Live music can never be replaced

Hi Pliable, Thanks for the article about our NOTION software. It's an interesting article and a point of view that VirtuosoWorks (makers of NOTION) are aware of.

If I may talk a little about the flip side of this point of view, which by the way is not a new one; drummers thought the drum machine would be the end of live drummers, movie theaters thought VCRs (and later DVDs) would be the end of going to the movies, and musical instrument manufacturers thought software would be the end of their business. In fact, all of these areas are healthy and in the case of musical instruments, growing.

The bottom line is that listening to and playing live music is an experience that can never be replaced; and the goal of
NOTION certainly is not to try take jobs from musicians. It is a composition, learning, and accompaniment tool to substitute for a live orchestra when one is not possible.

The creator of
NOTION and founder of the VirtuosoWorks, Dr. Jack Jarrett, comes from the world of classical music and academics and sensed an opportunity to give composers the orchestral experience while composing, and to give performance venues the opportunity to add any number of live musicians back into performances where there were none before.

By composing in
NOTION, music students, classical composers, TV/film composers etc, get instant feedback as to what their composition would sound like with one of the world's top orchestras. It helps them learn and hone their craft as well as deliver life like mock-ups to teachers or directors, use as a practice tool, or accompany live performances.

The NTEMPO real-time performance feature lets a musician play or conduct
NOTION to play along with other musicians or live performances. This may sound like taking jobs aways from musicians, but consider that many theater, dance, and ballet productions have been hit by budget decreases over the past years and must invest first into dancers, actors, sets, etc. In addition, smaller theaters have space constraints in fitting in large numbers of musicians. Many of these performances have resigned their music accompaniment to CD playback - the worst all all scenarios. No musicians and no flexibility in performance.

Notion, a performance can add a soloist, 4, 6, 12, 20 or however many live musicians they can afford and fill in the rest with NOTION, giving the performance more life. This is actually being done with the Greensboro Ballet who once relied upon CD due to budget cuts and now employ several musicians and NOTION, giving them more flexibility and life in their performances. Also, schools are using this feature to teach and accompany soloists where in the past a CD was used. Notion is a bridge back to musicianship and live music in these scenarios once lost to CD playback.

It's natural for musicians to be paranoid about losing work to technology. The reality of economics, space, and other factors sometimes prohibit the ideal situation. However, technology is not the cause, and should be embraced as a means to foster creativity and creating opportunities for musicians by adding flexibility to otherwise inflexible situations.

Thanks and feel free to post this,
Brian McConnon


Pliable said…
NOTION has its own blog, follow this link.
Anonymous said…

I think you missed his point - Using this software would be more "musical" than a CD, which is all too common. Having live musicians play with Notion is better than none at all.

I don't think he's saying Notion would add more "life" than real perfromers, but is a suitable alternative when they are not feasable.

In these economic times, I don't think it's realistic for productions where the central focus is not music - dance, theater, film - to always employ an entire orchestra.
Anonymous said…
Economics is part of life. This looks like a "glass half empty, glass half full" debate and whether one chooses to fight against technology, or embrace it and use it to one's advantage.

To Mr. McConnon's point that NOTION allows musicians to be added back into a performance that once relied entirely upon CD playback; they seem to be the only company I know of that has actually documented several cases of this happening (see their website). Bravo!

Add to this the opportunity for music students and professional composers to compose with an instant, realistic-sounding orchestral mock-up and this technology does far more good that harm.

The rest is typical "doom and gloom" of the purists as far as I can see.

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