Saturday, May 9, 2009: Another essay… U love reading them!!!


My constant and daily fear: is tripping face forward into/onto the pavement or down steps and landing str8 onto my face and obliterating my mouth and teeth. (seriously)


Do you see what I see:


1) This paper was spposed to describe how I used the computer as a musical tool…I explain my troubles, I explain why I chose my piece. etc. but where do I really explain how I created the composition…..?? yea…. I know..


2)Let’s count the mistakes.. lol I’ve counted more than 7 so far… you??


 Kay, I’m going to sleep, need to catch up on rest… I have a BBQ to possibly attend tomorrow afternoon, I have a strong suspicion I’ll be missing it.. I hope not tho.. :-\


KMB105 Music and Sound Technology: Assessment #2


The Computer as a Musical Tool


By Kimberly Hall


Analysis of “The Reason”: What?


Holmes (2002, 12) states that “the plastic nature of electronic music allows the composer to record all of the values associated with a sound (e.g., pitch, timbre, and envelope) in a form that can be shifted and reorganized in time.” It’s with these few basic principles and the following data that I will prove that I used a computer as a musical tool.


I chose a song I felt had a catchy melodic line and had a simple song structure, “The Reason” Performed by Hoobastank and written by Daniel Estrin and Douglas Robb.I began this project weighing the pros and cons of symbolic vs. direct representation (Brown and Barrett 2009, wk5), and then opted to do both and use the new standard “Electroacoustic”, the use of both audio and midi. (Holmes 2002, 8)


Song Structure of “The Reason”

Tempo: 85

Time: 3:52

Time Signature: 4/4

Instruments: Keyboard, Electric Guitar, Bass, Drums, Sound Effects, Vocals

Structure: Intro, Verse1, Chorus, Verse 2, Chorus, Bridge, Verse3, Chorusx2, Outro

Creativity: Why?


 All music today is electronically produced which “is part of the mainstream of popular culture.” Holmes (2002, 9) adds that “the sound resources available to electronic music are unlimited and can be constructed from scratch. The composer not only creates the music, but composes the very sounds themselves.” With this in mind, I felt that exploring electronic music’s natural resource of not being “affected by the limitations of human performance” and its “ability to sustain or repeat sounds for long periods of time…” was a good way of proving my thesis.


“In electronic music, sound itself becomes a theme of composition. The ability to get inside the physics of a sound and directly manipulate its characteristics provides…a composer to treat all sounds as being materially equal.” (Holmes 2002, 12) Additionally, “Electronica” or dance music is a constant fast rising industry, with a commercial yet edgy appeal. I felt that composing an electronic dance cover would best suit my creative needs and the needs for this composition.


Exploration of compositional ideas


 “Sensory Impressions” is the state when you hear the music and feel the particular affect it has on you. Such as “Intuitive knowledge” and how you make an aesthetic judgement about the music and the value or quality of it and various aspects of it. Also, “Logical Knowledge” and how based on your experience of listening and perhaps using other measurements, you examine the elements of the music and how they are contributing to the overall effect or quality. (Brown and Barrett 2009, wk7) Using this knowledge was noted when listening to the beat, as I was able to imagine myself in a dance club and then immediately knew what else there should, or what there shouldn’t be in the music.




Dance music has a reputation for being associated with having a euphoric affect on people which is why a lot of people listen to it while under the influence of drugs. The “Flow” experience in itself offers a sense of ecstasy and great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done and how well it is going, which also people have associated with the effects of drugs such as Marijuana and LSD. Reaching “Flow” means being “completely involved, focused, and concentrating – with this either due to innate curiosity or as the result of training”. Other indicators of reaching this state are in knowing the activity is doable, feeling confident and serene, being thoroughly focused on the present and not noticing time passing by, and finally intrinsic motivation. Where “whatever produces “Flow” becomes its own reward”. (Csikszentmihalyi 1990; Linderman 2008)


Process: How?


