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Theory Jam: A New Approach to Music Theory

Description

Theory Jam is a series of online, education videos that teach music theory in a fun, engaging way. Our project is a response to the growing need for successful online education content. It incorporates strategies for creating effective educational video

Theory Jam is a series of online, education videos that teach music theory in a fun, engaging way. Our project is a response to the growing need for successful online education content. It incorporates strategies for creating effective educational video content and engages with contemporary debates in the field of music theory surrounding the purpose of a music theory education.

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Date Created
2018-05

Popular Music Songwriting

Description

The goal of the creative project "Popular Music Songwriting" was to jump into songwriting with strategy and study on popular music, looking at why songs make the charts. The project had one focus on Max Martin's songwriting principles, but looked

The goal of the creative project "Popular Music Songwriting" was to jump into songwriting with strategy and study on popular music, looking at why songs make the charts. The project had one focus on Max Martin's songwriting principles, but looked at anything that hit the charts. The conclusion of the project brings an understanding of several rules and patterns in songwriting that hit makers typically obey. A common purpose for pop songs is to keep its listeners engaged but not overwhelmed. The goal is to do something different, but keep things familiar and to make people want to listen to it again. Songwriting has become very business-minded in that many informal rules to songwriting have become established because they are supported by psychology, showing that we have developed certain expectations in songs. For example, when a song gets very complex, we oftentimes tune out and do not want to hear it. This problem makes a song unfriendly to the radio. Also, repetition is often exercised. Many pop listeners have favorite parts of songs; therefore, when a songwriter has created a hook that listeners will want to look forward to through the song's duration, then that hook should be recycled strategically to keep the listener engaged. Four songs are submitted at the project's completion. The songs' names are "Soon to be an Emergency," "They Will Look at Us," "Black and White," and "Psychedelic Nights." The songs well represent a timeline of the project. As new songwriting rules were learned in the process of this project, they were employed accordingly, making each new song a fair representation of the learning up to that point.

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Date Created
2017-05

Witching Hours

Description

Witching Hours is the debut studio album of Chicago-born, Phoenix-residing trumpet player John Michael Sherman. It is a consummation of his work in the Arizona State University jazz studies program both as a performer and composer. Featured on the album

Witching Hours is the debut studio album of Chicago-born, Phoenix-residing trumpet player John Michael Sherman. It is a consummation of his work in the Arizona State University jazz studies program both as a performer and composer. Featured on the album are several other musicians who John Michael played alongside throughout his tenure at ASU, including Chaz Martineau on tenor saxophone, Evan Rees on piano, Reid Riddiough on guitar, Vince Thiefain on bass, Matt McClintock on drums, and Dan Meadows on baritone saxophone. The album features seven pieces, all original compositions or arrangements. The first track, "Workin' My Nerves", is a blues shuffle in the key of F. This is followed by "Scarborough Fair", an arrangement of the classic English folk tune in a rock style. The title track, "Witching Hours", is an cadaverous linear composition in 7/4 which is followed by "Goliath", a pseudo-tone poem about the biblical giant. "I Should Have Known" is a pensive ballad featuring an a capella intro and cadenza, followed by the most recent composition, a minor blues-esque piece entitled "Who Said That?" The final track, "Don't Change A Thing", is an upbeat samba which was written in John Michael's first year of college. These pieces demonstrate an understanding of the jazz tradition and exhibit influences from such musicians as Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, and Snarky Puppy. The album was recorded at Tempest Recording in Tempe and produced by Clarke Rigsby. Clarke is a veteran recording engineer and is the first choice of many of Phoenix's finest jazz musicians, including thesis director and head of the ASU jazz department Michael Kocour. The pieces were composed and recorded under the guidance of Mike Kocour and Jeff Libman. Witching Hours represents a culmination of John Michael's course in the Arizona State University jazz department and his endeavors as a trumpet player and composer.

