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The Rise of Computer Music

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The Rise of Computer Music

Computer music has slowly progressed into a technology used by people all over the world. 100 years ago, there was no such thing as computer generated sound or music. All music was played and developed by musical instruments. The 1960's proved to be the beginning of computer music when the first real music program was written by Max Matthews. It proved to be a start for eventual research into the computer music field. Research institutions as well as university programs (USC) were created for students who wanted to study computer music. As of today, computer music technology is used everywhere. It is used on T.V, radio, music tracks and many other types of media. The history combined with all the research done by people has developed computer music into an industry. All these innovations have created additional interest in the minds of people to expand on the topic of computer music even further and develop an even more profound technology than we have today.

100 years ago, computer music did not exist. Computer music has now developed from a little known technology to a world wide phenomenon. The first real music program was created by Max Matthews in 1957 which was called MUSIC. It could play several tones and single line tunes. In 1960, MUSIC3 introduced the concept of the unit generator, a sub program that would create a specific kind of sound and only needed a few numbers from the composer. Later versions of MUSIC made sound developing more efficient and real composers started composing and creating serious works on this program. Another program developed by Max Matthews was called GROOVE. It would record a musician's actions as he played a synthesizer with a variety of controls. After this recording was made, the action list could be edited and played on the synthesizer again. Matthews innovations led to the eventual creation of the Kyma system by Symbolic Sound. It was the first actual music system that was put out in the market for people to purchase. It was based on a very powerful DSP unit (the Capybara) attached to a host computer running Kyma software. The program is basically an instrument designer that allows the composer to configure the Capybara for any kind of synthesis of processing. This system was used as a template for future music programs. In turn, the history of computer music shows us that, when an idea gains some interest, more and more people start pursuing which results in a very rapid innovation of that idea.

The rapid innovation of computer music is the product of hard work by research institutions. In the 1960's when the first computer music programs were created, computer music research institutions were developed to research and study computer music. An example of one of these institutions is the International Computer Music Association. This association is a group of individuals that are involved in the technical, creative and performance aspects of computer music. The ICMA serves all researchers, composers, and developers in the field of computer music. Since its inception in 1979, ICMA has provided a central base of info for the computer music community. They publish their own newsletter online called the ARRAY as well as many other publications relating to the ICMA such as directories. In response to the ICMA and the breakthrough of computer music. High profile universities such as the University of Oregon and California began implementing computer music courses into their course selection. They felt that because of the rapid growth of the computer music industry, young students would be interested in exploring this field of technology. More universities

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