Theater sound designer John Leonard has some provocative thoughts to share about synthesizers, samplers, ‘sample blindness’ and the awfulness of synth sounds:
Even with the array of sample libraries available today, I often wince at the awfulness of the sounds I encounter.
On a number of occasions, I’ve been so offended by what’s been presented that I’ve found money from my budget to bring in musicians, always with the somewhat bemused composer’s permission.
But much of the time, the wincing goes unnoticed; these people are my friends and colleagues, and I know that they don’t intentionally produce bad sounds. I believe they don’t recognize how poor some of the samples are and carry on in blissful ignorance.
I’ve embraced synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, and digital recording systems from the very earliest days, and I realize that the palette of sounds available to composers today is vastly larger than it was 50 years ago. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if a tiny percentage of the effort that goes into creating ever more lifelike copies of instruments that already exist went into creating something astonishingly original?
Great stuff – but it ignores the fact that many musicians actually embrace the aesthetic of lousy orchestral emulations.
What do you think? Should composers stop recreating the orchestra with virtual instruments and create new electronic palettes for orchestration?
See Leonard’s full comments at the site Live Design.