There is a strong argument to the effect that it is no longer relevant to distinguish between sub-categories such as “electronic” and “computer” music in considering the development of the medium in the current century. The quest for more appropriate descriptors indeed begs the question as to why any qualification of the term “music” should be necessary in the first place. Nowadays, devices such as guitars, synthesizers, and audio processors are for many people the primary agents for making music, and to their way of thinking it is possibly acoustic instruments that require a special label rather than their electronic counterparts. A more considered perspective seeks a reconciliation of these philosophical differences, perhaps by recognizing the diversity of sound-producing agents that may be used to generate music, and the ability of many of these tools to serve both serious and more popular applications alike. This in turn highlights yet again the importance of an informed understanding of the musical and the technical characteristics of the various tools that have been developed over the years, and the extent to which they have succeeded in enhancing the working environment for the composer and performer. It is these considerations that form the central focus of this discussion, drawing on the experiences of the past and also looking to the future.
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