The Digital Rock'n'Roll
Orchestra and Chorus

           

THE PHILOSOPHICAL DETAILS

The ultimate reason for any music is to be shared. If you wish to proceed directly to the webpage with samples of music performed by DR ROC click here.


As just stated, by its very nature, music is a shared human experience. And has been so since the first musical noises were uttered by and shared between humans. Music itself is nothing more than highly organized and structured noise based on the many levels of mathematics inherent in the notes of a musical scale.

And any shared experiences must neccesarily involve more than one individual.

First, of course, there has to be the source of the music – one or more musicians. And second there has to be an audience, even if that audience numbers only one. But that one must be someone other than the musician(s) to be an audience. Musicians perform whereas while the audience can be included in a performance in various ways, the primary role of the audience is to listen to the music being performed by the musicians.

(Note: In my opinion, playing music without an audience is called practice – a necessary activity that usually precedes public performance in order to avoid public embarrassment. It is sharing that music with an audience that actually allows that music to fulfill its purpose to be shared.)

And up until Thomas Edison invented the first sound recording technology some 100 years ago, it had always been that way. Music had to be performed (by one or more humans) in the presence of other humans for anyone to be able to enjoy the pleasure of sharing that (or any) music. That also meant that up to one hundred years ago, music was a transitory and temporary pleasure because it depended entirely on being in the physical presence of the musicians performing the music.

With the advent and advancement in sound recording technology over the past 100 years, the most essential element of music, that shared personal live experience and connection between performers and audience, has become lost as both the ability to create and listen to music are no longer dependent on any personal human interaction.

As both a musician and a member of the audience, Chaz definitely misses that interaction and exchange of energy at both ends. The feedback in both directions elevates that experience exponentially for both parties.

As an avid advocate for digital technology, Chaz definitely embraces the new avenues that technology provides for musical exploration. But Chaz also strongly advocates that any music created digitally still needs to be shared between humans in a live context for that music to fulfill its intended purpose.

In exactly the same manner that a live orchestra performs a piece of music written by someone other than a member of that orchestra, why cannot a computer perform a piece of music written by someone other than that computer? Of course it can, it is just that the computer lacks the physical presence of a live orchestra. To resolve that situation, Chaz advocates what he calls an “enhanced live” performance involving both digital and human participation and interaction.

Chaz believes that the best parts of both aspects – human and digital – can be successfully combined to create new opportunities to share music that has both of those elements in a live performance environment. Such a combination involves both playback of digitally recorded live human performances with all the nuances human performance entails - such as a lack of absolutely perfect rhythm – while at the same time providing that mathematical sense of perfect timing that is needed to allow those human performances to be imperfect against.

Software permits the computer to actually perform the drums and electric guitar parts in real-time, everything else is a human based performance digitally recorded or produced live by the computer. The computer also renders the vocal parts in real-time under Chaz's direction and guidance.

Chaz calls it “digital audio time-tripping”. You can hear Chaz playing the electric keyboard bass in one corner while at the same time you can hear him playing the Hammond organ across the room while at the same time you can hear him playing a number of other instruments in other locations in space - all in perfect sync with the computer playing all the percussion and vocal and electric guitar parts.

It appears that as advancements in digital technology allow more and more freedom and complete independence from human interaction in both the production of music and the manner in which that music is enjoyed, that the most important element of music – the connection between performer(s) and audience in a live performance environment – is losing its place on the podium, perhaps forever.

Chaz is not talking about stadium-sized events, Chaz is talking about the intimate personal connection that exists only at an intimate and personal level, not at any event that involves literally “armies” of participants. Yes, an exchange of energy does certainly happen at stadium-sized events, but the energy exchanged there is not the same energy exchanged when the musician and the audience have an eye-to-eye connection. That is the level of sharing that all music is created to facilitate and fulfill.

Do NOT get Chaz wrong – Chaz LOVES his headphones!! They are essential for certain tasks, such as mixing, but headphones/earbuds are no replacement for the experience Chaz has when his entire body is being bombarded by sound waves at high volume instead of just his eardrums. There is absolutely no way that headphones or earphones/buds can replicate the impact of “bass you can feel in your bones” – just not physically possible.

But all this digital technology, and the advantages it provides, are locked up and confined inside a computer in the form of what is called “digital audio workstation”, or DAW, software. Which means that to be able to actually share the experience of that digital audio workstation that workstation must be small enough to be portable while at the same time powerful enough to be able to perform live up to the same standards as are imposed on human performers – no glitches or pauses for buffering.

Chaz is holding that digital audio workstation in the laptop in his hands right now. And together with the wireless keyboard controller Chaz wears around his neck they are going to experiment with performing, and creating, some music together live. So make sure you come back to find out when and where these experiments will be happening in your neck of the woods.


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Chaz Williams
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