Upon creating this composition, I asked myself “Does the software available have the appropriate features for my needs? How familiar am I with the features of the available software and hardware tools?” (Brown and Barrett 2009, wk5) Apple (2009) states “Garageband can display your notes on a pianoroll or as notation” they add “Garageband helps you add structure to your song with the sections clearly defined” which then lends itself for fast and easy rearrangement which I found very useful for structuring and previewing ideas. I prefer the visual aesthetic that pianoroll has to offer, being that my notational skills are below standards, which led me to look for a metaphor that was easy to use and read. Additionally, my mind is visual and also fits the 3 classic creative intelligences:


Linguistic intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically; and language as a means to remember information. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence.


Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. In Howard Gardner’s words, it entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking.


Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. According to Howard Gardner musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence.” (Howard Gardner in Smith 2008),


I leaned towards the sequencing software Garageband for this assignment.


Obstacles & Limited Resources: With?


The obstacles began upon attempting to edit a vocal audio file for duration and position by use of direct mouse control. Finding that the cuts were not as precise as I needed them to be, I turned to editing the file on Logic, Live, and then finally Adobe Audition. With Audition, I found the waveform representation far more efficient for editing. After fine tuning, and even changing the structure of parts the file by manipulating the phrasing, I was somewhat satisfied with the outcome of my composition and thus decided it was ready to insert back into the main Garageband session. Except for a few minor changes regarding mixing, I decided I was done.




Corrupted Files & Incompatible Formats


Upon returning to the file after 7 days of reviewing and mixing, I found that I was unable to open the session properly and received continuous errors that the 12 cut and pasted vocal files were in an incompatible 8bit format. So I spent 6 hours trying to rectify the situation by replacing the logged file in the package contents folder, drag and dropping, opening with Garageband, opening with iTunes, opening with Protools, opening with Logic, opening with Live…etc. I returned to the original file and opened it on several different computers, and finally on a PC, it opened under Adobe Audition. Once there, I began changing the format to: 16 bit wav, 32 bit wav, 16 bit mp3, 32 bit mp3, aiff, AAC, PCM wave, WMP wave; and then repeated the previous steps to get it to play, with dismal results. I finally gave up and decided to hand in the assignment in 2 pieces, the instrumental track and the corrupted audio file that went with it.


The next day I re-recorded the vocals in an attempt to save my original compositional concept. I returned to a different Mac lab and there the file again would not import. I tried in yet another lab, and there it worked. From that moment, I made copies of every single edit to ensure I would not lose my project again. Previewing and reviewing while mixing proved to be a long task, as every time I returned to the piece on a different computer, the sound would change. My new goal was to ensure the files would not peak, and that the sound would distribute evenly as I’d wanted. Apple (2009) states in reference to recorded sound files, that you can add effects and “Then tweak your mix by adjusting the volume of each track or panning between speakers.” While switching through these effects and panning manually and via the automator, I found that I preferred to keep the effects monitored manually, as I was having so many problems with saving and locking and unlocking, I made a conscious decision to stick to the overall side panel of effects for each track. I chose to add effects individually as opposed to the whole master track, being that most of the tracks may have some of the same effects, they in fact do not have them at the same frequency or level.




“As constraints disappear and boundaries are pushed – digitally modelled simulations move away from being representations.” Such as how Protools, now widely replacing most analog and DAT studios for the last decade, as it was designed as a mixing desk and studio. “Over time models can lose their metaphysical connections and become tools in their own right.” (Brown and Barrett 2009, wk7-8) “The benefits of digitally generated sound synthesis…In comparison to manipulating analog sounds on tape, a computer can control and organize sound with ease” by use of responding, amplifying, and extending the creative direction the person gives it. In this way “digital sounds can be cut pasted, modified using special effects, made louder or softer, and structured to precise time measurements.“ (Brown and Barrett 2009, wk5; Holmes 2002, 7) In conclusion, creating music this way “the composer is freed of the physical limitations of human performance and can construct new sounds and performances of an intricacy that can only exist as a product of the machine” (Holmes 2002, 12) thus, aside from the many obstacles and the fact that every tool used may not have been a fully functioning tool, proving that the computer can and has, in this composition, been used as a tool a musical tool in the creation of music. 




