in the 19th century, there wasn't a piece of western music that couldn't be played if one didn't have the sheet music, the right instruments, and the people to perform. things got slightly different in the early 20th century. maybe your trumpet needed the right mute, or you needed the right kind of electronic organ. things really got different in mid 20th century when there were hundreds of types of electric guitars, and amps, microphones, etc. then the synthesizer came and changed everything. now to play a piece of music, the right synths with the right patch settings are needed to be played through the right amps, but only before being run through the right fx processors.

     today? it's not just about notes any more. or time signatures, or key signatures. music is becoming more and more about the uniqueness of tone. variance of timbre. there's no way anybody could take a decent piece of experimental electronic music today and reproduce it recognizably using general midi or sheet music, though nearly any song prior to 1980 might be pretty much recognizeable if reduced to just notes on a sheet of paper.

     so this is the next step in music. i almost think we've exhausted our twelve tone western scale. the pioneers not searching for the perfect riff anymore, or the perfect chord progressions with just the right harmonies. they're searching for the right set of frequencies, the right timbres.. what's even harder is the search for all of these in order to unify a piece in reproducing a very specific emotion or mood.

     one of my most basic beliefs about anything creative is that for something groundbreaking to be good, it takes skill, practice, talent, and creativity. however, upon the introduction of a new type of any sort of art, there are always a few initial years where those with no skills get a free ride. take 'modern' art. in the beginning, everyone simply thought it consisted of plain dots, or giant cubes of plastic--simple, bland, and nothing more. the untalented artist saw this, didn't fully understand it, and reproduced a decent ripoff. since the public was not used to these new trends in art, we thought it was good. no longer. there are thousands of musicians out there riding this wave of groundbreaking sound, and though 99% of it may be garbage, rest assured there are gems of revolutionary music out there being polished as we node.