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CNN Today

Much of Today's Music Made on Computers

Aired February 21, 2001 - 1:37 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: There's a musical revolution under way that's eliminating part of the creative process.

We have CNN's Garrick Utley looking into the making of music without musicians.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Music: How many ways do we hear and enjoy the magic created by people with instruments and talent?

And now there is this way of making music.

ZACH DANZIGER, MUSICIAN: So I've got my CD player here, and I'm just cuing up to the vocal passage. That's the passage I'm looking for.

UTLEY: Zach Danziger is one of the leading drummers of his generation, and now he spends most of his days and nights in front of his computer.

DANZIGER: I'm seeing that this particular sample, speedwise, is not really working for me. There are many ways to deal with this, and I'm going to deal with it in trying to pitch it up a little bit so that it gets spoken a little quicker.

UTLEY: As digital technology becomes cheaper, music making is moving out of expensive recording studios and into the home, into Zach Danziger's crowded living room. Today, like anyone else, he can buy CDs filled with musical notes, beats, words, and compose -- or program -- them into new music, music that no longer needs musicians.

DANZIGER: I know a lot of successful musicians who have made so much money who are all crying the same story a lot, like what happened to the work?

UTLEY (on camera): And that work has required, from earliest times, that those who have made music had to know how to compose it or perform it. But now this newest musical instrument, the computer, is challenging the very idea of music made by real people playing on real instruments in real time.

(voice-over): And what will happen to music if the years and dedication devoted to mastering an instrument become no longer necessary? Zach Danziger has had his performances recorded and manipulated by computer processing to a point where...

DANZIGER: I hear back stuff I've done, and I don't even recognize that I played it.

UTLEY: And as the music becomes less real, what happens to performance? A greater reliance on visual spectacle, to distract from the live music that isn't there.

DANZIGER: Maybe Britney Spears will give some performances on some shows, and like, there's a couple of guys onstage, but a lot of it's being run off of a computer.

UTLEY: What does Zach Danziger the music performer think of Zach Danziger the computer programmer?

DANZIGER: It's hard because you know that a lot of this is so contrived and so, like, let me manipulate this and microproduce everything: A lot of that magic, for lack of a better word, sometimes disappears.

UTLEY: But there is also something gained.

DANZIGER: These are instruments. They're just being approached from a different esthetic, a different head, you know.

UTLEY: And so the beat will go on, even if it comes from Zach Danziger's computer, rather than his drums.

Garrick Utley, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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