an independent musician

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Two friends

  This piece comprises a guitar and a violin. As it grows, a small orchestra of cellos, violas,a flute and french horns silently grows in the background but it is always the Two friends playing the guitar and violin that make this melodic discussion grow. The guitar and the violin have been "performed" with a Yamaha MODX6 and the background orchestral sounds are from Miroslav Philarmonic. I hope it brings into the listener's mind a memory of meeting again with a good old friend.

A big subject of discussion among musicians is whether synthesizers can achieve the same level of expressiveness as acoustic instruments. In the past (say 1970s) the question was whether synthesizers and electronic instruments could achieve any level of expressiveness at all. Of course, the pioneers of electronic music (e.g. Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre) knew the answer. This has now developed in a "competition" over expressiveness. The following opinion is my own subjective one and, practically, this is more a matter of personal perception rather than objective reality.

The guitar and the violin are two of the most expressive instruments; the violin is arguably the most expressive instrument on a per note basis. If there is one instrument that I regret not learning the most, it is the violin (I regret a lot more things I didn't learn but let's not get into that hole here!) 

The level of expression while playing the violin is unmatched. No other instrument allows the performer to connect with the instrument and modulate while playing the pitch, the timbre, vibrato, tremolo, legato/staccato, and so many other aspects of the sound that we lack the terminology to describe them. It is no accident that classical music has been dominated by the violin and its cousins.

In the past, the guitar and the woodwinds were considered far more expressive than electronic instruments even though they don't reach the level of the violin. Now this has changed. The piano was considered (and is) inferior in terms of expressiveness as the player only control the velocity on a per note level, although the richness of voices compensates for it making it one of the superb instruments (and my personal acoustic favourite). A harpsichord was the most inferior lacking even velocity control. The 19th century joke among musicians was that "the harpsichord is a wonderful instrument - it makes a brilliant fire when it is being burnt in the fireplace in the cold days of the winter" (I personally hate this "joke").

Fast forward to the last decade. The level of control, modulation and expression from electronic synthesizers has progressed so much that challenges even that of the violin. Some could argue that this challenge predates the last decade since the creation of a sound allows for expressive control of every aspect before performing; i.e. timbre, pitch, amplitude and filter envelope, effects at post-processing, and so much that would take a thousand books to cover half of them. There is no doubt any more that, if we include pre- and post-processing of the sound/melody within a digital workstation environment, the level of control of electronic musicians, in theory, is superior to that of a violin. However, the violin retains an edge, in terms of expression, while playing. And despite the incredible technical efforts of the last decade (see osmose, seaboard, touch√© as prime examples) to improve the expressiveness while performing for which, as a musician, I am extremely grateful, I'd argue that the violin remains the king.