Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Dr Lindsay Vickery

Abstract

This dissertation attempts to apply the communications theory concept of “mediality,” as described by Jonathan Sterne, to the context of music composition for different mediums, namely the media of the live performance and the studio work (the recording, the concrete work). Mediality denotes the complex “web of practice and reference” between different media—how we interact with and perceive media, and how this affects the content of the medium. The mediality of live and studio composition is posited as cross-referential, non-hierarchical and non-dichotomous—a relationship of “dependence and imbrication” rather than antagonistic binaries.

I investigate the mediality of live and studio composition in three ways: historically, through the discourses surrounding gramophony in the early twentieth century and rock aesthetic in the late twentieth century; technologically, by describing how the computer evokes mediatic cultures and practices through software, and how this is informed by sociocultural discourse; and creatively, through my own suite of live and studio compositions entitled “Ambivalence of Density,” with discussions about the processes involved and how I’ve attempted to underscore mediatic discourse in the works. I conclude by suggesting that a broader understanding of the mediality of music (and sound in general) could make the dialogue surrounding new musical media (especially Internetbased media) more articulate and relevant.

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