This is a subject I’ve found to be interesting, and I’ve mainly come across it via frustration. More and more people are using digital means to make music, and DJs are being inundated with the newest tech that can make their mixes/performances even more badass. There are now PGCEs that offer a teaching qualification in music where you can specify your instrument.
And this is where the hurdle starts.
I’ve tried to apply for such courses and roles but they won’t take you on if your instrument is the turntable because *quote* “It’s not a traditional musical instrument” *unquote*… I really do believe the principles and modules of these courses can be applied to turntablism, and I’m sure it has been done as well. Why are we still living in the dark ages when it comes to the curriculum?!
Turntablists have used scores and developed scratches in the same way people have learned piano and guitar. These days, to be brutally honest, ANYTHING can be an instrument.
EVERYTHING is an instrument.
There are videos of women using the water from rivers and seas as drums, link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7ba1CNOLiI
There are videos of people busking using pots, pans and buckets as their drum kit, link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk-q-TBdU4k
The things turntablists can do can be mirrored in traditional music performance, and vice versa. I guess because its original purpose was to be a device in which you play records, people are still having trouble seeing it as a music instrument STILL, even after all the technological advancement we’ve had. It hurts my brain, it really does. Look at the DMCs and what those crazy people can do on some 1210s! :
Regardless, thanks to people like Grandmaster Flash and others, and many more since then, the turntable has ultimately transcended its original role. Youtube is regularly updated with DJs and turntablists showcasing a new bit of kit and/or routine, further demonstrating its versatility.
This blog entry may go on forever, and it could to be honest since this is an area I’m looking expand on in my studies, but all I’m saying is that people need to recognise the no-longer-hidden power and versatility of the turntable, especially now that it’s evolved from simply being a music playing device.