILLIONS of folks (Young and old) that the games have. Please continue what you are doing, but don't be so judgmental of rhythm games. They're not the boogie men you think seem to think they are. In fact, they are rapidly improving the future of music in society. Anecdote: Someone hears Hendrix wail on the guitar. That inspires them to get a guitar and learn how to play. They go on to form their own successful band, or just have a lifelong appreciation of music. This is how it generally works. Rhythm games like Rock Band, seem to be one of many ways to reach and inspire more folks to learn. Try not to view it negatively just because it might not be your particular 'cup of tea' - musically speaking.
orge Avatar
Posted: 08.19.09, 02:09 PM
This is nothing but an advertisement for Mr. Machover's work. Some of his points about what music can do for the disabled was interesting, but I do not want to know about what YOU are doing....