Word A Day: Accorder


 Definition: One who accords assents or concedes

Here it is! The first word I’m not familiar with. I am familiar with ‘accord’, of course, but I’ve never seen this noun version used.

When I first saw this I thought of a musical instrument, like a recorder, or an accordion.

Thinking about music, I wonder if musical instruments–and the ability to play them–will become gradually extinct, as people more and more use computer programs to compose and play music.

Harps and grand pianos and cellos are huge, unwieldy and very very expensive instruments, and if the sounds they produce can be reproduced by a computer, these high cost contraptions may become collectibles.

I’m sure musicians will be shaking their head at this thought, and I as a guitar player certainly do too. There is no way currently, for computers to be able to copy the effect of human touch on music–the precise bending of a string according to the current mood and feel, the speed at which the bow is drawn across the strings, the pressure, all adjusted precisely and improvisationaly, by human instinct–but in principle, there is no reason we couldn’t eventually replicate that ability on a computer. The controls may be virtual, and may even resemble the original instruments at first, but the physical object itself would no longer be creating the sound.

We already see many popular modern musical groups using no instruments other than computers, and voice. Often not even voice. It makes me wonder if any instrument other than the computer will ever be invented again.

New sounds are surely being invented, though. They evolve and spread throughout pop music like a new species, eventually dying out as the new popular sound emerges. But the instrument that produces them is still a computer program. Since the electronic synthesizer, I don’t think any new musical instruments have been invented.

Music will always be around, but I suspect that in the future, actual physical instruments, besides the voice (which will likely become heavily augmented in professional singers) will be a thing of the past, and all music produced will be produced via a computer program.

I’ll still be strumming my guitar though!


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