Digitize Music with Electronic Musical Instruments

Music evokes a special feeling and a sense of connection in human beings. It brings forth a variety of feelings and helps express human emotions in a unique way. It could be a cheerful number that brings joy to you, a melancholic note that stirs up sadness in you, an eerie tone that draws you to a mystery or a beautiful melody that has a calming effect and brings you happiness.

Music transcends language and transports us to a different world. When you are distracted and unable to focus on your tasks at hand, playing some soft music can relax your mind and help your brain to concentrate. If you're stressed because of work load or overwhelmed by difficult family circumstance, a nice meditation music could bring you peace and relieve your stress. If you are in a party and want to dance with your friends, then upbeat songs will be your choice to bring the sense of celebration to the mix. If you want to connect to your inner self, then soothing instrumental music can come to your rescue.

People connect to music in their own ways. Some like to listen to the words in songs and find the amazing connection they have to the lyrics. Others may enjoy listening to instrumental music – you don’t need to know the language to cherish this kind of music. You can be form any part of the world speaking any vernacular and enjoy instrumental music composed by a musician anywhere in the world.

Musical instruments have evolved over several thousands of years. The use of instruments for several purposes has been in vogue ever since the human civilizations came in to being. When human beings started forming groups to live in communities and began the early steps of creating ancient civilizations, crude and simple musical instruments are said to have been developed.

The speculation is that musical instruments probably came in existence somewhere between 37,000 to 67,000 years ago, although there is no definite way of chronicling this. The instruments in olden days have served several purposes from using the drums in religious rituals, making announcements etc. to using sounds from conch shells for initiating battles and war. Wind instruments like flute were also used in ancient civilizations. Some ancient civilizations have used trumpet like instruments in hunting or to gather people for social gatherings. The instruments were primarily made of animal bones, animal skin and wood.

Each ancient culture across the world like Mespotamian, Indus valley, Egypial civilizations etc, had their own simultaneous evolution in the world of musical instruments which later spread across the other up and coming cultures. Although many instruments have evolved now from their original designs, many ancient instruments have lived on, like drums and flute. You can also find Didgeridoo, an ancient Australian aboriginal instrument, resembling a trumpet, used by indigenous people in Australia.

With the evolution of technology, the big leap in the field of musical instruments came in the form of electronic musical instruments. Just as in any other application, making the electronic version of the original musical instruments gave the instrument tremendous versatility. These instrument use electronic circuits to generate or modify music. After mid 1700s, electricity was used in musical instruments. The electric harpsichord that was invented in 1761 in France was one of the first instruments that served as the harbinger to electronic instruments of the future.

There is a deluge of electric/electronic music instruments out there in the marketplace now and it is a blessing for all the musicians to be able to use the original concepts of the past and use technology to suit the needs of the present and future. By making them the electronic versions of the original musical instruments, you can produce better sound quality and clarity, make instruments possibly lighter and smaller and also combine several instruments in to one like what you would see in a rhythm pad.

Electric Guitar

Electric guitar is a stringed instrument like the traditional guitar. When the musician strums or plucks the strings on the guitar body, the vibration emanating from this is sent to an electrical component called pickup which converts the sound signal from the electric guitar to electric signal. This electric signal coming from the guitar is feeble. Therefore it is fed to an amplifier to strengthen the signal and this is fed to a loudspeaker which converts the electric signal back to audio signal for everyone to hear. The electrical signal from the electric guitar can be adjusted using electronic components for sound effects such as reverberation, distortion etc. Electric guitar has played a key role n the development of several musical genres such as electric blues, heavy metal etc.

Electric guitar comes in several shapes and sizes to suit the musical needs and the choices of the artist.

The big difference between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar is that electric guitar is made of solid wood while acoustic guitar is hollow. Some of the main components that make up the electric guitar are the body which is the broadest portion on the guitar that contains the bridge, the neck which houses the strings and is attached to the body on one end and head on the other, the head which has the string retainers and tuners, the frets which are thin metal pieces that run across the length of the fret board whose spacing depend on the length of the neck and strings and pickups. Pickups are most important parts of the guitar as they make the instrument an electric guitar. They pick up vibrations and convert them to electric signals.

