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The Yamaha DX7 versus the Musicians' Union

Reader's comment on our earlier feature on the Yamaha DX7 keyboard that led to a massive reduction in employment opportunities for musicians.


I have been a working professional musician for 40+ years (see www.colingreen.co.uk) and subscribe to regular e-mails from your organization which I find to be helpful and informative.

I must however, take issue with your article on the Yamaha DX7 in the current mail out which seems to celebrate the 'fall’ of the Musician’s Union.

Although I have been an MU member for more years than I care to count my thinking is not always in line with the general thoughts of the Union but I feel that I must take their side in this issue. In the main the Union seeks to protect work for live musicians; your article highlighted ( by omission) the fact that the use by theatres of synthesizers in place of 'live’ musicians represented a decline in employ for musicians ... a fact borne out by the sad state of the music industry these days.

The advent of the synthesizer, instead of enlarging the sound palettes of existing instruments, has been responsible for replacing working musicians on a grand scale.

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Perhaps you should point out to your budding producers that not all music is created at the touch of a button; those that you choose to replace are highly skilled artistes who spend time and effort to perfect their skills rather than simply buying the latest add-on to automate the process of music making. You are also responsible for extracting from music the one element that machines cannot thankfully reproduce .... i.e. human feeling!

The day that happens we are all in trouble!!

I should point out that I am not at all against the use of synths to create new and exciting sounds, merely against the use of such devices to replace the real thing. Sadly I know that the effect is irreversible but your young guns should know that, in part, they are helping to kill off an industry in which the UK were world leaders; something that will inevitably change now that synth technology in which musical knowledge is not necessarily required is readily available worldwide and almost anyone with the capacity to push a button can 'create’ music.

At least the MU tries to maintain the standard of work for us 'dinosaurs’ !!!

Colin Green

By David Mellor Wednesday April 27, 2005