Creative Practitioner – Part 246

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

The Art of self-reflection
(Self Reflection 2016)
This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2017a) for the previous blog.

Observations of my developing perspective

Based on my observations of practice over the course of this doctoral program, in pure quantitative terms: the number of elements of my Praxis has increased from six (6) to twenty-one (21) elements of practice; the stages of practice has expanded from five (5) to ten (10); and my motives for practice have increased from the original nine (9) in Praxis v4 (end 2015); to nineteen (19) in Praxis v7i (end-2016); and twenty (20) in Praxis v8j (20170401). Perhaps most importantly, my view of what music is, and how I define music and sound-making practice, has exponentially broadened over this time. My knowledge of the lineage, and of the functions and faculties required in each of the approaches to music-making practice has exponentially deepened.
As a music-making practitioner, I believe I had always defined music in what I thought were quite broad terms. I always considered my self blessed to have had such diverse musical lineage influences from a relative young age, such as: European high art-based music; roots-based music from any number of continents and cultures, including indigenous musics from many cultures including Australia, North America, Japan, Thailand, East Africa and India; and electroacoustic and sonic art-based experimental pieces. From the age of eight (8) my house was filled with the orchestrations of European symphonies and operas (see Page 2014). By the age of ten (10), I was immersing myself in all things mainstream popular. Firstly via the only device I had access to, the radio; then, after a piano was placed in my room[1], I dabbled with that instrument over the next few years. My father returned overseas with a semi-acoustic guitar for my brother, which further fuelled my musical desires for particular instruments. Through radio, my brother and his friends, and my friends, my development of a broad range of music and sound styles continued, to include an array of roots-based musical styles such as folk, country, blues, rhythm & blues, rock, rock opera, and psychedelic rock (see Page 1990). Next my father returned overseas with another guitar – an acoustic guitar –; this time for me. I increasingly was using my pocket money to purchase records (45 rpms and then 33 rpm LPs) to satisfy a growing thirst of listening to all things music. From a young age, I was musicking. Inadvertently, as technology was developing exponentially, I was introduced to various alternative forms of music what I know now to have been electroacoustic and sonic art-based experimental pieces; and roots-based experimental pieces. As a result of both my parents regularly receiving international guests; then their relocation overseas and my extensive travelling with them; followed by my independent travels and relationships, I have also experienced a wide range of indigenous music, other than the mainstream popularised westernised form of roots-based music.
Queenland Goods Train
(Hiveminer 2018)
I hear musical elements in many forms of daily life, such as a goods training crossing at a local road. I hear a rhythm as each wheel passes over a particular join in the tracks. If I close my eyes – whilst waiting at the intersection – I hear the metallic sound of metal on metal – the wheel on the rail. Not a screech, but a high frequency that sits in the background of the developing soundtrack that appears to be unfolding before me. I hear the local galahs sitting in the tall gums in the campus behind me, become restless at the noise of the passing train, and squawk as they take off to fly to another location. As the train approaches the station about five (500) hundred metres down the tracks to my left, I hear the driver sound its horn. Within the surrounds of the station, and the commuter car park opposite, the sound seems to spiral into the air, adding further dramatic elements to this soundtrack, being written before me, continuing to unfold as time continues on. Is this music? Is this a musical piece with the homogenous musical elements of duration, pitch, dynamics and timbre (rhythm, harmony, and melody)? Mmmmm… perhaps it would be argued not by High Art-based trained musicologists. But is it a piece of soundtrack that accompanies the experience I am having in my life at that moment in time? Does this piece possess the heterogeneous sonic elements of mass, spatialisation, and sequence an electroacoustic and sonic art-based composition may have? I would respond with a resounding yes. Perhaps more importantly, does this soundscape have meaning – and therefore relevance – to the surrounding environment, the culture, the society, the community, and the individual? If this sample of my soundscape had been recorded, and played to any members of of a community, would they be in a position to derive meaning from it? Some may be reminded of where they once grew up, and be stimulated to travel; some may have a memory triggered, that takes them back to their childhood visiting cane growing areas such as Gladstone, Queensland, as I did as a boy; some may be reminded of being held up by the inconvenience of this train crossing; others may recognise the soundtrack, and get lost in the effect of the sounds of the galahs, the sound of the locomotion for the moment they are required to patiently wait; others may be reminded of where they live, and have their wander to narratives including other sound objects and sound events.

Gratitude

For me, I now take an even broader view of what music is. Music to me is no longer restricted to roots-based song, or High Art-based compositions created by what we know in the west as musical instruments. Music and sound for me now encompasses all things that may be embedded in an electroacoustic and sonic art-based style soundtrack. These may or may not include musical instruments, but will also likely include other sound related textures that may derive from synthetic devices, or from everyday life itself – sonic events, or sound objects.
At this point in time, there is less clear distinction between music-making and musicking. For me, there is less clear distinction between what I see as the elements of Praxis in my music-making practice, and the elements of Praxis in my non-music-making practice. The line between my music-making practice, and my non-music-making practice is now very blurred – if not feint, and becoming more feint every day as more time passes. I would argue, within my head there is always a soundtrack unfolding before me, over time. The primary governor here is, whether I am in a state – a personal space – to listen to the surrounding environment, and allow my self to have a memory triggered, or to immerse myself in musical and sonic textures of the particular soundtrack that is unfolding, over time. When I am in this personal space and allow my self to do so, I often find my self breaking a smile at this point, enjoying the aesthetic of the moment, re-situating one self into a past event, or another location, whilst often simultaneously in full-flight in an unrelated form of practice[2]. I may look around the current site of practice I am in at that moment, and if/as one of the participants asks for assistance, I re-immerse my self back into that moment in time, and interact with that person in full presence. At that moment, I am. I am experiencing every moment both as private self, and social self. I am music-making within the environment by allowing my self to focus on an unfolding soundtrack, over time. A soundtrack that is not created using traditional musical instruments; a sound track that unfolds over time within that environment, drawing on any material generated from within that environment. That soundtrack supports me, as I make-meaning of that soundtrack at that particular point in time, based on my individual experience, memories, emotions and creative choices within my imagination. Concurrently, I am self-making. I am developing my self-image and self-concept based on that experience of both music and sound-making and meaning-making, at that moment of time. I then return to the immediate context – the particular environment of my practice at that moment in time, and engage with someone in real time, assisting them as they require. I am. On this note, I return to my conclusion of Moore’s quote in Chapter 1:
“music can be a useful resource in the development of the self – a way we can develop our identities; it is likely to be an individual experience in terms of deriving meaning; and a way to support the communication of our identities in social and cultural settings” (Page 2018, reflecting on Moore 2012).
I can say confidently that I now have greater clarity regarding my music and sound-making practice. However, the process has been far being a simple one. I had been warned that auto-ethnographic research studies would likely be an affective experience, both revealing and confronting. The warning was appropriate. The journey to date has been both, and so much more. At this stage of the research study, in few ways do I consider my self to be the same practitioner as when I considered embarking on this post-doctoral journey in 2014. In few ways do I consider my self to be the same person. Whilst I still don’t feel academic, I do note my ability to draw on a wide range of knowledge, and offer more frequent insight to those around me from a place of greater conviction, than I had previously. This is perhaps not surprising given the volume of titles of books, articles, and artifacts[3] I have either read or at least skimmed and pondered their relevance to my particular pilot study.

~DLP Pro Image 1.20141020

(DLP 2016)
The phrase music and sound-making, meaning-making and self-making has very clear meaning for me today, that more than likely would have glanced off my ears some two years months ago. I now ponder what I may understand in another two year that may currently glance off my ears? This thought now excites me, despite knowing that in the next Project 2 I am again likely to experience overwhelm and varying levels of anxiousness. I now understand these states represent a disparity between self-image, (in-) experience and self-esteem, that which can only be re-aligned through continuing to practice and realising the learning required. I now accept in the pursuit of new knowledge, as someone on a deliberate path of adaptive learning for fully-functionality and self-actualisation, experiencing these extra-rational faculty affective states are somewhat necessary. Academics such as Csikszentmihalyi (2005), Ohman (2010), Fredrickson & Cohn (2010), Kensinger (2010) connect overwhelm and anxiousness as emotional extra-rational faculty affective states associated with, and having an effect on self-making, meaning-making and practice. As a result of this Project 1 pilot study, I now better understand multiple selves; the causal relationship of emotion, memory and values of self or selves in practice; and how they may influence my decision-making across the broad elements and stages of practice. I can see clearly now[4] how one’s practice informs one’s self, and how one’s self informs one’s practice. I now accept my music and sound -making practice, my creative practice – in fact all of the forms of my practice – as “technology of the self” (Foucault 1988, 16).

onion-layers

[1] My grandfather’s piano our family inherited following his death. For some reason, this piano was put into my room. I do not recall why, but in hindsight, I suppose I am grateful that it occurred given the influence it had on my musical development.
[2] For example, I may be at the time delivering a management training session to a group of business persons
[3] 1,896 titles currently inhabit my Endnote software application, along with another 4,000 PDFed articles, evidencing the breath and depth of textural artifacts and literature I have engaged in this relatively short time frame.
[4] The song “I can see clearly now” was a major influence as I was growing up. Nash, Johnny. 1972. I can see clearly now. Epic. Vinyl LP.
(Reality Shifts 2017)

Next Step

This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 16a (Page 2017b). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
DLP 2016 image courtesy of David L Page. Accessed 28th November, 2016
Foucault, Michel. 1988. “Technologies of the self.” In Technologies of the Self: a Seminar with Michel Foucault, edited by Luther H Martin, H Gutman and Patrick H Hutton, 16-49. London: Univ of Massachusetts Press.
Hive miner. 2018. South-East Queensland goods train image courtesy of Hiveminer.com Accessed 30th August, 2018
Moore, Allan F. 2012. Song means: analysing and Interpreting recorded popular song, Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Nash, Johnny. 1972. I can see clearly now. Epic. Vinyl LP.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March, 2015
Page, David, L. 2018. KK59 Project 1 Submission. Accessed 30th August, 2018
Page, David L. 2017b. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 16a. Accessed 2nd April, 2017
Page, David 2016 Research Practitioner Part 14 Accessed 28th November, 2016.
Page, David L. 2014. Music Practitioner Pt1 Beginnings Accessed 27th March, 2017.
Page, David L. 1990. Memory Age 10  Accessed 30th March, 2017.
Reality Shifts.  2017. Film clip courtesy of Reality Shifts youtube channel.  Accessed 27th March, 2017.
Self Reflection 2016 image courtesy of: Self-reflection-for-personal-growth  Accessed 18th March, 2016.
– ©David L Page 01/04/2017
– updated ©David L Page 02/04/2017
– updated ©David L Page 30/01/2018
– updated ©David L Page 30/08/2018
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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History Music Production Part 4b – Experimental practice changes the approach to mainstream music-production

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Maypole Dance.P1

(Maypole 2018a)

