Studying Digital Music: Coloring, Sculpting and Playing in Sound
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This thesis explores ways in media and performance studies to analyze digital music, particularly hip-hop music, through its production practice. Although the formal elements of popular music such as hip-hop include simplistic structures of lyricism, rhythm, harmony and melody are simple and repetitive, a robust study of the interplay between human and nonhuman actors shows the dynamic nature of sonic emergence. As contemporary hip-hop creation is based in the digital music studio, this thesis first explores contemporary music production as a new musical ontology. Then it will explore digital culture as a set of anxieties and also provide opportunities with which to conceptualize digitally-produced music as dynamic performance. Zooming in on the Digital Audio Workstation, this thesis will also explore how the DAW as a specific digitalmaterial object transforms musical engagement and sensation. Finally, a ludomusical perspective considers the dynamic play between bodies, materiality and sound, augmenting the perceived simplicity of hip-hop sonorities into a vast landscape of complex interactions and agencies.
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