Music And Technology Series Wrap-Up

Liane Hansen speaks with Music & Technology series producer Ned Wharton, who offers a few final thoughts on the month-long multimedia project.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

As our Music and Technology series draws to a close, we've invited series producer Ned Wharton to the studio. Hi, Ned.

NED WHARTON: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: So, what are your thoughts as you look back over this month's series.

WHARTON: Well, I thought it was really interesting, that piece that we just heard. It was a little bumpy, that eJamming software, but I sort of felt like I was in the middle of history. Music is democratized, and it's something so exciting. And you know that in the next five years, the Internet connectivity is going to improve, and I know that eJamming is working on some new software. But it sort of exemplifies, you know, where we are.

HANSEN: I don't think a lot of people know that your father actually taught electronic music back in the 1970s.

WHARTON: Well, it's interesting. I actually did a little blog posting and posted a little logo that I'd created on the Moog synthesizer when I was maybe 17 or something like that for UND Public Radio. And I used to spend hours just plugging patches in and out. But, of course, now, you can do all of that stuff at the touch a button.

But after I wrote this little blog posting, we got some very interesting responses and a lot of memories from people. Carla Scaletti(ph) wrote that she went to the experimental music studios at the University of Illinois, and she says, as I stood there with a razor blade and pieces of tape in my hands, I suddenly realized I have the sound in my hands, and I can shape and rearrange time the way a film editor does. I also heard from Michael Wittgraf, who is the current music technology teacher at UND.

HANSEN: University of North Dakota.

WHARTON: That's right. And he gave a little update, and he said, I'm sorry to say that we sold the old Moog last year. And I actually went to North Dakota a few weeks ago, and he showed me the current electronic music lab, and it's been replaced by a Macintosh with a virtual Moog, but that's where we are today.

HANSEN: We should remind everybody that radio was not the only component of our Music and Technology series. A big part of it can be experienced online.

WHARTON: First of all, I have to send out a huge thanks to Patrick Jerry Watnonan(ph), who did just an enormous amount of work on the website. He also produced several of our on-air segments. I couldn't have done it without him. Mr. SAM ZYGMUNTOWICZ (Violin Maker, Brooklyn): So for each of the frequencies that will be active in the sound, you can find an area on the fiddle that will be resonant.

WHARTON: You can see recording school students at work and hear their music.

Unidentified Man: (Singing) I don't want to believe in things that my eyes cannot see.

WHARTON: Of course, here's the one that's going to get all the hits, a video of you belting out "Take It to the Limit" at Avatar Studios in Manhattan.

HANSEN: (Singing) I think I've reached my limit, so I'll not take it to the limit anymore.

All right, everyone, don't crush our servers all at once. Ned Wharton is producer of our Music and Technology series. It's archived online at nprmusic.org. Ned, it's been a pleasure. Thanks a lot.

WHARTON: Thank you, Liane.

HANSEN: This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

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