Mainstream popular music-making practitioners draw on broader lineage

Musical hybridity is prevalent in most approaches to music-making, particularly roots-based approach music. Mainstream music developed out of traditional roots-based forms of music such as blues, country, folk, bluegrass and jazz musical styles. Fused into an ever-growing range of hybrid musical styles such as rhythm and blues, soul, pop, rockabilly, rock n’ roll, and its various hybrids of country rock, folk rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock and rock n’ soul. With large record labels in control of studios, mainstream music-making was a commercial venture. Innovation of technology or workflows would generally not be considered until the early adopters of such technology and workflows had demonstrated the benefits (Martin & Hornsby 1979, 58-61). Mainstream music-making benefited from inventive creative practice in the studio by a range of innovators and early adopters in the 1950’s and early 1960’s such as Les Paul, Phil Spector and Frank Zappa (Moorefield 2005, i; Cotter 2002, 593-594).
Freak Out_Zappa.1966.album cover
(Zappa, 1966)
However, it was not until 1966 that mainstream music-making – such as the Beatles and George Martin, and Brian Wilson – adopted the creative practice of Paul, Spector and Zappa[1].
(Beatles,  1966)       (Beach Boys,1966)       (Beatles,  1967)
In the mid to late 1960’s, mainstream music connected with the lineage of experimental music forms. Holmes describes the merging of roots-based approaches to music, and electroacoustic and sonic art-based approaches to music in his Chapter “Rock, Space Age Pop, and Turntablisim” (2012, 442) from the era of the Beatles. Holmes notes McCartney and Lennon’s interest in experimental forms of music-making such as Cage and Stockhausen, their adoption of the Moog Synthesiser (2012, 443-446); discusses Pink Floyd (2012, 448); Emerson, Lake and Palmer (2012, 450); and the Beach Boys, and their adoption of the electro-Theramin (2012, 455).
(Emerson, Lake & Palmer,  1970)     (Pink Floyd,  1973)
It was perhaps Brian Eno who continued on the legacy of inventive creative practice in the traditional studio that Paul, Spector, Martin and Wilson had laid (Moorefield 2005, 51). Eno has produced a large number of albums that are stylistically diverse: pop, rock, and progressive rock. Eno’s body of musical work is heavily dependent on technology – so much so, “it could not have existed in any previous age” (Tamm 1988, 63). Eno conceives the studio as an instrument, using the technological devices for purposes that the original manufacturers may or may not have originally intended. His “sound-altering devices are always changing” (Tamm 1988,73).
(Eno,  1974a)                   (Eno,1974b)                    (Eno,  1975a)
However, it is the musical style that he created that he is now perhaps become best known for: ambient music (Tamm 1988, 1). This form of music was not roots-based music-making. This was a form of music that drew on a lineage of music-making very distant to that of roots-based music and traditional instruments such as voice, guitars, bass and drums.
(Eno,  1975b)                (Eno,1978a)                (Eno,  1978a)
Eno released his first solo ambient album in 1978, Ambient 1: Music for Airports. This album’s music hinges “not on what a musicologist might be inclined to call their ‘purely musical qualities’ of melody, harmony, rhythm and so on – but rather on aspects of production and engineering, on how the recording studio was used to produce a particular kind of sound texture” (Tamm 1988, 63). As a self-confessed non-musician, Eno commenced composing in the studio, rather than the traditional method of arriving to a studio with a completed composition, in order to record the piece. “(I)n-studio composition’ is the result of the multi-track idea ‘that composition is the process of adding more’“ (Tamm 1988, 64).
“In his 1979 lecture “The Studio as Compositional Tool,” first given …. in New York, Eno shared his ideas about recording, composing, and producing in the studio. His talk makes clear that he is already at that time quite aware of the implications of his work, ….. and ….. the history of making records. He places the beginning of his involvement as producer-composer at the dawn of the sixteen-track studio, circa 1970” (Moorefield 2005, 53).
Brian Eno in his London studio.2014.jpg
Eno in his London studio in 2014 (Dark Shark 2016)
With the exponential development of technology over the past four decades, the contemporary DIY music-making practitioner can now access – at an affordable price – a very wide range of digital or digital virtual technology capable of producing cultural productions to an industry standard. There are infinite choices of: technology, and combinations of technology; different sites, and combinations of sites; workflows, and combinations of workflows; a contemporary DIY music-making practitioner can compose with. There is infinite choice in which to create one’s own unique sound, in order to express one’s own unique voice. Progressing the legacy of the likes of Paul, Spector, Martin, Wilson and Eno, the contemporary studio – irrespective of a project studio or a portable studio – is now more than ever a creative compositional workspace:
“(T)he studio is where composition (not just recording or even arranging) takes place, and what is being made is not a replication or extension of a concert experience, but something altogether different” (Moorefield 2005, 54).
Eno believes the process actually likens music-makers practice to that of other creative practitioners, such as painters. Using a studio and its technology as a compositional tool affords the practitioner a high degree of flexibility to add, subtract, or to rearrange aspects that have already been laid out (Homer 2009, 91).
George Martin_Painting with Sound
Martin was a practitioner who understood the idea of “painting with sound” (Kleon, 2016)
         (Eno & Byrne 1980)                                    (Eno & Byrne,  1981)
As the decades advanced, the legacy of Paul, Spector, Zappa, Martin and Eno gathered momentum. Music styles and approaches to production were appropriated; drawing on different technologies; using many and varied unconventional sites; using converged and conflated workflows. Hybridity was gathering momentum…..

Maypole Dance.P2.jpg

(Maypole 2018b)
[1] I will discuss Frank Zappa’s impact on mainstream music-making in a later section on experimental music-makers
onion-layers
This blog will continue next month History of Music Production Part 4c – Large Format Console Studios to Digital Project Studios (Page 2016b).
References
Beach Boys, The. 1966. Pet Sounds. Capitol. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1967. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1966. Revolver. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
Cotter, Jim. 2002. “Frank Zappa (1940-1993).” In Music of the twentieth-century Avant-Garde: a biocritical sourcebook, edited by Larry Sitsky, 593-598. London: ABC-CLIO.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer. 1970. Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Island. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian in his London studio, 2014 image courtesy of: Dark Shark Access after 1st May, 2017
Eno, Brian. 1978b. Music for films. Editions EG. Compact Disc.
Eno, Brian. 1978a. Ambient 1: music for airports. Editions EG. Compact Disc.
Eno, Brian. 1975b. Discreet music. EG. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian. 1975a. Another green world. Island. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian. 1974b. Taking Tiger Mountain. Island. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian. 1974a. Here come the warm jets. Island. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian and David Byrne. 1981. My life in the bush of ghosts. Sire/Warner Bros. Compact CD.
Eno, Brian & David Byrne 1980 image image courtesy of: Talking Heads session, Different Fur Studios Access after 16th May, 2016
Floyd, Pink. 1973. Dark side of the moon. Harvest. Vinyl LP.
Holmes, Thom. 2012. Electronic and experimental music: technology, music, and culture. 4th ed. New York: Routledge.
Homer, Matthew. 2009. “Beyond the studio: the impact of home recording technologies on music creation and consumption.” Nebula 6 (3): 85-99.
Martin on sound on sound image courtesy of: Kleon blog site  Access after 16th May, 2016
Martin, George and Jeremy Hornsby. 1979. All You Need Is ears: the inside personal story of the genius who created the Beatles. New York: St martin’s Press.
May pole image 2018b image courtesy of  Revels DC  Accessed 31st January, 2018
May pole image 2018b image courtesy of  Personalised Ribbons Accessed 31st January, 2018
Moorefield, Virgil. 2005. The producer as composer: shaping the sounds of popular music. London: MIT Press.
Floyd, Pink. 1973. Dark side of the moon. Harvest. Vinyl LP.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March, 2015
Page, David L. 2016b  History of Music Production Part 4c – Large Format Console Studios to Digital Project Studios. Accessed 5th March, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. History of Music Production Part 4a – DIY Experimental Practice Influences Large Format Console Studios  Accessed 5th March, 2016
Tamm, Eric. 1995. Brian Eno: his music and the vertical color of sound. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.
Zappa, Frank and The Mothers of Invention. 1966. Freak out. Verve. Vinyl LP.
– ©David L Page 05/03/2016
– updated ©David L Page 16/05/2016
– updated ©David L Page 01/05/2017
– updated ©David L Page 31/01/2018
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2c

My journey continues….

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020

(Page 2014)
This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: 5th Observation Part c

Whilst I was making headway with the development of my music praxis – significant headway in my opinion – , my actual production plan still did not have the degree of clarity I had hoped for after four (4) weeks. I therefore decided to go through each step of my Praxis v5a in terms of my production process, deliberately and systematically.
DLP DCI Praxis v5a.20160131.P2
Figure I – Praxis v5a (Page 2016b)
In following this process I made my 5th Observation.
5th Observation.P5e.renamed.png
Figure II – 5th Observation (Page 2017)

Practice….20171230.P2b

Practice

Of the five (5) stages of practice, I was in the first stage of creative practice: the creative stage.
  1. Creative Stage
  2. Pre-production Stage
  3. Production Stage
  4. Post-Production Stage
  5. Distribution Stage
 In the creative stage, I brainstormed a number of Project 1 creative ideas based on my project brief. The five (5) track EP was to be representative of some aspect of my life: past, present or future envisioning.
Site
The next element listed in my Praxis 5a was site.
“Listening to the making of ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ (with Alan Parsons as engineer), I ponder…. Unlike so many US bands of the time whose core attraction was the live performance, Pink Floyd and other British bands I was predominantly listening to and influenced by, effectively used the studio as their stage” (Page 2016c; Gallagher 2012; Price 2015; Ryan & Kehew 2006)
For me, I had always been a performer. In the tradition of US bands, my core expression was on stage in a live performance. I had recorded specific music styles that I knew could translate easily to the live sound context – the stage in a venue. However, the musical style I was focussing on here – psychedelic rock – clearly had demands for different types of technology required.
Psychadelic Rock image_Ultimate Guitar.com
The music style I was pursuing was inspired by British-based psychedelic rock artists of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The site of these performances were in the studio, and therefore each of these creations were done with the aid of studio-based technologies.
Technologies
In order for me as an artist/performer to be able replicate and reproduce the range of studio-created music and sonic tones, I was going to need access to these devices. I pondered: how was this to be done in the production process effectively and efficiently?
I had at this time access to an elaborate range of virtual technologies third (3rd) party plug-in instruments and processors. These included replications of many analogue devices of the particular production era I was focussed on – late 1960’s and early 1970’s – , including instruments such as synthesisers; and audio processors in the three categories of spectral, dynamic and time-domain.
DP PT compatible Plug-ins by Manufacturer.20160215.P1.png
Figure III – 3rd Party Plug-Ins by Manufacturer (Page 2016d)
Whilst I had access to some of the more notable manufacturers such as Eventide, Lexicon and SSL; along with access to a broad range of more recent notable manufacturers such as AIR Music Technology, Antares Audio Technologies, Avid, East West, IK Multimedia, Massey Plugins Inc, Native Instruments, PSP Audioware, Sonixvox, Sonnox, SoundToys, XILS-Labs and iZotope; I wondered  whether the virtual technology replications were going to allow me the dense layering of the textures required for the psychedelic music style. Analogue processing devices were well regarded for their warmth of tone and range of sonics, with music recorded with such equipment often characterised with aesthetically pleasing device-induced distortion, hum and other noise associated with imperfect analogue devices [1].
Technology – Stage versus Studio
Of the technology I could readily access – contemporary equipment of analogue, digital or digital virtual devices – either within my studio, at either the SAE Institute studios (as a full-time Senior Lecturer), or at the QUT studios (as a post-graduate research student) what was going to assist me in this process? My mind wandered considering many options.
My performance live rig was quite elaborate for its function to reproduce typical guitar-based rock music. With other floor-based – analogue and digital – devices, and a broad range of analogue guitar amplifiers, my live rig setup was flexible. With a range of – mostly digital – dynamic, spectral and time-based processors, I could reproduce and sculpt just about any music and sonic tone to reproduce just about any contemporary organic rock-type sound in a performance situation, on stage. In addition, I also have a range of guitar emulators – such as the Fractal Axe-FXII – that allowed me to bypass the use of any guitar amplifiers, and go directly into a venue’s PA system, exponentially expanding the music and sonic palette I could access.

