Recently, I completed a course called Introduction to Ableton Live taught by Erin Barra and offered at no cost by the massive open online course (MOOC) provider, Coursera. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the course because I had no familiarity with Ableton and assumed it was just another sequencer program. Boy, was I wrong.
Technique is a very specific definition pertaining to the ability to carry the task with predetermined results, given a certain amount of time, energy and resources. In music instrumentation and notation it is often up to the composer to indicate what techniques should be used for specific passages, and this is written into the score. Although there are a standard number of techniques, or articulations, used by players of certain instruments, there are nearly infinite realms of possibility for playing instruments in non-traditional configurations.
Music scores are a late development in the history of printing. It was 20 years after Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press that the first printed notation was created. As royalty supported music and composers for their own enjoyment and entertainment, the use of printed music was something that was usually suppressed. Most of the scores of written music prior to the 20th century were handwritten by the composer, along with each of the individual parts.
In 1984, when Will Harvey was 15 years old, he achieved fame for writing Music Construction Set, the first commercial sheet music processor for home computers. Music Construction Set was a prototype for much of today’s scorewriting software. As a powerful and novel concept for entertainment software, it was quickly ported from the original Apple II version to other popular platforms of the era, including the PC and the Commodore 64.