"Beethoven's Dream Machine"
The Greatest Instrument Ever Invented & How To Be Creative With It
             by Dale Wozny
Chapter 2: Brief History Of Music

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Where did music come from? Is it a gift from God? How does it do what it does to us when we hear it? These are tough
questions open to speculation. I do know that it is essentially mathematical. Upon observing my guitar string, I realized that an octave is exactly one half the length of the string. An interval of an augmented fourth (which is the same thing as a diminished fifth, also called a tritone for it is three full tones or steps either up or down from the given note) is an exact division of the string once again. Also, a fourth up is a fifth down, and a fifth down gets you to the same note as going a fourth up. Same thing with 3rd's and 6th's and 2nd's and 9th's. It's simply ordered vibrations. The real magic is our emotional response to these organized vibrations. But it's something that we humans had to develop. God couldn't just say to us "Here have a saxophone" We had to invent it. Perhaps primitive man would have been frightened near to death by the very thunder of the William Tell Overture. Or imagine their complete confusion upon listening to John Coltrane's Giant Steps (I still get confused listening to that!) This is because he had to learn to appreciate music. I think it was Einstein who said Mother Nature does not reveal all of her secrets at once. She leaves some for each generation to uncover. How boring it would be if we had finally written the final piece of music and that every possible order of the only twelve notes we have, had been achieved and that's that. No more new music. Done. Finished. Not likely. Music is a tool. It is used an expression of culture. I believe it is to tell us what it was like to have lived in that time when it was created. It's aural history. Which brings to mind a funny little word play. Oral means to speak and aural means to listen. Go figure. That's the beauty of it all. Interpretation.

Music as we know it is comprised of three elemental components. These components are rhythm, melody and harmony. Period. You can't have harmony without melody, you can't have melody without rhythm, and you don't got music if you ain't got rhythm. I like to think of the invention of music in chronological terms.

  1. Ancient Cave Man beat on a drum
  2. Modern Cave Man beat on a drum and sang along
  3. Renaissance Man beat on a drum and invented the symphony orchestra
  4. Industrial Age Man invents recorded music
  5. Modern Man beat on several drums simultaneously and invents jazz harmony with chords and improvisation
  6. Futuristic Man invented the synthesizer
This is a bit preemptive, but it reflects my belief in the importance of the synthesizer. As a compositional tool, there has never been anything quite like it and as a composer I feel quite lucky to be alive during the advent of such a powerful creative tool.

Lately there has been a backlash against the synthesizer. Many think it too sterile-lacking the human "touch" that gives music it's magic. I will admit it can sometimes come off that way, however, it's a new instrument. Historically, the piano was not first accepted initially either. I say give the synthesizer a chance. It's young. Give it a couple centuries and a body of work to call it's own. Then judge. In the meantime, it certainly is a fun tool.


Part I. The Synthesizer
Chapter 1: Dream Machine?
Chapter 2: Brief History Of Music
Chapter 3: Brief History Of The Synthesizer
Chapter 4: Brief History Of Recorded Music
Part II. Creating
Chapter 5: A Brief History Of Creating
Chapter 6: Why
Chapter 7: When
Chapter 8: Where
Chapter 9: Who
Chapter 10: What
Part III. How
Chapter 11: How: Composing From Scratch
Part IV. Aaarghhh!
Chapter 12: Inspirations, Jump Starts
Part V. Directions
Chapter 13: The Logical Next Step

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