Live rig_20160131.jpg

Figure IV – Live rig (Page 2016e)
However, psychedelic rock music was more complex, with multiple textures and layers that occurred often simultaneously. Was my rig in its current form going to be sufficient? Whats more, if I did create psychedelic-based music in my studio – with multiple textures and layers – using my wide range of digital virtual devices complex, how could I effectively and efficiently reproduce these in a live performance context? Perhaps I needed to develop my current studio technology, expanding my current quite limited studio rig of outboard processors.

Studio rig_20160131.jpg

Figure V – Studio rig (Page 2016f)
I needed to research and consider pieces of equipment that will complement what I currently have, and what I need to fuse my performance and recording of my craft, avoiding a valley or void between the two very important aspects of my music-making practice…..  two aspects that have not met before: stage and studio equipment. I decided that what I didn’t want to do was, was create a studio album that I could not then easily replicate in a live performance. I had always been a performer, and to be able to perform congruently to my recording was a major motivator for me as an artist.
I was clearly invested in this pre-production stage of the music-making process. I needed to consider how I was going to approach the production and what equipment I would use for best effect. It was obvious to me how necessary it was for me to continue to immerse my self in two ways: the sourcing of more textural artifacts discussing the recording techniques in that era (books – The Beatles, Pink Floyd, articles on Molly Meldrum, etc); and also researching a range of equipment that I acquire, that would supplement the equipment I already had, that could more effectively replicate the sounds of psychedelic rock, that I could add to my performance rig. Yes, I desired a rig that I could effectively roll from my studio, onto a stage; and once that performance was complete, to then roll the same rig from the stage, back into the studio. It was my goal to be able to replicate all aspects of my musical and sonic creations in any of my performance locations – on stage, or in a studio.
onion-layers
Footnotes
[1] There are countless testimonies heralding the desired qualities and characteristics of analogue devices across decades of music and sound equipment, and cultural production reviews. However, three more recent acclaimed cultural productions detailing the historical significance of such devices and production workflows are: Ryan & Kehew’s 2006 book “Recording the Beatles: the studio equipment and techniques used to create their classic albums”; Guggenheim’s 2009 “It Might Get Loud” starring Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge and The White Stripes’ Jack White; and Grohl, Monroe and Young’s 2013 documentary “Sound City” about a Los Angeles studio during the 1970’s and 1980’s where a number of East Coast artists had hits with records recorded and produced at the facility. These artists included Buckingham and Nicks, Rick Springfield, Fleetwood Mac, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study Part 3a (Page 2016g). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Gallagher, Mitch. 2012. “Studio legends: Alan Parsons on “Dark Side of the Moon”. Accessed 4th February, 2016. http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Studio_Legends_Alan_Parsons_on_Dark_Side_of_the_Moon.
Grohl, Dave, Mark Monroe and Neil Young. 2013. Sound city. Sony Music Entertainment. DVD.
Guggenheim, Davis. 2009. It might get loud. Sony Pictures Classics. DVD.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2017. Figure II – 5th Observation image courtesy of David L Page Created 10th June, 2017
Page, David L. 2016g. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 3a Accessed 5th March, 2016
Page, David L. 2016e. Figure V – Studio rig image courtesy of David L Page. Accessed 29th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016e. Figure IV – Live rig image courtesy of David L Page. Accessed 29th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016d. Figure III – 3rd Party Plug-Ins by Manufacturer image courtesy of David L Page. Created 29th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016c. Doctoral Pilot Study iNotes Accessed 29th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016b. Figure I – Praxis v5a image courtesy of David L Page. Created 31st January, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2b Accessed 17th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2014 image courtesy of David L Page Created 15th December, 2014
Practice image courtesy of David L Page Accessed 4th February, 2016
Price, Andy. 2015. “The Making of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.” Article. Accessed Feb 4 2016. http://www.musictech.net/2015/06/landmark-productions-pink-floyd-the-dark-side-of-the-moon.
Psychedelic Rock image courtesy of Ultimate Guitar.com  Accessed 5th February 2016
Ryan, Kevin and Brian Kehew. 2006. Recording the Beatles: the studio equipment and techniques used to create their classic albums. London: Curvebender.
– @David L Page 29/02/2016
– updated @David L Page 05/03/2016
– updated @David L Page 10/06/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Aesthetic Processing

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here for the previous blog (2016a).

Psychadelic Rock image_Ultimate Guitar.com

Psychedelic Rock Music

At the outset of my research study, I imagined my creative practice was to be a five (5) track EP of original compositions. The song style was to be a roots-based, a style I had been accustomed to writing over many decades. However, I wanted to ensure I was challenging my practitioner self, and therefore reflected on sub-genres I had not yet explored. Over the first few months of the pilot study, I found my self returning to my musical influences[1] to garner some inspiration. As part of this process, I investigated and developed my understanding of the history of music production[2]As described in my blog here (2016a), I had always loved psychedelic rock but had no experience in producing that style. I therefore turned my focus to learning as much about this style of music as I could.
As part of this process, I began to experiment within the digital virtual environment with processing audio to arrive at a psychedelic aesthetic. This blog is a record of one of those experiments in sound processing techniques, rather than using external hardware experimental processing as they had done in the 1950s and 1960s.

Experimentation

Sample Event 0  (click to access audio)

I commenced with a recording of a Taylor 815ce acoustic guitar, capturing the sound with both a DI (via a built piezo pickup) and several contact microphones attached to the body of the guitar. The first track is a segment of an original acoustic recording – a sample, or sound event – , with no processing applied.

20160225 Pro Tools Main Track 00_00_1

 

Sample Event 1  (click to access audio)

In the first sample, I applied a digital virtual time-based processor to the sound event – Soundtoys’ Echoboy, with the setting Infinite Dark + Dirty.

Soundtoys_Echoboy_Infinite Dark + Dirty.P1.png

 

Sample Event 2 (click to access audio)

In the second sample, I applied a digital virtual time-based processor to the sound event –Soundtoys’ Echoboy, with the setting Darkening Circles.

Soundtoys_Echoboy_Darkening Circles

 

Sample Event 3  (click to access audio)

In the third sample, I applied a digital virtual time-based processor to the sound event –Soundtoys’ Echoboy, with the setting Wreck-o-plex.
Soundtoys_Echoboy_Wreck o plex

 

Sample Event 4  (click to access audio)

In the fourth sample, I applied a digital virtual spectral-based processor to the sound event -Soundtoys’ Filterfreak, with the setting Phasey Sweep.

Soundtoys_FilterFreak_Phasey Sweep

Sample Event 5  (click to access audio)

In the fifth sample, I applied a digital virtual dynamic, spectral & time-based processor to the sound event –Soundtoys’ Crystalizer, with the setting Koursar.

Soundtoys_Crystalizer_Koursar

 

Sample Event 6  (click to access audio)

In the sixth sample, I applied a digital virtual dynamic-based processor to the sound event –Soundtoys’ Devil-Loc, with the setting Maximum Pain at full settings.

Soundtoys_Devil-Loc_Maximm Pain.Max settings

 

Sample Event 7 (click to access audio)

In the seventh sample, I applied a digital virtual dynamic-based processor to the sound event –Soundtoys’ Devil-Loc, with the setting Maximum Pain at partial settings.

Soundtoys_Devil-Loc_Maximm Pain.Backed off Max settings.png

 

Sample Event 8 (click to access audio)

In the eighth sample, I applied a digital virtual dynamic & time-based processor to the sound event – UBK’s Sly-Fi Deflector.

UBK_Sly Fi_Deflector

 

Sample Event 9 (click to access audio)

In the ninth sample, I applied a digital virtual dynamic & time-based processor to the sound event – UBK’s Sly-Fi Kaya, with the default setting.

UBK_Sly Fi_Kaya_default

 

Sample Event 10  (click to access audio)

In the tenth sample, I applied a digital virtual dynamic & time-based processor to the sound event – UBK’s Sly-Fi Kaya, with the setting Bass 7 Tubes Down.

UBK_Sly Fi_Kaya_Bass-7TubesDown.png

 

Sample Event 11  (click to access audio)

In the eleventh sample, I applied a digital virtual dynamic & time-based processor to the sound event – UBK’s Sly-Fi Kaya, with the setting Overt ill-advised.

UBK_Sly Fi_Kaya_Overt-IllAdvised.png

 

Sample Event 12  (click to access audio)

In the twelfth sample, I applied a digital virtual spectral & time-based processor to the sound event –Eventide’s Quadravox Harmonizer.

Eventide_Quadravox_Harmoniser

 

Sample Event 13  (click to access audio)

In the thirteenth sample, I applied a digital virtual spectral & time-based processor to the sound event –Eventide’s Octavox Harmonizer.

Eventide_Octavox_Harmoniser.png

 

Sample Event 14  (click to access audio)

In the fourteenth sample, I applied a digital virtual time-based processor to the sound event –Moogerfooger’s Ring Modulator.

Moogerfooger_Ring Modulator.png

 

Sample Event 15  (click to access audio)

In the fifteenth sample, I applied a digital virtual time-based processor to the sound event –Zynaptiq’s Adaptiverb, with the setting Sci Fi Transition Rift.

Zynaptiq_Adaptiverb_SciFiTransitionRift

 

Sample Event 16  (click to access audio)

In the sixteenth sample, I applied a digital virtual time-based processor to the sound event –Zynaptiq’s Adaptiverb, with the setting Sci Fi Temporal Anomaly Atmo.

Zynaptiq_Adaptiverb_SciFiTemporalAnomolyAtmo.png

 

Sample Event 17  (click to access audio)

In the seventeenth sample, I applied a digital virtual spectral-based processor to the sound event – iZotope’s Neutron I, with the setting Heavy 808 Distortion.

iZotope_Neutron1_Heavy 808 Distortion.png

 

Sample Event 18  (click to access audio)

In the eighteenth sample, I applied a digital virtual time-based processor to the sound event –iZotope’s Dynamic Digital Delay.

iZotope_Digital Delay.png

 

Sample Event 19  (click to access audio)

In the nineteenth sample, I applied a digital virtual synthesis instrument-based processor to the sound event – Native Instruments’ Absynth 5, with the setting 808 Kick.

