If Duke Ellington had a laptop???

Aloha guys,

Just scoring a big band project in the style of the ‘Duke’ and I
realized (even more than before) how advanced those guys were
in their day.
I cannot imagine what music would sound like today
if he (and others of his ilk) had access to the technology I now have.

This inspires me to ‘push the envelope’ and try to do even more.



Well, like every great composer/arranger he probably could hear the entire score in his head when he wrote it down, so he wouldn’t have much use for a laptop…
So I don’t think his music would’ve sounded different.

yeh 1 agree , if hed had a laptop he wouldnt have wrote half the stuff hes done ,hed have been chatting on line all day wasting his time.

Thing is back then music was always done in collaboration. Even a single composer in the stage of working past the basic ideas done on a piano,would bring in players to see how the parts worked. Each guy had ideas that folks like Ellington incorporated (because they were the best players around) . Unlike today where technology results in many working alone throughout the writing phase. I’m old enough to have started pre computer and really miss the basic collaboration.

Music is still art for the ears and Duke Ellington’s ears would have been the same. Taking the next time machine back to him when he was in his heyday and giving him a “DAW” wouldn’t change much I guess. He’d more comfortable doing what he was already doing. Even if you sent him a computer geek along to run the DAW for him it would be the same music. He’d be very amused to begin with but also underwhelmed about the result, the silly autotuning and quantize habits that prevail, and the square music people get away with. He’d probably ask "Don’t they practice in the future??? :open_mouth: ".
His final say would be … wait for it …
“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”


Setting: Fly on the wall, NYC, 1943

Billy Strahorn: Yeah, that “laptop” thing is kind of interesting, Duke. Anyway, back to the song, OK? I agree, that Ddim b9 would be perfect here, you are a genius, Duke!

Duke Ellington: Yeah, thanks, Billy. But I changed my mind, Cubase 7 Chorder says to use a G7 here instead, I’m just going with that!

Billy Strahorn: Uhh …

(I hear Duke was quite the Randy Andy, he probably would have used the laptop to streamline getting “dates” while gigging 300 nights a year!)

The Duke would have Billy Strayhorn buy and use the laptop and never even look at it… :laughing:

Do-Wa, Do-Wa, Do-Wa

If Duke Ellington had a laptop??? (1899-1974)
He would have had Cubase,
Cubase would be 50 to 60 years more advanced,
Multi Track warping would be old hat,
Any one could hit ‘record’ and the ‘midi track of their mind’ would be recorded in both audio and midi (for editing)
And Steinberg would still be pumping out .5 upgrades and loyal customers would still be buy hoping to kill their arch-bug and have the program make their music magical. :mrgreen:

Love the Duke!

Good observation, Mr M. Duke had his orchestrator, Mr. Strayhorn, and access to top players. It was more of a team sport in those days. But I must say, midi beats the old fountain pens and score paper for getting out parts.