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Embracing creative constraints

The question is: Are things getting better or worse?

During The Magnetic Era of recording The first two Beatles albums, “Please Please Me” and “With The Beatles,” were recorded on the BTR (British Tape Recorder) two-track machines. Recording on the twin-track BTR machines meant essentially recording a live music performance because there was minimal opportunity for overdubbing.

The introduction of the four-track machines changed how recordings were made. This development made it possible to record different instruments and vocals separately. The technical improvement allowed engineers to adjust the levels and tone of each individual track. Recording these days still required an excellent performance, but at least it was possible to redo certain tracks or parts of a track to correct mistakes and errors if necessary.

Today we’re creating in The Digital Era of recording. Almost everything is possible.

  • Record and re-record as many tracks as you want.
  • Overdub as many mistakes as needed.
  • Measure and alter pitch in vocal and instrumental recordings with plugins such as Auto-tune or Melodyne.
  • Correct rhythms and, measure and alter timing.

And the list goes on…

The question is: Are things getting better or worse?

Too much possibility might kill creativity. We need to learn to think about your constraints as obstacles that can broaden our perception. Embracing creative constraints holds great opportunity for creating original work.

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Software is a great combination between artistry and engineering. – Bill Gates. The term engineering is derived from the Latin ingenium, meaning “cleverness” and “to contrive, devise”. To plan, or invent by careful thought. This inspired me. These days a lot of people call themselves a creator. To “create” means to put something into existence.

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