Native Instruments_Absynth_808 Kick.png

Summary

Whilst it was a fun practice task applying a range of digital virtual processing to the sound event  sample – dynamic, spectral, time-domain and various combinations of these – , I noticed that the processing alone – the processing applied to the sound event samples – did not inspire my creativity for another production project. The processing I applied were merely colourful effects in my mind, not influential sounds to ultimately influence the direction of a composition. As I continue to delve into this style and experiment in multi-textured complex layers of music and sound that characterise that particular musical style, I will continue to investigate the various technologies and processing techniques advocates of psychedelic rock music used. I will likely explore external hardware technologies, and feel at this time I will need to be more inquisitive with less predictable processing options. I am looking forward to progressing my sonic compositions and sound designs using a range of technologies. I look forward to this next chapter in my creative practice.
[1] See Page 2015c https://davidlintonpage.com/2015/05/30/doctoral-research-study-part-2f
[2] See Page 2016b https://davidlintonpage.com/2016/02/20/history-music-production-part-4a-diy-experimental-practice-influences-large-format-console-studios; and Page 2016c https://davidlintonpage.com/2016/03/05/history-music-production-part-4b-experimental-practice-changes-the-approach-to-mainstream-music-production

onion-layers

It is intended for this series of creative practice-related blogs to continue here (Page 2016e).
References
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2016e. https://davidlintonpage.com/2016/02/29/doctoral-pilot-study-part-2c Accessed 5th March, 2016
Page, David. L 2016d. Soundcloud.  DLP Soundcloud  Accessed 5th March, 2016
Page, David L. 2016c. https://davidlintonpage.com/2016/03/05/history-music-production-part-4b-experimental-practice-changes-the-approach-to-mainstream-music-production Accessed 5th March, 2016
Page, David L. 2016b. https://davidlintonpage.com/2016/02/20/history-music-production-part-4a-diy-experimental-practice-influences-large-format-console-studios  Accessed 24th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. https://davidlintonpage.com/2016/02/17/doctoral-pilot-study-part-2b  Accessed 24th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2015c. https://davidlintonpage.com/2015/05/30/doctoral-research-study-part-2f  Accessed 24th February, 2016
Pro Tools 12 Sample Event Images courtesy of: David L Page  Accessed 25th February, 2016
Psychedelic Rock image courtesy of Ultimate Guitar.com Accessed 5th February, 2016
– ©David L Page 25/02/2016
– updated©David L Page 05/03/2016
– updated©David L Page 01/05/2017
– updated©David L Page 21/08/2018
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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History Music Production Part 4a – DIY experimental practice influences Large Format Console Studios

CH2_Les Paul_Tracking Mary

(Paul, 2016)

Development of production techniques in mainstream popular music-making

The making of mainstream popular music has developed exponentially over the past five (5) decades, in terms of musical style, site (creative location), technology and workflow (Owsinski 2013, Huber and Runstein 2013; Izhaki 2013; Gilreath, 2010). As a flow on from both globalisation and technological development, hybridity in mainstream music-making is ever increasing. Musical styles in mainstream popular music draw upon an ever-widening lineage of musical style influences (McLaughlin & McLoone 2000, 187, 190,192, 193). The trend of hybridity, innovation and adoption of technologies and workflows from other approaches to music-making however is not new to the roots-based approach to music-making.
Throughout the 1900’s there was continual experimentation and inventiveness in the industry, enabling a recording industry to develop to what it is today. However, it was in the late 1940’s that saw a noticeable change to the approach to music-making, by a musician who was motivated by trying to make his guitar-playing sound more textured that what it sounded as a single instrument. As a guitarist in the 1950’s, Les Paul experimented in his home with low-level recording devices[1], recording and over-dubbing guitar parts (Théberge 2004). Paul experimented with, adopting principles that he had observed in other music-making approaches[2], and applying them in new and innovative ways. Paul has been attributed with the mantle of the first modern recording engineer, using the recording process in the studio for creative effect. Paul’s experiments with tape players and the “placements of recording and playback heads“ enable him to multi-track his guitar parts with just one tape recording device (Moorefield 2005,4). Further experiments placing playback heads behind the recording head revealed out of sync playback, “resulting in now-standard effects such as phasing, flanging, chorus, and delay”(Moorefield 2005,5). The results enabled Paul to have his electric guitar recordings appear more layered, more complex, more textured. Paul went on to achieve considerable commercial success as both an artist (guitarist) and a recording engineer.
Phil Spector + Larry Levine_SoS.20170428
(Sound on Sound 2017)
A few years later, American Phil Spector reimagined Paul’s creative process, creating his own recording workflow. Spector progressed Paul’s legacy by using studio and musical equipment he had access to, in ways the manufacturers had originally designed for them to be used. However unlike Paul, Spector saw the potential of his role as more than just an engineer. Developing his own unique approach to production, Spector saw the role of producer as being in control of the creative process, in control of the artist. In the Spector model, the artist was a commodity in the production process, where Spector was producing them:
“By taking total artistic control of a recording, Spector in fact redefined what it meant to produce a record” (Moorefield 2005, 12).
Spectors Wall of Sound_The Wrecking Crew
(MPR News 2016)
Spector looked beyond the previous generation’s approach to production, to merely capture traditional band format instruments for inclusion on the recording. Spector immersed himself in the newly envisaged role of creative producer, exercising curiosity and adventure in every aspect of the production process. Unlike his predecessors, Spector was inventive with his approach to instrumentation, arrangement, production and post-production processes:
“He handles the control dials like an electronic maestro, tuning various instruments or sounds up, down, out, every which way, using things like two pianos, a harpsichord and three guitars on one record; then re-recording the whole thing with esoteric dubbing and over-dubbing effects—reinforcing instruments or voices—coming out with what is known throughout the industry as “the Spector sound.” (Wolfe, 43 in Moorefield 2005, 10)
Spector with console_1960's
(Guerrieri, 2016)
As one of the earliest examples of a commercially successful creative producer[3], Spector composed a musical and sonic wall of sound[4] – multi-layered, complex-textured productions – more than what had been created previously. Spector’s approach to the production process was:
not just with the overdub and mix, but also by using the studio as an acoustic space, certain microphones, and unconventional instrumentation”(Tankel 1990).
Spector approached the studio as that of a composer, using the studio and any musical and sonic equipment within, to create an extravagant music and sonic production experience for the listener[5].
“the studio was a musical instrument, to be tuned and practiced on and performed with. The degree to which he took this idea was considered excessive by some at the time” (Moorefield 2005,14).
In just a few short years, Spector had established a new legacy for the recording industry. Spector developed the definition of a record producer, and the approach to production
Spector Album_The Wall of Sound
(Spector 1981)
“Whereas the craft of the studio technician and producer had formerly been to create for the home listener a perfected version of an artist, band, or orchestra in concert, the rules of the game were now changing: the object was no longer to create a flawless “real-life” experience, but rather to use the available technological resources imaginatively in order to create sounds that were no longer functioning within the metaphor of realism which had previously been the norm. Thus, by the mid-sixties, “manipulating technology” had come to encompass a whole lot more than mic placement or fader levels (Moorefield 2005,15-16).
Turning Songs into Records: The Many Roles of Producers in Popular Music (PBS Learning Media, 2017)
Once Spector had some success in the US, he moved to the UK to and it is here where his multi-layered, complex-textured approach to production influenced British artists and the UK production scene. George Martin and the Beatles embraced the experimental approach to production, exercising curiosity and adventure in every aspect of the production process. The Beatles, Martin and his studio engineer Geoff Emerick became very inventive with instrumentation, arrangement, production and post-production processes (Emerick & Massey 2007, pp6-14). Tape recorders and creative processing was explored to full effect, inheriting the legacy and techniques from both Spector and Paul. Again in their first experimentation into psychedelic style music production with “Tomorrow Never Knows”, Lennon’s voice has a hallucinogenic quality:
“This effect was achieved by an early use of a tape recorder’s record head being used for playback as well as recording. When played back in combination with the signal from the playback head, the gap between the two heads created a delay which could be time-varied according to the speed at which the tape was played back. This is the same principle used by the once widely popular effects unit known as the Echoplex.   (Moorefield 2005, 31)
Tomorrow Never Knows_Lennon+McCartney_sheet music
(Lennon McCartney 1966)
However, Martin did innovate the workflow one step further: “a number of tape loops …. are featured prominently in the song and give it its unique character”. Martin then used each of the channels on the studio console to highlight these loops by raising the volume of each, one at a time. Much like a musician could do on an electronic organ, Martin was now using equipment within the recording studio as a musical instrument (Moorefield 2005, 30).
[1] Paul was experimenting with some of the earliest forms of domestic tape players available.
[2] I will discuss the influence other approaches to music-making had on roots-based music-makers such as Les Paul, in a later section on experimental music-makers
[3] Perhaps the best example of Spector’s production approach was with the 1963 global hit by The Ronnettes, “Be My Baby” (Moorefield 2005,12).
[4] Spector became famous for his production approach, know as the Spector ‘Wall of Sound’ (Moorefield 2005,14).
[5] Other musicians and composers were experimenting with music and sonic production experience for the listener – such as John Cage , but were not realising the same degree of commercial success.
onion-layers
This blog will continue next month with History of Music Production Part 4b – Experimental practice changes the approach to mainstream music production  (Page 2016).
References
Emerick, Geoff and Howard Massey. 2007. Here, there and everywhere: my life recording the music of the beatles. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
Gilreath, Paul. 2010. The guide to midi orchestration. 4th ed. Oxford: Focal.
Guerrieri, Matthew. 2016 Via Spector and serendipity, the harpsichord invaded pop  Image courtesy of Boston Globe  Accessed 16th March, 2016
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2013. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Izhaki, Roey. 2013. Mixing audio: concepts, practices and tools. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal.
Lennon, John & Paul McCatney. 1966 Tomorrow Never Knows. 45rpm Parlophone label. Image courtesy of Northern Songs
McLaughlin, Noel and Martin McLoone. 2000. “Hybridity and national musics: the case of Irish rock music.” Popular Music 19 (2): 181-199.
Moorefield, Virgil. 2005. The producer as composer: shaping the sounds of popular music. London: MIT Press.
MPR News, 2016. Phil Spector Wall of Sound Accessed 16th March, 2016
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March, 2015
Owsinski, Bobby. 2013. The mixing engineer’s handbook. Boston: Cengage learning.
Page, David L. 2016. History of Music Production Part 4b – Experimental practice changes the approach to mainstream music production Accessed 5th March, 2016
Paul, Les. 2016. Les Paul tracking Mary Paul  Courtesy of Les Paul.com.  Accessed 20th February, 2016
PBS Learning Media, 2017. Turning Songs into Records: The Many Roles of Producers in Popular Music   Video courtesy of PBS Learning Media. Access 1st May, 2017
Sound on Sound, 2017 Classic Tracks – Ronettes – Be My Baby  Image courtesy of Sound on Sond.com magazine. Access 1st May, 2017
Spector, Phil. 1981. Wall of Sound Vinyl LP Phil Spector International label  Image courtesy of Discogs  Accessed 20th February, 2016
Tankel, J.D., 1990. The practice of recording music: Remixing as recoding. Journal of Communication, 40(3), pp.34-46.
Théberge, P., 2004. The network studio: Historical and technological paths to a new ideal in music making. Social Studies of Science, 34(5), pp.759-781.
– ©David L Page 20/02/2016
– updated ©David L Page 16/05/2016
– updated ©David L Page 01/05/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2b

My journey continues….