Apple. 2009. (Accessed May 7, 2009)


Brown, A. and L. Barrett.2009. KMB105 Music and Sound Technology: Week 5-8 Lecture Notes. (Accessed May 7, 2009)


Csikszentmihalyi, M. 1990. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.New York: Harper & Row


Garageband. Apple Software. Mac OSX, 2009


Holmes, T. Introduction; Chapter 1. In Electronic and Experimental Music: Pioneers in technology and composition, 1-12. New York: Routledge, 2002


Linderman, M. 2008. All bout Flow. (Accessed May 8, 2009)


Smith, Mark K. 2008. Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences. The encyclopedia of informal education. (Accessed May 8th, 2009)






MIDI & Audio Reference List


(19 tracks: 5 Audio, 14 Midi)


Analog Drum Machine 38. Apple Loops (Audio).2009. Panned Right +32, Compressor, Visual EQ, Echo 7%, Reverb 10%


Breaks Stealth Beat 04. Apple Loops (Audio).2009. Panned Left -64, Compressor, Bass Amp: Deep Bass Amp, Visual EQ, Echo 7%, Reverb 10%


Brazilian Cavaquinito 01. Apple Loops (Audio).2009. Panned Right +48, Compressor, Visual EQ, Echo 12%, Reverb 16%


African Ghost Kit 18 (Slightly modified). Apple Loops (MIDI).2009. Panned Left -23, Compressor, Visual EQ, Echo 12%, Reverb 16%


 “Superbeat.mid”, “Superbeat1.mid”, “Superbeat2.mid”. Hall, K. 2009.Euro Hardcore Mix, Panned Left -23, Compressor, Visual EQ: Big Drum, Echo 5%, Reverb 9%


“Kimibass2.mid”.  Hall, K. 2009. Euro Dance Remix, Panned Right +32, Compressor, Bass Reduction, Bass Amp, Visual EQ: Big Drum, Echo 21%, Reverb 13%


“Kimibass.mid”. Hall, K. 2009. Euro Dance Remix, Panned Right +48, Compressor, Bass Reduction, Bass Amp: Deep Bass Amp, Visual EQ: Bass Boost, Echo 35%, Reverb 18%


“Electro Destruct Beat 03.mid”. Hall, K. 2009. Electro Destruct Beat 03, Panned Right + 48, Compressor, Bass Reduction, Visual EQ, echo 21%, Reverb 9%


“Syn Bass.mid”. Hall, K. 2009. Euro Revelation Bass 02, Panned Right +11, Compressor, Treble Reduction, Bass Amp, Visual EQ, Echo 21%, Reverb 9%


“Electric Guitar1.mid”. Hall, K. 2009. Eighties Electric, Panned Right +32, Compressor, Amp Simulation, Chorus, Visual EQ, Echo 25%, Reverb 8%


“Electric Guitar2.mid”. Hall, K. 2009. Syn Bass, Panned Right +11, Compressor, Treble Reduction, Visual EQ, Echo 25%, Reverb 12%


“TheReasonBreak- Riffy.mid”. Hall, K. 2009. Riffy Fifths, Panned Right +48, Compressor, Visual EQ, Echo 35%


“FifthMoon-Lead.mid”. Hall, K. Panned Left -22, Compressor, Track Echo: Dance Floor, Visual EQ, Echo 21%, Reverb 8%


“TheReason-BigElectric Lead”. Hall, K. Big Electric Lead, Panned Center, Compressor, Amp Simulation: American Clean, Chorus, Visual EQ, Echo 25%, Reverb 8%


“TheReason-Solace.mid”. Hall, K. Solace Strings, Panned Left -48, Echo 36%, Reverb 26%


“TheReason-Bondi Breath.mid”. Hall, K. Bondi Breath, Panned Right +15, Tremolo, Track Echo, Visual EQ, Echo 17%, Reverb 57%


“Vox1.1.mid”. Hall, K. Pop Vocals, Panned Right +32, Gate -69dB, Compressor, Track Reverb: Concert Hall, Chamberverb, Visual EQ: Air Vocals, Echo 24%, Reverb 31%






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