Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap to zap to frap

Subject: Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap to zap to frap
From: John Nowak (
Date: Sat Jul 24 2004 - 14:14:03 EDT

On Jul 24, 2004, at 7:17 AM, Kevin Austin wrote:

>> ... What is the distinction between a synthesizer and a computer?
> Modular (voltage-controled) synthesizers are analog computers, and
> then there were digital and hybrid computers.

(** I may be grabbing the top quote there out of context... forgive me
if my explanation is obvious **)

The line is generally drawn based on the packaging. If its in a
dedicated box and only produces sound, its a synthesizer. If it is a
general purpose device, its a computer. That's how the term is used now
anyway. Despite the fact that many new synths are entirely digital,
they're still considered synthesizers and not computers because they
are not able to perform general purpose tasks, and they only do
synthesis. Technically its still a computer of course. It's the same
reason we call the iPod an mp3 player and not a computer. Sure,
technically its a computer, but all it can do is play mp3s.

In my opinion, "computer music" is music made with user-programable,
general purpose devices.

- John

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