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020

(Page 2014)
This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: 5th Observation Part b

Whilst I was making headway with the development of my music praxis – significant headway in my opinion – , my actual production plan still did not have the degree of clarity I had hoped for after four (4) weeks. I therefore decided to go through each step of my Praxis v5a in terms of my production process, deliberately and systematically.
DLP DCI Praxis v5a.20160131.P2
Figure I – Praxis v5a (Page 2016b)
In following this process I made my 5th Observation.
5th Observation.P5e.renamed
Figure II – 5th Observation (Page 2017)
 Practice….20171230.P2b

Practice

Of the five (5) stages of practice, I was in the first stage of creative practice: the creative stage.
  1. Creative Stage
  2. Pre-production Stage
  3. Production Stage
  4. Post-Production Stage
  5. Distribution Stage
 In the creative stage, I brainstormed a number of Project 1 creative ideas based on my project brief. The five (5) track EP was to be representative of some aspect of my life: past, present or future envisioning.
Musical style
The next element listed in my Praxis 5a was musical style. I reflected on what styles of music I had and hadn’t engaged in over the course of my life. I referred to my music influences chart (as introduced in a previous blog) to reflect on these. One musical style of passion that I had never attempted, was psychedelic rock. I decided I needed to explore this style more than I had done previously.
Psychadelic Rock image_Ultimate Guitar.com.png
Psychedelic Rock
Bands such as the Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Who, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Jimi Hendrix – to name a few very successful artists – experimented with recording and production techniques during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s (Moore 2012). Technology was developing exponentially (large format consoles and analogue hardware devices); there was a US-citizen generated global social movement (aka the peace movement) protesting the allied forces involvement in the Vietnam war; and it became quite common practice amongst the youth, and their icons – artists and musicians – to engage in recreational drug taking (typically, marijuana and hallucinogenics such as LSD) (Théberge 2012; Théberge 1997; Lewisohn 2010). I knew from my years of listening – firstly, holistically as a fan, and then more from an analytical and critical listening[1] point of view as my interest in both music and audio developed (Moylan 2007, pp73-81; Vella and Arthurs 2003, 30; Everest 2007; Corey 2010), psychedelic rock used musical forms and audio processing in distinctly different ways to folk and pop songs.
“Monotonic songs were becoming increasingly popular in those early, heady days of psychedelia; I suppose they were meant to be listened to while you were stoned, or tripping. To my mind, that was really the only way they could be appreciated” (Emerick & Massey 2007, 8).
Psychedelic rock was innovative in the era. In addition to the simple musical form, psychedelic rock relied on analogue processing devices and experimental techniques, using new pieces of equipment, and existing equipment in ways they weren’t necessarily originally designed by the manufacturers to be used (Ryan & Kehew 2006; Moore 2012, 143). Such experiments were often the result of pure creativity as was the case with many artists of the era. For example, Peter Townsend in the creation of “Baba O’Riley” (The Who 1971) [2]. Townsend used a new technological device – a sequencer – to develop a hypnotic rhythmic pattern that was stylistically congruent with the genre of psychedelic music. However, more inventive creative practice included use of pre-recorded tape, spliced together in altered ways for interesting effect, slowed down to half speed, or sped up to sometimes double speed, reversed; or with multiple tape players connected in series, or multiple heads placed on the one tape player, in order to create experimental and ambient sonic and musical characteristics (The Who 2007; Lewisohn & McCartney 2005, Ryan & Kehew 2006).
My musical influences
Having developed my musical influences as noted in an earlier blog, I scoured over the chart, and highlighted three particular artist names who ventured into what I considered to be psychedelic rock:
  • The Beatles
  • Pink Floyd, and a lesser known artist around a similar era in Australia,
  • Russell Morris[3]
Early Beatle influences were the three albums, 1966’s “Revolver” (The Beatles 1966) [4], 1967’s “Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (The Beatles 1967) [5], and 1968’s “White Album” (The Beatles 1968) [6].
The first of the these albums “Revolver” had one song on it which has become known as a significant turning point for the Beatles:
“Tomorrow Never Knows” [7] was a total departure from anything the Beatles had attempted before. The song consists of three main elements: the hypnotic, riveting ostinato of Ringo Starr’s drums, coupled with the bass, unchanging throughout the entire song; a well-selected assortment of tape loops fed to the faders of a mixing console; and John Lennon’s vocal” (Moorefield 2005, 30).
Having almost exhausted themselves with the hectic touring schedule they had maintained over a number of years, the Beatles were in the process of making a conscious decision to do more in the studio. The band and its management believed they were now positioned to maintain their global popularity through album sales alone, without the necessity to tour and perform (Lewisohn 2010; Everett 1999, Ryan & Kehew 2006, 410). The artists therefore were to have more time in the studios, became more involved in the productions, and “experimented with abandon” (Moorefield 2005, 29). In the case of the Beatles, often the inventive creative practice occurred as a result of a directive by the artist of the producer to achieve a sound they could hear in their heads, but unsure of how they could achieve it with the available technology:
“But my musical tastes didn’t matter here: my job was to give the artist and producer the kinds of sounds they wanted. So my ears perked up when I heard John’s final direction to George “….and I want my voice to sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop, miles away” (Emerick & Massey 2007, 8)[8]
Another major influence on my self was Pink Floyd. My brother was older, and as such had been quite strongly influenced by the social movements. He bought a number of their albums over the previous decade, at an age when I was still developing my musical ear. Pink Floyd produced many albums that I have since listened to – either directly in my household, or via friend’s. However, the most significant album for me remains 1973’s “Dark Side of the Moon”[9].
Dark Side of the Moon_Pink Floyd.1973
“I recall many nights, laying on my beanbag in my downstairs bedroom, door shut, overhead room lights off. Some small desk lamps in the corners – complete with coloured cellophane.
My gramophone player was on, and I embarked on a journey….
I gave in to the moment, closed my eyes, and allowed my self to be transported to the unknown….
I was wandering, no idea of what time or space I was heading to… I was being transported around the galaxy on a musical and sonic tour.
I floated on the music and sonic textures, as it carried me to another time, to another space..
There was so much to focus in on… at any time, within any space…
Clocks ticking, voices chanting, sonic soars to the left, sonic soars to the right….
The musical and sonic soundscape lifted me, and propelled me to far away stratospheres and universes.
I was travelling, by my self, in a time and to places no one else knew existed.
I was travelling in a time and to a place, where no one else existed…. I was travelling in a time and a place, where no one else could reach me….
This was my time – every when time, and a place – every where place.
I was alone, but not lonely….
There was no one else here to tell me what I should be doing….
In that moment in time – listening, exploring, time travelling – I was independent, I was in charge of my own destiny…
In that moment in time and space, I was me…
In that moment in time and space, I was capable of doing anything.….” (Page 2016c).
More exploration required
I decided the need to explore “Dark Side of the Moon” further in terms of equipment and production process as this juncture, in order to get some more insight as to how I might go about producing a psychedelic styled EP. In addition to listening to the album, I investigated literature such as Reising (2005) [10]. He spoke more of the intended aesthetics, and whilst this was useful for me to gain a better understanding of what – in the opinion of the authors – made this album psychedelic, it was not the specifics I was in search of. I therefore turned to more industry-based textual readings for insight of what I may not have yet realised or discovered about this particular album. In articles by Harris (2005) [11], Massey (2000) [12], Parsons (1975) [13], Price (2015) [14] and Gallagher (2012) [15] – generally from interviews of the engineer of this album, Alan Parsons – they listed significant pieces of equipment used and detailed various aspects of the production process.
I had a long history of Alan Parson’s personal works through albums that I and a friend had, namely:
  • Tales of mystery and imagination[16];
  • I Robot[17];
  • Pyramid[18];
  • Eve[19];
  • On The turn of a friendly card[20] ;
  • Eye in the sky[21].
I was therefore quite familiar with Parson’s multi-layered arrangements and arrangement style. The pieces of equipment mentioned in these articles were of specific microphones, synthesisers, instruments and amplifiers used. However, most importantly, the articles discussed a number of production techniques that I was familiar with, that had become standards practice in contemporary music-making. However, standard practice that did not necessarily rely on acoustic instruments or typical live-guitar performance devices[22]. I knew how many of these musical and sonic tones could be achieved, but through the virtual world of instruments and samples. I could not see at this stage, how I could recreate any of these psychedelic-style musical and sonic tones through the external hardware device options I currently had in my live rig, or had access to.
onion-layers
Footnotes
[1] For HE Bachelor of Audio Trimester 3 level introduction to critical listening analysis, please see: https://davidlintonpage.com/2015/04/10/critical-listening-part-3 (Page 2015a)
[2] The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” on the album “The Kids Are Alright” (Who, 1971) was produced by the Who, with the assistance of well known engineer and Glyn Johns as the associate producer.
[3] For a HE Creative Media degree Trimester 1 introductory blog about the influence Russell Morris had on me as a young person, please see my 2014 blog: https://davidlintonpage.com/2014/10/05/music-practitioner-pt-2-what-brought-me-here (Page 2014; Wikipedia. 2014; The Real Thing 2014a,2014b).
For HE Bachelor of Audio Trimester 2 level critical listening analysis of the same Russell Morris song, please see my 2015 blog: https://davidlintonpage.com/2015/03/12/critical-listening-part-2b (Page 2015b)
[4] Beatles, The. 1966. Revolver. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
[5] Beatles, The. 1967. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
[6] Beatles, The. 1968. White Album. Apple Records. Vinyl LP.
[7] “Tomorrow Never Knows” was a song on the Beatle’s album “Revolver” (Beatles 1966). In addition to numerous other sources, Mastropolo reported on this in his article “THE DAY THE BEATLES KICKED OFF THE ‘REVOLVER’ SESSIONS WITH ‘TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS’  Accessed 6th April, 2016.
[8] John Lennon’s challenge of Sir George Martin in the Beatle’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” song, on the album “Revolver” (Beatles 1966)
[9] Floyd, Pink. 1973. Dark side of the moon. Harvest. Vinyl LP.
[10] Reising, Russell. 2005. Speak to me: the legacy of Pink Floyds The dark side of the moon, Ashgate popular and folk music series. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Company.
[11]Harris, John. 2005. The dark side of the moon: the making of the pink floyd masterpiece. Cambridge, USA: Da Capo Press.
[12] Massey, Howard. 2000. Behind the glass I: top record producers tell how they craft the hits. Vol. 1. Berkeley: Hal Leonard Corporation.
[13] Parsons, Alan. 1975. “Four sides of the moon”. In Studio Sound. Croydon: Link House Publications.
[14] Price, Andy. 2015. “The Making of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.” Article. Accessed Feb 4 2016. http://www.musictech.net/2015/06/landmark-productions-pink-floyd-the-dark-side-of-the-moon.
[15] Gallagher, Mitch. 2012. “Studio legends: Alan Parsons on “Dark Side of the Moon”. Accessed Feb 4 2016. http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Studio_Legends_Alan_Parsons_on_Dark_Side_of_the_Moon.
[16] Parsons, Alan. 1976. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On Tales of mystery and imagination, Alan Parsons. Mercury. Vinyl LP.
[17] Parsons, Alan. 1977. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On I Robot, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
[18] Parsons, Alan. 1978. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On Pyramid, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
[19] Parsons, Alan. 1979. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On Eve, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
[20] Parsons, Alan. 1980. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On The turn of a friendly card, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
[21] Parsons, Alan. 1982. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On Eye in the sky, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
[22] There is generally a distinction made between guitar-based effects and processing devices used in typical live performance scenarios, and studio effects and processing devices used within studio environments and tracking/recording scenarios.
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study Part 2c (Page 2016d). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Beatles, The. 1968. White Album. Apple Records. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1967. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1966. Revolver. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1966. “Tomorrow Never Knows”, off The Beatle’s album “Revolver”. Parlophone.  Vinyl LP.
Corey, Jason. 2010. Audio production and critical listening: technical ear training. Oxford: Focal Press.
Emerick, Geoff and Howard Massey. 2007. Here, there and everywhere: my life recording the music of the beatles. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
Everest, F Alton. 2007. Critical listening skills for audio professionals. Boston: Thomson Course Technology.
Everett, Walter. 1999. The Beatles as musicians: Revolver through the Anthology: Oxford University Press, USA.
Floyd, Pink. 1973. Dark side of the moon. Harvest. Vinyl LP.
Gallagher, Mitch. 2012. “Studio legends: Alan Parsons on “Dark Side of the Moon”. Accessed Feb 4 2016. http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Studio_Legends_Alan_Parsons_on_Dark_Side_of_the_Moon.
Gilreath, Paul. 2010. The guide to midi orchestration. 4th ed. Oxford: Focal.
Harris, John. 2005. The dark side of the moon: the making of the pink floyd masterpiece. Cambridge, USA: Da Capo Press.
Kemp, Anthony E. 1996. The musical temperament. New York: Oxford University Press.
Lewisohn, Mark. 2010. The complete Beatles chronicle: the definitive day-by-day guide to the Beatles’ entire career. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
Lewisohn, Mark and Paul McCartney. 2005. The complete Beatles recording sessions: the official story of the abbey road years 1962-1970. New York: Bounty books.
Massey, Howard. 2000. Behind the glass I: top record producers tell how they craft the hits. Vol. 1. Berkeley: Hal Leonard Corporation.
Mastropolo, Frank. 2016. “The Day The Beatles Kicked Off The ‘Revolver’ Sessions With ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’  Accessed 6th April, 2016.
Moore, Allan F. 2012. Song means: analysing and Interpreting recorded popular song, Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Moorefield, Virgil. 2005. The producer as composer: shaping the sounds of popular music. London: MIT Press.
Moylan, William. 2007. The art of recording: the creative resources of music production and audio. 2nd ed. Boston: Focal Press.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2017. Figure II – 5th Observation image courtesy of David L Page Created 10th June, 2017
Page, David L. 2016d. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2c Accessed 29th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016c. Doctoral Pilot Study iNotes Accessed 17th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016b. Figure I – Praxis v5a image courtesy of David L Page. Created 31st January, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1f Accessed 17th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2015b Critical Listening Part 3 Accessed 17th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2015a Critical Listening Part 2b  Accessed 17th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2014b Music Practitioner Part 2 – What brought me here Accessed 17th February 2016
Page, David L. 2014a image courtesy of David L Page Created 15th December, 2014
Parsons, Alan. 1982. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On Eye in the sky, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
Parsons, Alan. 1980. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On The turn of a friendly card, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
Parsons, Alan. 1979. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On Eve, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
Parsons, Alan. 1978. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On Pyramid, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
Parsons, Alan. 1977. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On I Robot, Alan Parsons. Arista. Vinyl LP.
Parsons, Alan. 1976. “Alan Parson’s Project.” On Tales of mystery and imagination, Alan Parsons. Mercury. Vinyl LP.
Parsons, Alan. 1975. “Four sides of the moon”. In Studio Sound. Croydon: Link House Publications.
Practice image courtesy of David L Page Accessed 4th February, 2016
Price, Andy. 2015. “The Making of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.” Article. Accessed Feb 4 2016. http://www.musictech.net/2015/06/landmark-productions-pink-floyd-the-dark-side-of-the-moon.
Psychedelic Rock image courtesy of Ultimate Guitar.com  Accessed 5th February 2016
Reising, Russell. 2005. Speak to me: the legacy of Pink Floyds The dark side of the moon, Ashgate popular and folk music series. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Company.
Ryan, Kevin and Brian Kehew. 2006. Recording the Beatles: the studio equipment and techniques used to create their classic albums. London: Curvebender.
Self image courtesy of David L Page Accessed 4th February, 2016
Théberge, Paul. 2012. “The end of the world as we know It: the changing role of the studio in the age of the internet.” In The art of record production: an introductory reader for a new academic field, edited by Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, 77-90. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
Théberge, Paul. 1997. Any sound you can make: making music/consuming technology. Hanover: University Press of New England.
Wikipedia. 2014. The real thing (Russell Morris)   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Real_Thing_(Russell_Morris_song)  Accessed 4th October, 2014.
The Real Thing 2014b. article courtesy of: The Real Thing Accessed 4th October, 2014.
The Real Thing 2014a. video clip courtesy of: The Real Thing  Accessed 4th October, 2014.
Vella, Richard and Andy Arthurs. 2003. Sounds in space, sounds in time: projects in listening, improvising and composing. Vol. 2. London: Boosey & Hawkes.
Who, The. 2007. Amazing journey: the story of the who. Universal Pictures. DVD.
Who, The. 1971. “Baba O’Riley” off the album The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright”
– @David L Page 17/02/2016
– updated @David L Page 29/02/2016
– updated @David L Page 10/06/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2a

