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Real Instruments

            A few years ago I was watching a documentary on music on PBS, the famous Jazz musician Wynton Marcellus said something on that program that got stuck in my mind like a piece of gum under a lunchroom table. Marcellus said: "Just because someone can throw a basketball into a hoop, doesn't mean they"re a good basketball player. And just because someone can have a computer program that plays trumpet over loops, doesn't mean they"re a good musician." This quote stuck with me because as a fellow musician myself, I know how hard it is to learn a real instrument. I have been through the nights of bleeding fingertips from practicing guitar so long that my skin peels off. I have felt the tears of anger and frustration stream down my cheek when I thought I would never learn a song. Oh yes, as a fellow musician I can surely identify with Mr. Marcellus when he says: "real instruments make real musicians." .
             Some artists like Moby, a famous electronica musician, incorporate both real instruments and computer programmed sounds to make a delicious mix of the two ingredients. Other groups like the Crystal Method from Los Angeles and Fatboy Slim from England, use only record players, Drum machines, computer beat samplers, and voice distorters. This makes for non-interesting, looped beats, over and over again, and terrible singing. I do not consider that music, but rather just noise. One of my favorite bands ever is a group that hails from Iceland called Sigur Ros. They make possibly the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Sigur Ros are trained classical musicians with a flare for rock "n" roll. They use mostly real instruments, but also like to dabble with samplers and drum machines. Bands like Sigur Ros and Moby add to their skills as musicians with computer programs, unlike the Crystal Method and Fatboy Slim who are confined by those very same programs.
             Musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Stevie Ray Vaughn would probably be praising God that they"re dead if they heard some of this electronica music today.

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