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Date Created
2017-05

21st Century Breakdown: The Influence of Social Media on New Bands in the 21st Century

Description

21st Century Breakdown: The Influence of Social Media on New Bands in the 21st Century is a creative project that explores the development of social media in its relation to music and how, over time, it has impacted the music

21st Century Breakdown: The Influence of Social Media on New Bands in the 21st Century is a creative project that explores the development of social media in its relation to music and how, over time, it has impacted the music industry. More specifically, the documentary explains the significance of social media to new bands at this moment in time (2017), which is seen through the development of local Phoenix band The Breaking Pattern. The documentary follows The Breaking Pattern for a year from the release of their debut album to the early stages of their second album. The documentary reveals that social media is essential to new bands, allows smaller bands to stay competitive in the industry and allows artists to present a certain identity, genuine or cultivated, to the public. Keywords: social media, identity, music, internet, documentary

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Date Created
2017-05

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Integrating Visual Art & Music: Printmaking Processes & Lathe Cutting Vinyl Records

Description

For my creative project, I began an art press that produces small-run vinyl records and artist's books. Initially, the venture began as a means to circumvent record pressing facilities as a vinyl record-cutting service. By the end of this project,

For my creative project, I began an art press that produces small-run vinyl records and artist's books. Initially, the venture began as a means to circumvent record pressing facilities as a vinyl record-cutting service. By the end of this project, the focus shifted to encompass more visual art products than just vinyl records. The project began with vinyl records because I saw a need in the market; in the past decade, the industry has grown dramatically, but the dozen record pressing plants in the country cannot keep up with the demand. Because record pressing companies prioritize large orders, it is difficult for many small bands and independent record labels to produce work on this medium. This is due to the long lead times, high prices, and large minimum order sizes. I located a man in Germany, who invented a machine that makes high-quality, lathe-cut records. I named the project Blushing Soup, as homage to my father, who passed during my first semester of college. It is through his passing that I was able to secure funds to pursue this venture. I brought on a partner, who was more familiar with art and audio recording than myself. In the summer of 2015, we met with this inventor to learn how to use his machine. By October of 2015, a machine of our own had arrived. In early November, Blushing Soup won a grant from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. During this time, we released two vinyl records for local bands. For a culminating project, I coordinated a Record Store Day compilation album consisting of six bands featuring. After securing all of the music, the machine started having problems, which forced me to cancel this release. Recognizing the delicacy of the machine, prompted a shift in the aim of Blushing Soup. During this process, I started learning printmaking processes, and I realized that Blushing Soup could function as more than a record cutting service; we could be an art press. In the last few month of this project, I started making artist's books. By the end of April 2016, Blushing Soup will have released vinyl records for two bands, as well as produced four handmade books. This creative project centered around the process of creating art through lathe cutting and printmaking; the objective was not to maximize profits but rather refocus the consumption of art (in a sustainable practice).

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Date Created
2016-05

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Playing the Changes: Four Stories of Music, Death, and the Unknown

Description

There are no words for the trauma of death when it strikes unexpectedly. What to say when a mother dies in childbirth? When a father figure contracts an unknown disease for no apparent cause? When a beloved pet, long mourned,

There are no words for the trauma of death when it strikes unexpectedly. What to say when a mother dies in childbirth? When a father figure contracts an unknown disease for no apparent cause? When a beloved pet, long mourned, may still be alive and hidden by estranged family? Generations may pass, and children may grow up, but the pain leaves marks that echo across time and the other borders we construct between our past and present. We may find strength on solitude, or prayer, or the words of a song written by someone else. In these four stories, spanning almost half a century, the marks of death and attempts to soothe or hide them are everywhere. Children on the cusp of adulthood grapple with the lives and the lies of their parents. Musicians examine the relationship of their music to the world. Legends and myths lurk in the shadows, tempting with false hope and rationalizing the unexplainable.
In “Playing the Changes,” we meet two men stranded in a small desert town in 1972, a time when their attraction to each other is still dangerous. Nile Walker is a jazz musician, running from a spurned lover and the law. Benji Garza is a once-devout Catholic, fixing cars and caring for his orphaned nephew, Hector. Walker and Garza’s affair will spin both lives and their heredity into sweeping tragedies that characters battle with lust and melody. Walker has a son he never meets, a drifter who finds connection with another lost soul at an airport in “La Petite Mort.” Hector is forced into early adulthood in “The Words,” when his ailing uncle’s health fails due to a mysterious disease not yet called AIDS. Later Tre—a young man struggling with the weight of his own lineage—meets him in “PHX.” These stories examine questions of death’s causes and its myriad effects, and offer this solution: Knowing that we cannot know everything, and living, loving, and singing anyway.

