Ok, this is pretty much nonsense. When we design a product that enables you to use different settings, we always default to the one that is most often used. This is UX design. It's fine to think about *why* this the most often used setting, but the have yet another racial and cultural foodfight over it is just not helpingl
Well articulated.There's an argument that one distinctive feature of the Enlighment (read: Wester Civilization in its preferred form, at least for many people) is bases on this kind of critical engagement.
Which has me thinking .. I should really try writing more in 3/4 time. Fight the Power!
I think this sums it up. Bias isn't an active evil, it's by nature just... a quiet, unintentional influence on things. Nobody's discounting other culture's artistic conventions on purpose. Or, rather, I'm sure most people aren't.Hah. Alright. I'm going to say that yes, western DAWs are biased towards western sensibilities.
And that's completely fine.
It would be so annoying if it wasn't.Hah. Alright. I'm going to say that yes, western DAWs are biased towards western sensibilities.
And that's completely fine.
That quote actually comes from a Pitchfork article which is, well...Pitchfork (clue's in the mag's name, I guess). It's a bit of a shame as the source article has some interesting material in there on things like plugins for Live (I assume they are M4L) that are designed for some North African styles among other things. The line itself just looks like a piece of journalist reductio hyperbole rather than some serious point about the intricacies of DAW design. But outrage-happy people gonna outrage.Looks like I'm a dumbass. I think that the quote in question may not have been part of the post originally, but it's definitely there now.
Eh. I think the bias thing is absolutely a worthy line of discussion, but to suggest that specific wording of the idea is definitely a bit absurd. But I think that was the point of what the OP was quoting - to be provocative in order to get people to consider a detail they had previously overlooked.
At any rate,
Yeah, this is more or less what I was about to say.
The irony of this discussion is that the article that contains the quote that some are getting so outraged over actually looks at this, at least for a couple of artists.It would be so annoying if it wasn't.
But it's an interesting question to ask - what might non-western composers like in their DAWS? And if capital and competitive market space were ever to find it's way to answering this question, is it possible that the rest of us might not benefit by new ideas and new investments and new perspectives?
I have no idea how, in that I'm writing very western music myself, which is hard enough with this kind of theoretical distractions. But new critical perspective on problems is well know to provide completely unexpected, often brilliant, innovations.
You're right. Some of the language uses seems to be .. triggering, or something ... for some people. And while admittedly I'm being a little provocative in some of my language too, I'm also attempting to refame to something I think we can all more or less agree on.I really wish this was the way the discussion was framed, both here on the forum as well as in media generally. Sadly, it's not.
Interesting theory.Here is how your post is constructed:
- you write several paragraphs asserting that DAW is biased because it is built on Western theory (the thrust is against a DAW but the real enemy is Western theory). Accusations of bias and racism, even if you don't use the exact word and only imply it, are extremely offensive and are guaranteed to trigger a defensive response.
- provoking this defensive reaction is the real purpose of your post.
- having set this kind of context, you then pose a question: "do you restrict yourself to Western theory?". Notice how "restrict" here applies to the reader as a person in a highly negative way (do you limit your own human potential) and suggests close-mindedness (can't see beyond Western theory). Notice also how Western theory is repeatedly put in a negative context, again and again.
- what this question does is give a reader two options, both reflecting on him/her in some way, and one of which is a direct and negative association between Western theory, "racism" and you the reader (by proxy of your DAW).
- and that's the really the trick of your post: it's not about the answer to your question and it's not even about DAW at all. The real purpose is to get the reader to doubt, to feel guilty and to self-reflect: am I close-minded? am I racist? and, naturally, to react very strongly to that possibility.
- when this happens (and it has, as shown by responses), the reactions will go in every direction. But the central premise - that there is something wrong with Western theory - will be left unchallenged. Because of that and with enough repetition, it might be accepted as fact. And some might actively try to distance themselves from it to avoid the taint by association.
- mission accomplished.
This is so real. In other threads I discuss UI/UX. The way we design things influences our interaction and behavior. Which was part of what I was trying to reference in my original post.One of the biases I struggle with, which the DAW didn't invent but does perpetuate, is "white key bias" I write way too much in they key of C (or Am).
A stronger version of this is "piano bias" - ie. Eric Whitacre says he never write choral works at the piano, as this results in music that's biased towards the piano and that therefore doesn't fully embrace the qualities of musicality specific to choirs.
Sample libraries and DAWs, in this sense, can actually ease, if not fully eliminate, the risk of this bias in letting us hear what a real choir (or string quartet / oboe etc) might sound like.
I'll leave one more comment. An accusation of bias is not the same as an accusation of racism, nationalism, jingoism, or bigotry. It seems many around here conflate them. I have many biases. When I discuss and teach subjects relating to UI/UX I tell students about reflecting on bias. Sometimes they will overuse colors due to an aesthetic bias.Sorry, I’m getting so tired of the constant judgement and blame in every blasted conversation anymore. I try to keep things lighthearted when I post on here but not this time.. Now we’re asking if DAWs and Music Theory are biased? Write whatever you want to write, you don’t have to adhere to any rules at all and any good daw allows you to microtune all you want. A DAW IS TO RECORD WHATEVER YOU WRITE, if the added crutches of a chord track are too western, don’t use it. Blows my mind that a post like this is now entering our forum, a place where anyone can write anything they want.
If the west is so horribly biased and bad, then why are you writing your opinion in English? Surely that’s a bad influence. Having an opinion is one thing, but starting it off with accusations is the same thing everyone else is doing now. Take it elsewhere.
Unfortunately I can only recommend MaxMSP which at least removes initial assumptions from a UX perspective. It's a very unreasonable solution but their philosophy is worth reflecting on. That's it for this topic on my end.I'd be interested to know if there are any software solutions that the OP (or others) feel could be used as an example of how DAWs could encourage more experimentation with other musical cultures.
ie. if what the OP outlines is indeed a problem, is there any sense of "progress" in this area that might better demonstrate what options there are, if one of the developers wanted to address it?
I'll leave one more comment. An accusation of bias is not the same as an accusation of racism, nationalism, jingoism, or bigotry. It seems many around here conflate them. I have many biases. When I discuss and teach subjects relating to UI/UX I tells students about reflecting on bias. Sometimes will overuse colors due to an aesthetic bias.
The technology will come with a bias as some others have noted. Product design can come with bias. When we use tools for creativity we could reflect on that in order to assess how we are creating. For example, many (maybe not all) will agree that Ableton Live is biased towards loop/phrase based composition. This relates to it's design.
I won't go further into it because this is clearly NOT a forum to discuss these things. Goodbye!
If you teach this kind of thing, I'd love it if you'd be able to share some syllabus grade references?It seems many around here conflate them. I have many biases. When I discuss and teach subjects relating to UI/UX I tells students about reflecting on bias. Sometimes will overuse colors due to an aesthetic bias.
Someone removed the knuckle dragger, Texan post who told me to leave the west. Which was funny because I'm also from Texas. As I noted in my post, on the very same day as his comment, his tribe of people also told me I was going to hell. Which is a very normal, Texan, thing to do. It's like saying "Good afternoon."I feel your pain on this. But as a counterpoint, the benefits of attempting to discuss such things on vi-c over a more academic forum is that this is a very real, raw interface between the UX and working composers, and all the commercial and ideological contexts that entails.
In the current critical-engagemet-is-from-satan political environment, it's alas hardly unexpected, (and hardly accidental, and hardly incidental) that academic language will trigger this kinds of conflations.
So yes, a conversation on vi-c is inevitably going to be messier.
But perhaps it has compensating merits?