Is an ipad a musical instrument? What is a musician?

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  • As far as musicians go....or bands, regardless of what instrument they use...there are good ones and shitty ones (all this based on your own personal opinion, of course) but when a group of people tend to agree that someone is a great musician...if there are enough of them with the same view, then I would consider that person to be a good musician...than again, I don't like a lot of people that most people think are great! ....like the Rolling Stones, Led Zep, and the Beatles....(bracing myself for my ass-kicking now...I know it's coming). I know these guys all paved the way for what music is today and I'm greatful....I just can't stand listening to them...lol

  • Derek, I'm not going to bash you for it, but you do surprise me!

  • @Derek
    I tend to agree with the stones, Zep and the Beatles. They also stole their share of music, with the many lawsuits to prove it (zeppelin being the most blatant offenders).
    The magic of those groups is how they were pretty much the FIRST to use the combination of influences that made their music great. No one can go back and be the "first" at any of those genres anymore, and as time goes on and with everyone and their brother making music these days, the window of being "first" at any style is so small....
    (Prepare your flame throwers)--- on the same note, I never understood the fascination with Nirvana... If you were at all familiar with The Replacements or any competent punk rock band in the 80's, the Nirvana craze was baffling. I knew that they were going to be huge when a friend who was into hair metal demanded I listen to "teen spirit", announcing that it was like "funky metal, almost like rap"?!?!?!?!?!?!
    I suppose they were the "first" as far as over the top production on a national level while playing punkish music. I digress.

  • edited June 2013

    Anything that makes a sound can be a musical instrument. Anyone using anything in a musical way is a musician. End of discussion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=S1l5UFVPkgg

  • @derekbuddemeyer couldn't agree more about good and bad musicians regardless of what instrument they use. But personally I think I would rather listen/watch a group of musicians playing badly but passionately than a group of "musicians" pressing on their iPads and producing note perfect music/arrangements. To me, that lacks soul/passion somehow. I just think it will be interesting to see how all this develops. I mean why cart around a guitar, keyboard or bass to a gig when you can carry them all on the ipad.

  • @Jomodu one thing I'll never give up is my guitar. One thing I, as a musician, try and do is play passionately AND perfectly....I've got the passion thing down!

  • @DerekBuddemeyer your results agree.

  • @derekbuddemeyer don't you dare!!! I think your music has the ideal mix....absolutely brilliant.

  • The reason I like certain instrumental apps on the iPad is that they DO allow me to play with passion, albeit not always perfectly. :)

  • @DerekBuddemeyer You're one of the few guitarists I know who skipped past the "learning chords" stage and just went straight to playing awesome leads. Chords are just structures to help us out, and you didn't need the help :)

    @MrNezumi I agree - it seems wrong to call someone a guitarist if he can't play guitar. But it also seems unfair that I can strum basic chords on a guitar and be considered a guitarist, but someone else can strum chords equally well (with passion, expressivity etc) on guitarism and not be considered a guitarist. BTW I did consider the term "guitarismist" at one point - too unwieldy :) Perhaps "virtual guitarist".

    @PaulB Hear hear - e.g. the iFretless instruments are super-expressive, give them all the passion you can muster. Guitarism is more 'on rails' but has all the expressive techniques I use on a real acoustic (dynamics, muting, secondary chords, hammer-ons).

    @Jomodu I agree 100% that the expressivity and passion is the most important thing to preserve. But a lot of gear has become virtualized already. Amps, effects and mixers have all become software. Line6 Variax emulation makes a guitar sound like a dozen guitars. Electronic drum kits can sound like an acoustic kit. Piano keyboards can sound like a piano. All approximations of course, but convenience often trumps perfection. Jamstik could be revolutionary - why not just carry that and plug into a guitar synth? It'll take longer to actually replace physical hardware interfaces (piano / guitar) with glass-based apps, but that will eventually happen too as the apps (and glass) become more sophisticated.

