Long story short: Where do we draw the line between this and Audio Recording and Production ?

All questions about mastering, mixing, etc clearly belong there. But how about questions about:

  • Synthesizers and electronic instruments in general, including software instruments; Making music with instruments like Korg Kaossilator, MorphWiz or Omnisphere
  • Hardware workstations (instruments like Triton, Oasys, Liontracs Groove, etc)
  • Procedural music generation (computer-aided composing? :) that's one interesting thing)
  • Sound synthesis theory (questions about achieving a nice timbre in various types of synths, both hardware and software; also how to emulate instruments, how to make chiptunes, etc, etc)
  • Software-oriented questions (help about composing in common software suites like Ableton, Reason, FL Studio, Acid...)

Et cetera, et cetera. That's not the first thing which comes to mind when asking about "performing music", because of lots of electronics and computers and weird stuff involved. However, all of the above are clearly more about "performing" and "composing" than "processing" or "recording".

I'd certainly appreciate all of the above areas as on-topic questions here. Would you?

  • 2
    Lennart's answer here was on a question about notation software specifically, but I think it applies equally well to this.
    – user28
    Commented May 29, 2011 at 14:48

2 Answers 2


Yes, I think all the above is on topic. Computers are (as was discussed Could a question about live performance software be treated as appropriate? and Would a question about music notation software be on topic? and at length on chat) just another instrument.

If we start with a classical piano, recording it with a microphone does not make it a non-instrument. Switching the mic to electromagnetic pickups doesn't make it a non-instrument. By changing the strings to little metal bars we now have an electrical piano, which is still an instrument. Getting rid of the metal bars and putting an electronic oscillator there we now have some sort of synthesizer, which is still an instrument. Switching all the analog electronics out for digital, and it's still an instrument. Replacing the discreet digital electronics with a microprocessor that essentially does the same calculations and it's still an instrument. Making a PC do the same calculations can obviously not be less music than letting the computer in a virtual analog synth do the calculations.

Instruments are tools we use to make music. The computer is just another tool.


There is also Audio Programming in definition phase.

Which is even more on the tech and programming kind than on the art/creating/performing kind.

  • 1
    Drawing a line between "tech" and "art", as well as between "programming" and "creating", is something that I'm sincerely allergic to. :)
    – Kos
    Commented May 30, 2011 at 15:50
  • @Kos: I would rather be inclusive myself, and I believe that it would be fitting that questions about audio programming or computer aided music be mainly asked there. The fact is music.SE has not currently enough questions.
    – ogerard
    Commented May 30, 2011 at 16:43
  • Hmm, that site seems pretty distinct. More like a subset of Stack Overflow plus some Math, and they should come here if they need some theory help :P
    – user28
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 17:31

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