For as much as we sometimes separate “scientific types” and “artistic types,” the fact of the matter is they’re closer related than you and they might think. While we tend to associate logic with science and technology, any great artist has to be able to create work with an internal logic. While we tend to think of creativity as belonging to artists alone, there’s plenty of creative thinking that goes into scientific and technological innovation. Art and science have influenced one another for centuries – and nowhere is that on greater display than in the world of music.
Inventing New Instruments
The most obvious way in which technology has shaped music is via the invention of new instruments. Think of all the great piano tracks and players you know, from Mozart, Beethoven, Robert and Clara Schumann, and Chopin to Ray Charles, John Lennon, Elton John, and Billy Joel. Now consider the fact that the piano wasn’t invented until the 1700s, and has been improved and tinkered with ever since.
No instrument is more integral to the development of rock and roll than the guitar – but electric guitars, like keyboard pianos, are just a few decades old.
None of that’s even counting the music mixing and autotuning technology, which, for better and for worse, have influenced the way singers’ voices sound on tracks.
By inventing new instruments, we invent a whole new means of expression.
Recording and Distribution Technology
Recording technology itself is something that was only invented in the late 19th century and really took off in the 20th century. That being said, there is a litany of different ways the recording industry has changed since the earliest studios. As technology has gotten better, sound quality has become clearer, deeper, crisper, and ultimately richer.
Let’s not forget the impact that was going from vinyl to CDs to iTunes and Spotify has had on the music industry and the way songs are made and distributed.
Music and technology share a symbiotic relationship, which, at its best, is harmonious as your favorite chorus.