Any non-musician engineers here??

Aloha guys,

Last night for the first time in my 1000 year life :slight_smile:
I met a studio engineer who told me he has never played a musical
instrument. Ever!

He said years ago he attended the old ‘Trebass’ (sp?) recording school
in Toronto and has never been any kind of musician.

He now has his own studio in the Montreal area. (He is a Pro-Tools user)
And has been doing well for a number of years.
(obviously he is doing well enough to have a vacation here on Maui).
There are many many folks like this at the gearslutz site
but this got me wondering if any Cubase forum users here are the same.

Any engineer types only?
Just curious.


I’m a non-engineered music programmer, does that help?

Interesting topic :slight_smile:

I would not consider myself a musician even if I can play several instruments better than a few of my customers, but that’s probably a statement on some of my customers more than myself :laughing:

If you have never played a musical instrument I would imagine you do qualify
as an answer to this post


I guess that now brings up another question:

Is the computer a musical instrument in its own right?

What I mean is similar the the man I met,
someone who has NEVER played a musical instrument on any level.

Someone who has exclusively been only an audio engineer.
And probably wears a white lab jacket while at work :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Not really.

In my view it is a scratch pad for ideas (and also a recorder) in terms of MIDI and it is true that you can take things to the nth degree if you are at the top of your game but in and of itself and also due to the fact of the interface(s) being too primitive, I doubt the computer as a device could be classified as a musical instrument parse.

Sure, some musical instruments are primitive in their scope of “operation” but they are also less musical :wink:

I think on the whole the computer is a platform and Cubase is the tool of choice for DAW professionals the planet over.


Interesting topic. As a studio engineer you NEED to have a feel for music, and it really helps if you know the muso talk and some music theory. You can get all that without playing an instrument, but if people really like music I imagine it’s easier to start learning an instrument then to start learning for studio engineer :wink:. Guess that’s why they’re a rare breed.

i love music and have great ears (big ones at that ) but i can’t dance , does that mean i don’t like music as much as i should ?
It’s each to their own really and i prefer not to pick up an instrument and dabble in electronics and midi implementation and back in the 90’s i was setting up loads of studio’s and in 10 years i might of played the keyboards or guitar about 10 times ( unless you class bashing your brains out on a cymbal once in a while ) . so in answer to your question curteye im sure there are loads of engineers out there that can’t dance ,sing like whales,play instruments with webbed fingers but when it comes to electronics and the theory of harmonics and reverberations (it’s all dribble) there are shit loads …


great topic btw

I suppose its possible (obviously from your example) however, I would see it as a deficiency to some degree. Now a producer, they MUST have musical ability, or they are a fraud. (I am sure this is also the case for some).

Not at all.

DJ’s OTOH are fertile ground for marketing campaigns from DAW companies like SB and others’ and depending on how well they operate (company) depends on the future financial viability of enterprise. :cry: :confused: :slight_smile:


You are both I take it? :laughing: :wink:

I guess it depends on the definition of a musical instrument. E.g. by Wiki’s standards it would be a correct statement.

There are of course people who would claim that a person would have to play the instrument in order for it to be considered as such. I do not agree, since there are plenty of bands out there that successfully have programmed entire albums (some have loads of them) on computers and never really played any of the instruments in question.

Take Vince Clarke, an original member of Depeche Mode, who subsequently founded Yazoo and Erasure. He’s a person who programs the music rather than playing it. I am not saying that he cannot play but that he, according to himself, makes the stuff by spending loads of time programming it.

I also think that there are instruments that are almost too simplistic to be compared to “real” instruments, and are rather non-musical and could fall into the same or similar category as a computer, e.g. claves, the triangle, a didgeridoo or drones in general, etc. Meaning, they make noise, some are a bit rhythmic, etc. but you don’t really “play” something, but rather complement the rest. Sure, you move your hands or lips and lungs, but no real melody, by measure of guitar or piano is generated.

Now, don’t get your underwear in a twist, I am merely trying to convey that I think instrument comes in so many shapes and sizes, but also in utility and usage, that I think one has to consider a computer to be some sort of a musical instrument. Even if one doesn’t actively “play” it.

Well, I guess that too is possible, by tapping the keys as a modern plastic replacement for claves. :laughing:

Since you put it that way, another way to look at it is:

Anyone who ‘plays’ ANY sample based device could be considered a DJ,


Because instead of actually making sounds, the player is really
just playing back recordings.
Tiny sampled recordings/loops etc yes! But recordings none the less.

(Me thinks this topic should really be its own thread) Perhaps a mod will move it).


Most of the high end producers I worked with in the 80’s and 90’s couldn’t play instruments, neither could most of the engineers. Back then people didn’t need to be a able to do everything, so musicians, engineers and producers rarely overlapped and consequently were all very good at their particular job.


In this context I don’t even want to think about the definition of a DJ, who’s dropping remix of a sample based track :laughing:

Yes, it is!