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Date Created
2016-05

This is Jam Music: A Full Album and Musical Process

Description

For my honors thesis, I chose a creative project that would incorporate expertise and skills from both of my undergraduate degrees at Arizona State University: Music Performance and Music Theory and Composition. The main goal for this project was to

For my honors thesis, I chose a creative project that would incorporate expertise and skills from both of my undergraduate degrees at Arizona State University: Music Performance and Music Theory and Composition. The main goal for this project was to design and experience an artistic process of musical production and create a professional musical work to release on digital platforms. The musical process included five main components: Listening, Transcribing, Composing, Recording, and Post Production. The final product is a full album, titled This is Jam Music, that consists of eight pieces and a run time of 33 minutes.

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Date Created
2021-05

Understanding Sound as a Language: The Link Between Music and Narrative

Description

With this thesis, I have set out to answer two fundamental questions within music: does music mean anything, and should music mean anything? In answering those questions, I also set out to create a creative project that would implement these

With this thesis, I have set out to answer two fundamental questions within music: does music mean anything, and should music mean anything? In answering those questions, I also set out to create a creative project that would implement these ideas: an original concept album of music that is programmatic in nature and incorporates motivic composition, jazz improvisation, lyrics, extra-musical audio and more all in the service of telling a narrative, a story, through music. I have done research into understanding music as a language, finding that this language is primarily communicative and recreational, rather than representational, of meaning. As well, I discuss the various different ways that music composers from Wagner to Williams have created narrative meaning in their works, using examples of leitmotif and other devices, as well as tracing the contextual associations of meaning that occurs when music is perceived in certain contexts. Furthermore, I discuss the dialogue between absolute and programmatic music, and also talk about the role of jazz improvisation in adding meaning to works.
For the second part of my thesis I talk about how I came to create the creative project aspect. I discuss how and why I designed the narrative that I did, and also analyzed the music I have created to illustrate how I implemented the various methods of musical storytelling that I detail in the first part of the paper. Lastly, I discuss my plans for publication and release of the creative project.
The third part of this thesis is a sample of the creative project. There is a version of the narrative that goes along with the creative project, as well as one of the eight pieces of original music on the creative project, entitled Journey.
Overall, I found that music does have meaning, it is just meaning that society ascribes to it based off of artistic intent and context, and as to whether music should mean anything, I believe that this is a question best left to be answered on an individual basis. Music can be whatever it wants to be.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Music and Intimacy in Jane Austen's Novels

Description

Jane Austen’s depictions of musical performers and listeners in her novels suggest her belief that musical performances should strengthen intimacy between people, both between listeners and performers as well as among listeners. Austen commends music for its power to increase

Jane Austen’s depictions of musical performers and listeners in her novels suggest her belief that musical performances should strengthen intimacy between people, both between listeners and performers as well as among listeners. Austen commends music for its power to increase intimacy through honest expressions of taste, which more often arise in private performances, but she warns against its power to decrease intimacy through pretentious displays of taste, which more often arise in public performances. Austen’s belief that music allows for this healthy intimacy indicates that music has great significance in society. Austen suggests that music has a greater importance to everyday life than many may originally suppose, as it is a universal connection between people. Ultimately, Jane Austen’s perspective of music’s great power both to expose pretentiousness and to cultivate intimacy should lead all of her readers to recognize and respect music’s true power and to consider seriously the importance and role of music in their own lives.

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Date Created
2021-05

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Hilliker Thesis Paper

Description

Standardization is sorely lacking in the field of musical machine learning. This thesis project endeavors to contribute to this standardization by training three machine learning models on the same dataset and comparing them using the same metrics. The music-specific metrics

Standardization is sorely lacking in the field of musical machine learning. This thesis project endeavors to contribute to this standardization by training three machine learning models on the same dataset and comparing them using the same metrics. The music-specific metrics utilized provide more relevant information for diagnosing the shortcomings of each model.

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Date Created
2021-12