My journey continues….

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020

(Page 2014)
This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: 5th Observation Part a

Whilst I was making headway with the development of my music praxis – significant headway in my opinion – , my actual production plan still did not have the degree of clarity I had hoped for after four (4) weeks. I therefore decided to go through each step of my Praxis v5a in terms of my production process, deliberately and systematically.
DLP DCI Praxis v5a.20160131.P2
Figure I – Praxis v5a (Page 2016b)
In following this process I made my 5th Observation.
5th Observation.P5e.renamed
Figure II – 5th Observation (Page 2017)
Of the five (5) stages of practice, I was in the first stage of creative practice: the creative stage.
  1. Creative Stage
  2. Pre-production Stage
  3. Production Stage
  4. Post-Production Stage
  5. Distribution Stage
 In the creative stage, I brainstormed a number of Project 1 creative ideas based on my project brief. The five (5) track EP was to be representative of some aspect of my life: past, present or future envisioning.

SELF….20171230.P1.png

Self

The 1st element of praxis that was accounted for was, self: a representative aspect of my life. I therefore needed to focus on my self motive for practice: why I was wanting to do what I did in music-making.
Motive/s for practice
In terms of the second (2nd) element of praxis, my motives for practice within this Doctoral Pilot Study was that of (but not restricted only to):
  1. Discovery: accepting music-making practice as a medium to explore – attempting to understand something which I hadn’t understood previously; deriving pleasure from discovering something new (Csikszentmihalyi 1996, 109);
a second motive was:
  1. Technical: accepting music-making practice as a medium to practice my craft, and to develop my craft skills technically;
a third motive was:
  1. Affective: accepting music-making practice as a technology for emotional construction within both the artist/performer and the listener (Denora 2001, 168). I also understood emotions would guide my decisions in music-making and therefore I needed to acknowledge this third motive was potentially both a conscious and an unconscious motivator (Appelhans & Luecken 2006, 229).
a fourth motive was:
  1. Aesthetic: accepting music-making practice as a technology to generate an aesthetic experience for the artist/performer and the listener (Denora 2001, 168; Csikszentmihalyi & Robinson 1990, 7).
a fifth motive was:
  1. Creative: accepting music-making practice as a technology to engage in creative flow, following a creative process of preparation, incubation, insight, evaluation and elaboration (Csikszentmihalyi 1996, pp 79-80).
and a sixth motive was:
  1. Social: accepting music-making practice as a social – interactive – process between the artist/performer and the listener (Small 1998, 10; Denora 2001, 168). Additional to a motive for practice, I understood my need to also have a motive for the creative piece – the song. Since my re-connecting with music at university, I had found I was less inclined to engage in the practice of song-writing just for the sake of creating. I found I had to have a purpose to create, something to say: a message. I have for many years referred to this alignment of my motive to practice, and the output of the practice – the cultural production – as being congruent, or not. Taylor & Littleton (2012, 121) refer to this “fit or congruence between” the practitioner and the practice as “personalisation”.
I did not consider the remaining motives to be so relevant at this point in time for me. I wasn’t however discounting that they may become motives within this pilot study at any point in the future, as often was the case:
  1. Educational: to demonstrate specific music-making practice to my students, live or in preparation;
  2. Physical: to use music-making practice as a medium for physical expression, for exercise;
  3. Commercial: to use music-making practice as a medium for income generation purposes.
target
Focussed message for the creative production
It was now time to create, and therefore a question in my mind was:
  • what specifically was this to mean in terms of this specific composition?
  • what was my over-arching message for this Project 1 Pilot Study cultural production going to be? I knew from past experience that I had to decide on a Project 1 theme as early as I could, in order to move on in the process of creating. My intervention into my creative process seemed to abstract: it seemed too global. What was a more grounded motive, a more grounded message to be?
  • thirdly – attached to the element of motive – is that of song mood. What was the likely song mood to be? Happy? sad? focussed and directed? melancholic? dancy? jovial? (Kemp 1996, 2). I guessed it was likely going to be somewhat melancholic given the underlying theme of intervention as a result of years of frustration at being unable to realise my creative goals. But as I had not decided upon a creative practice message at this time, it was all a bit up in the air.
As per usual past practice when I was in this type of creative quandary, I turned to media for inspiration. An i-Note reflective journal entry at this time:
“Over the past few days, I have watched a number of videos, each of which I bought many years ago… And yet now – at this place and time – I am no longer inspired by these. ……” (Page 2016c)
Shortly after, another entry developed this idea:
Humans hoard things for tomorrow. Humans instinctively hoard things, originally food items, in readiness for tomorrow, preparing for a cold, hard winter when there was primitive housing and arduous weather conditions. My hoarding of music and movie DVDs was not perhaps for the yesterdays when I bought them, but for tomorrow, when I NEED them…..” (Page 2016c)
I was not connecting to an idea, so I scoured my book shelves, and even poured back through my many filing cabinet drawers of ideas. Still not one particular idea that stood out to me. I accepted that it was part of the creative preparation process , but was not without frustration. In order to progress the creative process without deciding on a message that I connected to, I felt I had other choice but to just move on, and take the next step in my Praxis 5a.
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study Part 2b (Page 2016d). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Appelhans, Bradley M and Linda J Luecken. 2006. “Heart rate variability as an index of regulated emotional responding.” Review of general psychology 10 (3): 229.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. 1996. Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Perennial.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Rick Emery Robinson. 1990. The art of seeing: an interpretation of the aesthetic encounter. Santa Monica: Getty Publications.
Denora, Tia. 2001. “Aesthetic agency and musical practice: new directions in the sociology of music and emotion.” In Music and emotion: theory and research, edited by Patrik N Juslin and John A Sloboda, 161-180. Oxford: 2001.
Kemp, Anthony E. 1996. The musical temperament. New York: Oxford University Press.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2017c. 3rd Observation image courtesy of David L Page. Created 17th May, 2017
Page, David L. 2017. Figure II – 5th Observation image courtesy of David L Page Created 10th June, 2017
Page, David L. 2016d. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2b Accessed 17th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016c. Doctoral Pilot Study iNotes Accessed 5th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2016b. Figure I – Praxis v5a image courtesy of David L Page. Created 31st January, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1f Accessed 5th February, 2016
Page, David L. 2014 image courtesy of David L Page Created 15th December, 2014
Practice image courtesy of David L Page  Accessed 4th February, 2016
Self image courtesy of David L Page  Accessed 4th February, 2016
Small, Christopher. 1998. Musicking: the meanings of performing and listening. Hanover: University Press of New England.
Target image courtesy of: Target Accessed 14th October 2010
Taylor, Stephanie and Karen Littleton. 2012. Contemporary identities of creativity and creative work. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited
– @David L Page 5/02/2016
– updated @David L Page 17/02/2016
– updated @David L Page 10/06/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1f

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

research

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: Beginnings Part 1f

cooltext170962165748837

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” [Bowie 2016].

