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Basic Music for Engineers

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MUSIC


If you are a doctor, you cannot operate if you do not know what you should and should not cut. If you are a mechanic, you cannot repair a car unless you know how the engine parts work together to move the car.

As an engineer, you ARE a technician, but one that works with creative material. Yes you can approach it purely like a technician, but you will not be able to perform as well as if you know a bit about music. Notice that I used the word "perform" rather than work.

We work with sound. We work with music. We work with feelings. If you do not know anything about any of these things, you have no business calling yourself an engineer.

If you only know about sound and not music (and more importantly the feelings that music can express) then you may be able to spit out work that looks good on a meter, covers all the requirements, but has no musicality and feeling. In addition, you will need someone to translate what the musicians say so you understand what is happening.

The best engineers are IN THE MUSICAL MOMENT ALONG WITH THE MUSICIANS and can discuss not only things like sound volume but also things like sound dynamics, harmonic or rhythmic support, musical timing, and instrument functions. The best engineers recognize, encourage, and capture musical creativity.

You do not have to know how to play an instrument or read music in order to push a fader, but it really does help to know what the musicians on the other side of the glass are going through.

So, in the words of Frank Zappa, SHUT UP AND PLAY YOUR GUITAR !