  • @dubhausdisco, anyone mentioning Stravinsky, Varese or Zappa automatically has my attention! Anyway, back to the discussion...Duke Ellington said there are only two kinds of music, good or bad. With musicians, I think the same argument applies to a certain extent. Bad musicians are those who've lost their wonder and curiosity at what they're doing, have lost their awareness that the more we learn, the more we realise we have to learn. If that's a reasonable definition, the it's only fair to say that I go through long periods of being a bad musician. What's happening on ios instruments is inspiring me all over again, and I can see it's doing the same for many more musicians. And yes, the instrument is a secondary consideration. Clarinet, harp, piano, guitar, theremin, washboard...ipad, what's the difference? :)

  • edited June 2013

    sounds arranged to entertain = music

    Person manipulating those sounds = musician

    The scale of bad to good musician is (mostly)determined by number of listeners who are entertained

    1 listener(self) = bad musician. (Or good musician with no publicity)

    1.000.000 listeners = great musician ( or mediocre musician with great publicity)

    For me, it comes down to entertainment. If sounds made/altered/composed on an iPad can entertain, it's definitely music being made by a musician in my opinion.

  • I'll just leave this here.

  • edited July 2013

    Musician = One who makes music.

    Good Musician = One who makes good music. :-)

    There was a time when the harp was revolutionary.

    To me if a washboard can be considered an instrument (in bluegrass music) then certainly an iPad qualifies. But if someone plays samples of a guitar on an iPad I wouldn't call them a guitarist. Maybe an "iPaddler" or a "Sampler" or an "electronic musician." I don't know. But Thumbjam is not a guitar. A guitar is a guitar.

    For what it's worth, I play piano, drumkit, guitar, bass, trumpet and I sing. :-)

  • I started out singing in bands at 14 or 15..
    Sometimes I'd jump onto the drums or strum some simple chords..hum out a melody to the guitarist..
    Played some gigs downtown,we must've looked like kids but we could send a charge..
    Came back to music in my twenties,in another country,with a very different kind of mind..
    Got some cheap bongos,then djembe and some weird percussive things..started janmming all round town,pubs ,parties...with a mate playing acoustic or singing duet with a girl...tracing out and telling strange folk tales..singing different now because the beat and voice had merged..became pretty easy to jam with any sort of musician..the voice and the beat being most likely the first instruments..going back to the caves and the fire..
    We'd jam anything from dark Americana and blues,reggae,earthy almost electro music played with acoustic instruments..
    Played with a lot of different percussionists,big African beats and heavy layered chants..you get the jist..
    But I never studied scales ,chord progressions etc..so I still felt outside of the musicians club,even having played with a dozen bands in a couple different countries..added the cajon to my set up..
    Then the ipad..
    Now I can jam in a 6 piece with all sorts of apps,play djembe and sing big wild songs thru vio and improvox and the like..
    I also do a lot of looping now ,vocals,beats,synths,found sounds from nature,waterdrumming..
    I'm heading back to Peru to record some curanderos there(shamans).. And their sacred healing songs,called Icaros..are they musicians,those night guides of endless vocal subtlety?..
    Anyway,I make no claims..I just think it's amazing that I get to draw from ancient and futuristic instruments and mindsets..and it's only going to get more diverse and cooler as we go..
    When I get back from Peru,I plan on getting an rc505 loopstation..once I find and seduce a wealthy patron,of course..
    Music can lift you up to your finest and most thrilling self..can raise your consciousness..lead you towards the mysteries...
    I sometimes feel I avoided becoming a musician in the middle ground, to become something a little stranger..
    Much Love to the Community!
    James

  • @Jimmyinfinity "I avoided becoming a musician, to become something a little stranger" Quote Of The Day. Love it.

  • Re: if a guitarism player could be considered a guitarist...

    My instant reaction was 'well, no'. But then I started thinking about the heap of sand dilemma. If you have a heap of sand and define it as a heap of sand and take a single grain away, is it still a heap of sand? Of course, but what if you do it again and again? At some point, it becomes fuzzy. Similar to 'when is it no longer daytime?' There is a single brightest and darkest point of the day but you wouldn't say 2:00 isn't daytime if 12:00 was the brightest point.

