Starting the timeline of modern musical engineering with the invention of the simple alligator clip around the turn of the 20th century, but things really took off afterwards.
By 1931, a commercial electric guitar was on the market. By 1957, wireless microphones were first available. The 1960s saw the birth of synthesizers, and a true beginning of computer modulated music in the mainstream. Even the advent of the CD, which in turn led to digital music tracks, falls squarely on the shoulder of musical engineers.
Here is a nice infographic about technology and innovation with music as an example created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Masters in Electrical Engineering program.
It’s important to realize the role that sound engineers played in the development of music. There’s always been a battle between innovation and tradition, but the result of those conflicts has always made music a bit better. Whether it’s as huge as developing a new power source or as small as developing a device that changes the pitch of a note slightly, the work of sound engineers has defined music for decades. The only thing known for sure about the future is that musical engineers will continue to play a dominant role in defining how music sounds. More on this, see the original blog post.