Creative practice and identity

DIY Culture
Hartley refers to these inhabitants of the DIY cultural domain as DIY citizens:
“DIY citizenship harvests the same fields as DIY culture, but is not confined to spectacular subcultures or youth activism. It’s just as likely to occur among – for instance – suburban woman who have leisure to stay at home and browse the internet and who, it transpires are busy inventing senses of themselves..” (Hartley 2005, pp111-112).
Kuznetsov & Paulos and Prior refer to these inhabitants of the DIY cultural domain as the new amateurs. The new amateur seeks a wide range of interests with engaged commitment (Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010; Prior 2010). Interests are as wide and as varied as one can imagine. Of the more popular trends televised on commercial networks are: real estate-based activities such as renovation and landscaping; sport-based activities including team and solo rock-climbing, abseiling, mountain-biking, parachuting, to name but a few; leisure activities such as camping, trekking, travelling; and creative activities. Popular examples of creative activities include art and craft-based activities such as drawing, sculpture, pottery and glass blowing; fashion-based activities such as clothes and jewellery design and making; food-based activities such as cooking and cake decorating; IT games-based activities such as playing – solo, team and competing – and design; drama-based activities such as script-writing, acting, prop design and construction, and musical theatre; and music-based such as instrument-making, song-writing, production techniques and music-making. Having interviewed hundreds of people over a number of years regarding their creative activities, Csikszentmihalyi & Robinson found people engaged in such creative activities as listed above “because they enjoy what they are doing to the extent that experiencing the activity becomes its own reward” (1990, 7). However, the activities I have referred to here are somewhat traditional types of creative activities. Cultural consumption and production has continued to change significantly in the new millennium. Creative activities – creative practice – are no longer restricted to these types of activities (Taylor and Littleton 2012, 4). “An expanded and extreme set of creative practices is subverting well-understood categories of the arts and culture, collapsing the borders between traditional and the innovative, …… the everyday and the celebrity, the professional and the amateur” (Haseman 2005, 158). In analysing a range of contemporary creative practice, Haseman found the following five (5) characteristics worthy of a millennia definition:
  1. Creative practices involve interactivity;
  2. Creative practices are intrinsically hybrid;
  3. Creative practices embrace new sites and forms of cultural production;
  4. Creative practices are orientated towards multi-platform, cross-promotional means of distribution; and
  5. Creative practices are not approached as if they are commercially irrelevant[1] (Haseman 2005, pp167-169) 
Creative practice as an expression of self
McRobbie (1998, 103) believes that millennia practitioners engage in creative activities for intrinsic motives as Czikszentmihalyi & Robinson found. However, McRobbie progresses the conversation, finding creative practitioners in her study using their “creative work as an expressive extension of self”. More specifically, as Taylor & Littleton report: “creative work is a means of self-actualisation” – a medium for the creative practitioners to discover themselves, on the path to realising their full potential (McRobbie in Taylor & Littleton 2012, 31).
In terms of the range of creative practice, music-making is acknowledged in research as being significant in terms of the development of self. Hargreaves et al (2002) discuss how music facilitates self-expression and development, allowing the self to transform, and construct new identities. Frith (1996,124) argues that “Music constructs our sense of identity through the direct experiences it offers of the body, time and sociability, experiences which enable us to place ourselves in imaginative cultural narratives.” Bennett (2000, ii) concludes that “music is produced and consumed by young people in ways that both inform their sense of self and also serve to construct the social world in which their identities operate”.
The self and creative practice
Ryan develops the relationship between creative practitioners and self: Ryan considers creative practice to be not limited to an expressive extension of the self, but essential practice for creative arts practitioner to look deeper into the self:
“Self-awareness and identity are significant both in the study of the arts and in becoming an artist, as aesthetic inquiry and performance are constituted by subjective self-expression in relation to objective conditions” (Ryan 2014,77).
Velosa and Carvalho’s (2013) “Music Composition as a way of learning: emotions and the situated ‘self’ “ and Taylor’s (2008) “Pink Noise: Queer Identity and Musical Performance in a local context” both stress the importance of situating the self within the context of the creative practice interest, in order to study it. As do Taylor’s (2012) and Peraino’s (2006) studies of gender. Webber (2009) clearly reinforces these perspectives in “In music and in life: confronting the self through auto-ethnography” with his claim that it is necessary to situate the self within practice – in order to be very familiar with that practice – in order to properly understand and analyse that practice:
…. “without that familiarity, there is no validity at all. One cannot “situate” without intimate self-knowledge. One cannot analyse ethnographic material, auto or not, if the “subject” is unfamiliar or unconnected with their own experience. Ethnography of any name is about situating the individual experience within culture” (Webber 2009, 268).
Contemporary music-making praxis
Aside from the examples provided above, contemporary music-making practice is more often described and explained in contemporary music production textbooks in terms of technology, creative location, music style or suggested workflow; often as independent elements of music-making practice (Owsinski 2005; Owsinski 2013; Owsinski 2014; Owsinski 2010; Huber and Runstein 2014; Izhaki 2013; Gilreath, 2010). In just the short time I have engaged in this pilot study of my music-making practice, I have observed an interdependency of these elements. However, inclusive of the elements are both motive and self. I have observed questions of self arise during moments of reflection in my music-making practice, both on site and away from site. Further, I found that such reflections were actually beneficial to my practice, better preparing me for practice, refining my focus on the theme I was in need of, and as such was guiding my practice. By the end of the first month into my pilot study, I realised my Praxis was in need of a fundamental review. In Praxis version 4 (figure I below), I had laid out my practice on the left (blue section). Acknowledging my observation and reflection immediately following any questioning of my motive, I would spend some time away from my practice, within my self. As this process was always after practice, away from my practice site, I chose to place this pink section, to the right of my practice.
dlp-music-praxis-v4-large-with-lines-20151203-p1
Figure I – Praxis v4 (Page 2015)

Year 2016: 4th Observation

However, in after just four (4) weeks of engaging in this pilot study, I had now observed quite an alternative view. I had observed that the self was in fact driving my practice – preceding my practice, at the forefront of my practice. As such, I decided it would be more accurate to represent the self relative to the practice.
Figure II – 4th Observation (Page 2017)
In Praxis v5a (see figure III below) – within the first month of my doctoral pilot study – I now recognised the self was actually the lead element in practice, in effect driving my practice. I inverted the Praxis chart v5a to have the self represented in pink on the left, with motive in green, at the bottom, and with my music-making practice, represented in blue following on the right. Yes, I was now acknowledging that it was my self that was underpinning my practice. Not the other way around that I had assumed just four (4) weeks prior. This was a significant shift in how I had viewed my practice previously, where (for example in Praxis v4) my self was an element, but not necessarily driving my practice.
 DLP DCI Praxis v5a.20160131.P2.png
Figure III – Praxis v5a (Page 2016b)
The ten (10) elements of praxis v5a were now seen to be:
  1. Self
  2. Motive
  3. Song Mood
  4. Musical Style
  5. Reference Track
  6. Global Song Composition Style (process vs product)
  7. Likely specific song composition style workflow
  8. Technology
  9. Location
  10. Workflow

onion-layers

Footnotes
[1]I understand Haseman’s comment to be: creative practitioner’s approach in a commercially-minded way – focussed and committed as Rogers (2013) was quoted as finding in an earlier blog. I do not interpret Haseman’s point 5 to be that creative practice in the new millennia must be commercially self-sufficient.

onion-layers

This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2a (Page 2016c). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.

 

References
Bennett, Andy. 2000. Popular music and youth culture: music, identity and place. New York: Palgrave.
Bowie, David. 2016. David Bowie quote  Accessed 3rd January, 2016.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Rick Emery Robinson. 1990. The art of seeing: an interpretation of the aesthetic encounter. Santa Monica: Getty Publications.
Frith, Simon. 1996. “Music and identity.” Questions of cultural identity: 108-27.
Gilreath, Paul. 2010. The guide to midi orchestration. 4th ed. Oxford: Focal.
Hargreaves, DJ, D Miell and RAR MacDonald. 2002. “What are musical identities, and why are they important?” In Musical Identities, edited by RAR MacDonald, DJ Hargreaves and D Miell, 1-20. Oxford Oxford University Press.
Hartley, John. 2005. “Creative Identities.” In Creative Industries, edited by John Hartley, pp106-116. Carlton: Blackwell Publishing.
Haseman, Brad. 2005. “Creative Practice.” In Creative Industries, edited by John Hartley, 158-176. Carlton: Blackwell Publishing.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2014. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Izhaki, Roey. 2013. Mixing audio: concepts, practices and tools. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. “Rise of the Expert Amateur: DIY Projects, Communities, and Cultures.” In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
McRobbie, Angela. 1998. British fashion design: Rag trade or image industry? New York: Routledge.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Owsinski, Bobby. 2014. The mastering engineer’s handbook. 3rd ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Owsinski, Bobby. 2013. The mixing engineer’s handbook. Boston: Cengage learning.
Owsinski, Bobby. 2010. The music producer’s handbook. New York: Hal Leonard Corporation.
Owsinski, Bobby. 2005. The recording engineer’s handbook. New York: Hal Leonard Corporation.
Page, David L. 2017d. Figure II – 4th Observation image courtesy of David L Page. Created 17th May, 2017
Page, David L. 2016c. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2a Accessed 5th February, 2016.
Page, David L. 2016b. Figure III – Praxis v5a image courtesy of David L Page. Created 31st January, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 1e Accessed 31st January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2015. Figure I – Praxis 4 image courtesy of David L Page. Created 1st December, 2015
Peraino, Judith Ann. 2006. Listening to the sirens: musical technologies of queer identity from Homer to Hedwig. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Prior, Nick. 2010. “The rise of the new amateurs: Popular music, digital technology and the fate of cultural production.” Handbook of cultural sociology. London: Routledge: 398-407.
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 27th January, 2016.
Research image courtesy of: Research Accessed 28th January, 2016.
Rogers, I. 2013. “The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia.” In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Taylor, Jodie. 2012. Playing it queer: popular music, identity and queer world-making. Bern: Peter Lang.
Taylor, Jodie. 2008. “Pink noise: queer identity and musical performance in a local context.” Paper presented at the Music on the Edge: selected refereed papers from the 2007 IASPM-ANZ Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand. jaspm.org..au.
Taylor, Stephanie and Karen Littleton. 2012. Contemporary identities of creativity and creative work. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Veloso, Ana Luísa and Sara Carvalho. 2013. “Music composition as a way of learning: emotions and the situated self.” Musical Creativity: Insights from Music Education Research: Insights from Music Education Research: 73.
Webber, Colin. 2009. “In music and in life: confronting the self through auto-ethnography.” In Music ethnographies: making auto-ethnography sing – making music personal, edited by Brydie-Leigh Bartlett and Carolyn Ellis, 261-273. Bowen Hills: Australian Academic Press.
– ©David L Page 31/01/2016
–updated ©David L Page 5/02/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1e

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

research

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: Beginnings Part 1e

cooltext170962165748837

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” [Bowie 2016].

