Editor's Note: Welcome to the Keyboard Power Users Guide

Publish date:

It’s no exaggeration to say that, if it wasn’t for Contemporary Keyboard magazine, I wouldn’t be sitting in the Editor’s chair at EM. In the spring of 1978, I came across a magazine with Gary Wright on the cover, wearing a keyboard around his neck, with a tag line promising a look at “Wright’s Equipment.” Curious, I forked over the $1 cover price, took it home, and read it cover to cover dozens of times before hunting down the next issue: I was hooked.

In the pre-Internet era, Keyboard (as it was renamed) was the source for information about acoustic and electric keys in every genre. During its 40+ years as a print magazine, Keyboard published hundreds of how-to articles, helping millions of players grow as musicians.

This month, we’ve assembled a collection of recent articles from Keyboard that we think EM readers will find useful, such as how-to articles covering popular products and a pair of insightful interviews. For example, in the excerpt from Suzanne Ciani’s June 1979 interview, we learn what it was like being a music professional in the late ’70s and the level of dedication it took to be successful (50 sessions a week!). She also shares her experiences as a woman in that environment, and the challenges of playing this mysterious object called a Buchla.

But it is just as instructive to see what has changed since then and what has stayed the same. Ciani describes the challenges of being a session musician before the tools we now take for granted were available—MIDI, sampling, DAWs, and the Web. Yet, Ciani’s creative concerns are just as relevant today. Her thoughts about the importance of “the interface between you and the sound” is something instrument designers are still grappling with. And her musical comments, such as fitting electronic sounds into a busy mix, are no less valid for modern musicians and producers.

I hope you enjoy the Keyboard articles we’ve included this month, in addition to the rest of the issue.