There are many color options for neck and body color on the guitar. You can buy a full size electric guitar set for a beginner that comes with an electric guitar in a classic guitar design, amp and case along with a good placement for neck pickups. The amp typically includes an outlet for guitar ad microphone, comes with volume control, treble and base control. Some amps come equipped with headphone jack and overdrive and guitar packages arrive with strap for guitar and picks. Shorter scale versions are also available people with smaller hands. Some manufacturers also offer downloadable lessons and instructions for the avid learner.

Digital Pianos

The sound from piano has a charm that few instruments can replicate. A grand piano, while it looks elegant and is seen as a desired instrument for an aspiring pianist, is bulky and space consuming. The beautiful sounds from a traditional acoustic piano can be simulated by a digital version of the piano. The digital piano simulates an actual piano not only in the sounds it produces but also in the way it feels when the instrument is played. It has weighted keys just like a traditional piano and for people that love to see the shape akin to a upright piano or a traditional piano, they can find digital pianos with those options as well. It falls under the category of electronic keyboard where either samples from an actually piano or a synthesized emulation method is used for producing sounds. The sounds from the piano are amplified internally to boost the strength of the signal via an internal loud speaker which produces the desired audio output. Some people might feel that digital pianos might not fully replicate the traditional piano in all respects. However the advantages that these pianos offer over the acoustical pianos are many. As they are digital, these pianos do not need to be tuned like the traditional ones and you can modify their tuning to match tuning of another instrument. Volume control option in digital pianos can be used to adjust volume and you can even connect it to an amplifier or a public addressing system for large audience size in big venues. The cost of these is much less than traditional versions and they are typically smaller in size and lighter. So these kind of pianos offer the best values of traditional pianos while incorporating the needs of a technology driven current society.

Many digital pianos also offer built in memory with a collection of songs and come with music books. There are song recorder options which will let the pianist play as well as record their music. Some digital pianos can also be connected to computers or mobile devices via USB adaptors for an amazing graphical user interface experience.

Electronic Drums

The biggest impact of digitization in the world of musical instruments probably happened in the percussion instruments arena. The digital alternative to the acoustic or traditional drum kit is a unique kind of sound synthesizer. The electronic percussion instrument or the electronic/digital drums comprise a sound module or a drum module which is digital and is called the brain of the drum kit. This module controls all other features of the drum kit and functions as the synthesizer for all kinds of drum sounds. Most of the digital drum kits offer the flexibility to play a variety of different drum styles. For example one can choose drum styles like rock, jazz and so on in order to suit the specific genre of music to be played. Some of the more advanced kits offer the capability to set up customized kits by selecting from the individual drum sound options available on the module. Most of the basic electronic drum kits offer the ability to tune individual drums, their volumes etc. You play the electronic drum kit by striking the drums with drum sticks or your hand just like how you would do in an acoustic drum kit. There are sensors in the digital drums which get triggered because of the drum stick action and they in turn trigger the production of corresponding drum sounds. The drum sounds emanating from the electronic drums are based off of the stored sample sounds from the original acoustical instrument. This makes the instrument sound just like the original. Trigger pads are the separate pieces of the electronic drum kit. There are typically 5 pieces in the set just like a traditional drum kit.  Drum triggers have pickups just like the ones on electric guitar and they get activated when the trigger pads are struck.

In essence these drums are a boon to beginners – those who would like to try their hand at drums but may not be willing to play it loud for many reasons. This happens especially when people around the new drummers are prone to getting annoyed by additional noise or the house is not sound-proofed enough. The head phone option in the electronic drum kit also offers a head phone option where the drummer can just listen for himself or herself and hone their skills.

The digitization of the music instruments offers a great opportunity to improve the skills of current musicians and offers a unique platform for beginners as well.

Welcome to the world of electronic instruments!

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