How Has Computer Science Impacted Music: 3 Notable Examples

Arka Ghosh
Arka Ghosh - Content WriterSeptember 16, 2023
Updated 2023/09/27 at 2:18 AM
How has Computer Science Impacted Music
Photo by i aboud on Unsplash

Music has been there forever, as it is a part of human life from morning to evening. Computer science is also an inseparable part of humans in the 21st century, and the union of these two has been ongoing since then.

1.  The History of Music and Computers

The background of computer-based music is mathematical, similar to how it is with other fields of computer science. The Ancient Greeks were pioneers on this topic, they came up with the idea known as the “Harmony of Spheres.”

1.1. History of Computer Science in Music

There has been a general disagreement on music production using computers based on various reports. However, researchers have overturned most statements. The first record received is from Australia. Further changes kept going on throughout the world. Indeed, due to these developments, a significant musical tool in today’s world emerged in the 1980s: The Synthesiser.

The Synthesizer

This era also led to the spread of  Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) technology. MIDI allowed for the organization of electronic musical instruments from different makers. Makers took MIDI on a large scale after it was made available, as an open-sourced technology, gaining broad support.

1.2. The Computer-Based Music Production

Many game systems and computers first started adding sound features to make them seem better. In fact, the need for computer-generated music rose because of the increasing popularity of the video game industry. Additionally,  towards the end of the decade, developers built better computer science tools to make music.


The techno-fans were the first ones to use these tools in the beginning. Gradually, artists also started using such tools to make new kinds of music, and by the turn of the new century, computer science tools entered every area of music in some form.

2. What Is Computer Music?

Computer music is quite a hot topic in the computer science industry, and computer scientists in this field are doing a fair amount of research. There are three main subtopics in computer music:

  • The first one is composed and played by the computer.
  • The second one is human-performed computer-generated music.
  • Finally, there is computer-aided music production.

Various companies are focussing on studying music, computer science, and digital music technology, They are also actively adding to the growth of music resources using computer science in the music industry. Nowadays, computer music is an important field of computer science and is a part of the syllabus in many universities of the world. In fact, the path to study music in computer science may be the right balance of interests for many students.

3. Examples of How Has Computer Science Impacted Music

Computer science is now a big thing in the music industry. However, the changes made by computer science in the music industry are difficult to pinpoint. However, the most notable input can be due to a few things. They are developments in recording technology, plug-ins, web audio API, live coding, and other changes.

3.1 Audio Recording

The differences between the recording standards of today and those of earlier times are clear to everyone. Recording studios previously employed analog methods and instruments like magnetic tapes.

Today’s audio production uses technologies such as digital audio workstations. A digital audio workstation is an all-in-one music software. Additionally, it can do many jobs, such as recording and editing, post-processing audio files, and more.


A woman editing on a computer with her headphones on.
By: Kelly Sikkema /Unsplash/Copyright: 2021

3.2 Audio Plug-Ins

Audio plug-ins refer to small computer programs. Artists can add these to music software as they help in improving music. There are many software-based virtual instruments available under this category. Plug-ins can offer various ways to produce musical sounds and play music. One can also use it for audio engineering, music analysis, and more.

Man using audio software to produce music. A befitting answer to how has computer science impacted music.
By: Techivation/ Unsplash/Copyright: 2021

Plug-ins focus on a single unit in the music software. In order to do so, they have to depend on smart ways. Plugi-ins also use special methods from computer science.

3.3 Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Making Music 

The importance of AI in computer science is growing and it is also apparent in the field of music.

The Simple copy of AI uses machine learning methods on past data to make music. More powerful AI is able to copy how humans think and then use that to make music via machine learning.

The history of using different methods to make music goes back a long time. Making music has been always guided by the rules and computer scientists build models using maths based on such rules. They also moved away from mathematical models to computer science methods.

AI can also help in music sales, marketing, and usage. AI is helping in making computer software that adds voice control. Music composers can now control different voices while making music. It also helps to improve the concept of music with listeners. Along with the progress, the technology has crossed some significant milestones as well.

The use of AI in music also creates problems. It creates a legal grey area for a copyright on the music. This happens as copyrights aren’t given to work lacking human interaction.

4. The Positive Side

The introduction of computer science in music has helped in improving the making process. Firstly, recording music has become easy. Additionally, the sampling process has become more detailed. This progress has been made by using more small pieces of equipment.

It has also made it easier to create tracks and edit music. People in the music business can now use the audio-related features of music software. Everything from fresh notes to random noise can be added to the new music they make.

One of the major impacts has been on the life of independent artists, as testing of recorded music can done with the help of Digital technology. Moreover, selling music has also become easier for them. Some of the tools they use often are streaming services.

5. Future of Computer Science in the Music Industry

Major developments have been made in the fields of computers and music. However, researchers and musicians have yet to know them fully. Many opportunities are there in the area of traditional computer science and the new and shiny field of AI.

There are a lot of ways that traditional computer science fields have developed. It can help with joint music production. People all over the world can create music with whoever they want. Furthermore, this sector continues to improve with the setup of more computer software.

Silhouette photo of a man using a DJ mixing table
By: Marcela Laskoski / Unsplash/Copyright: 2016

AI builds a new road by introducing new ways for making music, analysis, and so on. These ways will only get better as the AI boom continues. However, there are moral and legal issues that need to be solved. Regardless of this fact, the future of the music industry appears bright and promising.

 Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) provide bright new ways for the music industry. These fields allow artists to combine live and mediated music. This means that listeners can join the music festivals and concerts from their homes. 

VR and AR also open ways to combine music with gaming. Many such games even exist today. For example, some allow the user to play various instruments in VR. Such approaches have a bright future in developed multiplayer games. 

6. End Note

Computer science is a booming field in the world. Music has always been a part of human life, and combining the two is not a new idea. It will only get better with time.

It is, therefore, important to understand the history of key parts of our daily lives. Understanding it provides an insight into how has computer science impacted music. It helps in developing a deep respect for the field and the people who work or are part of it. 

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