    Certainly as someone grows proficient with guitarism, they are learning actual guitar playing techniques. Namely, strumming rhythms and chord switching. In the same vein of @rhism not feeling comfortable calling himself a guitarist while having tea with Jimmy Page, 'guitarist' encompasses a pretty wide spectrum of skills and skill levels. If you have a firm grasp on some of those skills, aren't you a guitarist? Could you say you're at 5pm on the daylight spectrum? I think it's fuzzy.

  • @syrupcore Yeah not as obvious as it initially seems. But I think based on current societal standards, a guitarist must be able to play a real guitar (any real guitar, not just a specific one) with a certain minimum level of proficiency and range. A bunch of my friends can play the opening bars to Nothing Else Matters or With Or Without You because it's easy and recognizable, but no one would consider them guitarists. OTOH I can play hundreds of songs just by strumming some chords well, so I'm a guitarist. A guitarism player strumming the same chords wouldn't qualify... today. But he could be considered an "iOS guitarist" or "virtual guitarist" or some similar qualifier.

    The only reason this is worth discussing is that the term "guitarist" has cultural cachet - 'cool factor'. If no one cared about guitarists, then no one would care whether a guitarism player is a guitarist or not. I loved @Jimmyinfinity's last line above - makes me think: why should a guitarism player aspire to be a guitarist? Why not something beyond that?

    Guitarism is currently a subset of a real guitar, so it rightly takes a lower role in the hierarchy of instruments. As it advances to the point where it's doing useful things that real guitars can't do, it starts to become taken more seriously. Triple Play was perhaps the first step like this - it was the first time my band wasn't just tolerating me playing guitarism vs a real guitar, they were actually asking for it, because it let me be much more than a guitarist. I'm pretty sure that 2 years from now there will be a guitar app (and I hope it's guitarism!) that lets you do way more stuff (which is useful) than a real guitar, and for certain types of songs it'd be not a subset of a guitar but a preferable substitute. In fact one could argue that this is true of iFretless Guitar today.

  • edited July 2013

    I know Rhism is kind of bold talking about his own Triple Play feature, but I have to agree that it does seem to make guitarism something more than just a virtual guitar, and perhaps better for certain uses than a guitar... Very interesting concept.

    So I agree, an iOS musician can be " more than" just an instrumentalist. But in any computer based program you can also lose the musicianship behind automated, sequenced, lifeless music. (...which some people prefer, but that's another topic)

    Personally, Animoog is the clearest proof that the iPad can really be a musical instrument used for performance of expressive music. Honestly. the debate is over when I open up Animoog. I feel like I'm learning to play a new instrument. The more time I spend playing around, the deeper it gets, nuances in key presses, glides, the vertical expression on the keys, assigning Mods to poly pressure, wow. I've deliberately stayed away from using MIDI sequencers because I really just want to be able to play it like an instrument. It's really rewarding.

  • Apologies if my guitarism references are a bit spammy! I talk about what I know, and the main apps I use as a musician are guitarism, ThumbJam and iFretless. Which is why I reference those apps frequently too, and did that Watchtower recording with those guys :)

  • Maybe the question should be...What is music?...

  • @rhism is spot on in my eyes in his response to @syrupcore and his reasoning can relate to any traditional musical instrument. Perhaps the key in future to being classed a musician is being able to play well, regardless of whether it is a traditional instrument or ios/virtual app.
    And as for what is music!!!!! Isn't it the same as art. Art is in the eyes of the beholder. So music is in the ears of the listener. Just as long as there is passion/thought or meaning in what is being produced.

  • Can 'spoken word' be considered music? If so, we desperately need an app for that!

  • I may not be a musician but I play one on the iPad.

  • Guitarism Thumbjam, ifretless, these are the trifecta of apps! The banjo of TJ with guitarism. Awesome! I say we just "shut up and play yer guitar ism" :) sorry bad joke.

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