The self emerges as a focus of mine

For many decades I have asked questions of my self, though in isolation of my music-making practice. The earliest recollection of me considering my self commenced in my mid to late teens. Certain events occurred: first, the death of a close friend; followed a couple of years later with the passing of my adored grandfather. Spurred by a number of other circumstances, I made sudden and sweeping change to the trajectory my life was on. The change was mostly unconscious: impulsive would be an accurate description of my sudden change.
Studying business at higher education level
The following year I commenced University studies, being accepted into a business undergraduate course, with management and communication as my streams. Why a Business Degree[1]? Emotionally, it was as far removed from a trade and the people I had recent experience with, as I could go. Secondly, I looked to the business owners around where I was doing a trade, looked at the cars they were driving, the clothes they were wearing, and the houses they were living in. I compared the glimpse of their life, to mine. I wore trade clothes, crawled under grease and oil dripping cars all day, and then went home with grease and oil reminders in my hair, under my fingernails, and engrained in my skin. Often, I had the skin from my knuckles removed, and burns on my forearms from undoing rust frozen bolts around hot exhaust pipes. Thirdly, perhaps most significantly, I had received a lot of feedback that I had developed sense for certain aspects of business. I recall receiving regular feedback from peers and customers in my trade workplace regarding my skills in customer relations – reliable, trustworthy and competent. Additionally, I realised that I had an advanced sense for systems within engineering contexts, and the workplace[2]. Of course, in commencing a business degree I was also following the footsteps of my father who worked for a large US corporation at the time. My dad was a sales executive and our family entertained his peers regularly in our house in the evening, or on weekends. My dinner table and social conversation was discussing all aspects of business – macro and micro. 
Studying sociology
With central modules of sociology embedded into the curriculum every semester, I immersed myself in learning the “nature and development of society and human behaviour” (Hornby 2005, 1,453). Embracing the HE undergraduate experience, I sought answers to life. I recall taking full advantage of any research essay in exploring topics of my interest. These included what could be considered quite typical works within a Business undergraduate program such as that of Elton Mayo, Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor and William Ouchi (Robbins et al 2009, 51; Griffin 1996, 54); but also included the works of George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Singer 2001), and popular cultural works such as that of Eric Fromm (1997), Colin Wilson (1980), John Lennon (Wenner et al 1971) and George Harrison (Harrison & Taylor 2017). I also took advantage of the opportunity to explore other cultural values and beliefs systems such as Indian and Japanese philosophical approaches. I recall I was enquiring as to how cultures around the globe approached structuring society, and how the values and beliefs of the people within those cultures enabled them to function within the society. The more I read, the more I considered my own situation:
  • who am I?, and
  • what do I value and believe?
Abraham Maslow
Particularly influential for me at this time was the work of Maslow. Maslow proposed that all humans work through in their life, a hierarchy of five (5) needs. These were:
“physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation. In terms of motivation, Maslow argued that each step of the hierarchy must be satisfied before the next can be activated, and that once a need was satisfied it no longer motivated behaviour. Moreover, Maslow believed that self –actualisation – that is, achieving one’s full potential – was the summit of human being’s existence” (Robbins et al 2009, 51).
At that time in my life, in need of something to anchor my self, I recall making a conscious decision that the pursuit of achieving one’s full potential, was a worthy life pursuit. The more I explored the idea of self-actualisation, the more I read and considered motives across cultures, fields and disciplines, the more the idea of achieving one’s full potential resonated with me[3].

Focus on the self gains momentum as a social phenomenon

As outlined in blogs Doctoral Research Study – Parts 2a through 2e (Page 2015a), along with the rapid and broad technological changes of the past four (4) – five (5) decades, society has also significantly changed. Mechanisms such as social structure used to inform people as to their identities – who they were, and how they should view their self. As social structures in certain societies have changed, the need has arisen for members to review who they are, how they see themselves, and what they want out of their life:
“The ethic is individual self-fulfilment and achievement is the most powerful current in modern society. The choosing, deciding shaping human being who aspires to be the author if his or her own life, the creator of individual identity, is the central character of our time” (Beck in Taylor and Littleton 2012, 31).
The pursuit of improving lifestyle and image are now a focus of the inhabitants of the DIY cultural domain:
“Each person is engaged in shaping ‘who I am’, including through the construction of life narrative and the conscious presentation and manipulation of the external self. The later is presented through behaviours, bodily appearance and the many aspects of contemporary life which constitutes ‘lifestyle’ ” (Taylor and Littleton 2012, 31).

onion-layers

Footnotes
[1] A business base has provided me a very good base in understanding the business machinations of society. I have been involved in several businesses and organisational roles where my business qualification has greatly assisted my roles. In saying that, there were no Creative Media tertiary courses at the time. The closest type course was a Bachelor of Arts, or creative media-based trade courses. There were of course music programs, but they required entrance examinations along the lines of the formal AMEB music examination, of which I hadn’t ever studied/been trained in. The tertiary institution I attended was breaking new ground for tertiary institutions in Australia: one of the 1st examples of problem-based learning in Australia, with sociology and communication integrated within the curriculum. Understanding both sociology and communications has assisted me in just about every aspect of my life and practice since that time. Practice in the tertiary course’s group work allowed me to develop my soft skills, which has supported my growth and development in all aspects of practice.
[2]I had just spent four (4) years in an engineering trade, serving an apprenticeship. My experience was unusual, as I spent a considerable time running the service centre. This opportunity arose due to the high staff turnover within that organisation. As I was indentured for four (4) years, I could not leave without jeopardising my trade qualification. Additionally, as a motorcycle club member with the organisation that ran the Castrol 6 Hour Motorcycle Production race in Sydney, I was involved in developing systems for the scrutineering of the motorcycles to ensure compliance with the entry rules and regulatory requirements of that race.
[3]Self-actualisation is perhaps one of the few ideas that has remained with me over the past three (3) decades, irrespective of my location or practice.

onion-layers

This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1f (Page 2016c). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.

 

References
Bowie, David. 2016. David Bowie quote  Accessed 3rd January, 2016.
Fromm, Erich. 1997. To have or to be? New York: Continuum.
Griffin, RW. 1996. Management. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Harrison, George and Derek Taylor. 2017. I Me Mine: The Extended Edition. 2nd ed. Guildford: Genesis Publications.
Hornby, Albert Sydney. 2005. Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary. 7 ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2016c. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1f Accessed 31st January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2016b. Figure II – Praxis v5a image courtesy of David L Page. Created 31st January, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 1d Accessed 25th January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2015b. Figure I – Praxis 4 image courtesy of David L Page. Created 1st December, 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 2a Accessed 28th January, 2016.
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 27th January, 2016.
Research image courtesy of: Research Accessed 28th January, 2016.
Robbins, Stephen, Rolf Bergman, ID Stagg and Mary Coulter. 2009. Management 5. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.
Singer, Peter. 2001. Hegel: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Taylor, Stephanie and Karen Littleton. 2012. Contemporary identities of creativity and creative work. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Wenner, J, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. 1971. Lennon remembers: the Rolling Stone’ interviews [with John Lennon and Yoko Ono]. New York: Penguin.
Wilson, Colin. 1980. The new existentialism. Middlesex: Wildwood House.
– ©David L Page 28/01/2016
–updated ©David L Page 31/02/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1d

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

research

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: Beginnings Part 1d

cooltext170962165748837

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” [Bowie 2016].
As I continued on my Project 1 Doctoral Pilot Study, I took the next step to return to explore my practice.

Working in my practice

Once I had established the methods and tools to assist me in my research study as outlined in the previous blog, I was ready to again engage in practice. I believe I was now organised in terms of how I was going to gather and host the recorded data from my pilot study, ensuring reliability, transparency and in preparation for later synthesis and analysis.
Praxis v5
As I re-engaged in practice, I started at the beginning – the creative stage. This is the stage where I needed to clearly establish what creative work I was going to produce; what creative work I was inspired to produce. As outlined in Chapter 2, my original study problem was stated as:
  • why I felt connected to my music-making when using physical instruments, and why I largely had never felt connected to my music-making when using digital virtual technologies.
I therefore thought a good starting point for my Project 1 Research Pilot Study was to consider the six (6) elements of Praxis in turn:
  1. Musical Style
  2. Location
  3. Technology
  4. Workflow
  5. Motive
  6. Self
Questions arose
Numerous questions arose, some of which were:
·      what was I going to create?
·      what style of music would I make?
·      in which of the varied locations I have access to, would I choose for this Project 1 Pilot Study to be conducted?
The elements, and the relationship of the elements
In going through this process, I realised I was already starting to form an opinion about the interrelationships of these six (6) elements. For example, if I wanted to create a particular organic style of music – folk for example – this music style choice would suggest the types of locations to be able to satisfactorily capture the acoustic tones in an appropriate manner (for example, in a controlled studio environment). This location would then suggest what technology options may be available (for example, condenser or tube microphones, a range of pre-amps, equalisers, dynamic and time-domain processing I could have access to); which would in turn suggest a workflow. If I was to change any of these variables – for example the location – to for example a small club, and plan to record folk music in a live environment – then I would more than likely, need to reconsider the options of technology I employed, which may in turn suggest an alternative workflow.
In going through this initial process, I highlighted an additional four (4) elements that needed to be considered in greater detail:
  1. reference track,
  2. song mood,
  3. global song composition (process vs product), and
  4. likely specific song composition style workflow
The first of these – reference track – is something that I introduce to my HE audio students, beginning from Trimester 1. The reference track represents (see reference track blogs in mixing) the plan – the agreement as to what style of music I am to create, the instruments likely to be used, the arrangement and the tempo. The reference track would also suggest a mood of the song. Is it a love song? Is it a song about loss or longing? Or, is it a song about hope or victory?
I then considered what my approach to the composition process may be – that of product or process. Was I going to write to a pre-confirmed brief: an end-product approach? Or was I going to allow the song to organically develop: a process approach?
Finally, how was I going to commence the songs? Was I going to start with an instrument – the rhythm, the harmony, or the melody? Or was I going to start with the lyrics? (see specific song composition blog 2010).
Again, I realised that as I changed any of these elements, it had a flow on effect to what discrtiminatory choices I would make regarding the other elements within my developing praxis. In my mind, I was now gathering evidence of one of my initial questions regarding the relationships of the elements of praxis. There was increasingly evidence that there was an interrelationship between the now ten (10) elements of praxis.
The focus of my creative practice
In these early stages of creative process, it is important to develop clarity as to what the Project 1 Doctoral Pilot Study EP was to be about. In going through this consideration, I observed my self leaving the technical parameters of my music-making practice, in order to consider my motive for practice. What was my motive for making this particular EP? Yes – as I had stated in my Project brief – the Project 1 doctoral pilot study five (5) track EP was primarily to be both a discovery and educational process, allowing me to investigate to discover what I actually did in my music-making practice. However, it was the creative motive that I was most focussed on now: the creative motive. I had decided within my Project Brief that this Project 1 Research Pilot Study EP was to be ‘representative of some aspect of my life: past, present or future envisioning’. However, as it was now time to create, what specifically was this to mean in terms of a composition?
Connecting to my creativity
This part of the creative stage requires me to go into a state, which is quite uncomfortable for me. This is not a new process to me to go through. It is a usual step that I take to arrive at a place where I begin to engage in creative practice. I have learnt over years to be able to consciously place my self into this state. I start by turning my focus inward, and becoming very introspective. As I drop my self deeper into this state, I become more aware – firstly of my surroundings, and then progressively I realise a connection to memories – past events and emotions. Whilst in this internalised state I focus in on an issue or topic that I feel connected to – a personal or social issue or topic that resonates with my self. In order to maximise an authentic connection, I take my self deeper, and become progressively more introspective. I am looking for a place where I feel in tune with my self. In this place – in this state – I have clarity of thought, and am in touch with my feeling and emotions. From this place, I can access a range of life experiences and emotional states. This is my starting point in creative practice. I start to practice, streaming ideas surrounding these issues or topics, consciously onto a page (physical or virtual). I find in this state I can write furiously, and for long periods of time. I connect to my guitar from this place, whether in the writing stage, or literally, on a stage performing. I find in this state, my emotions are aligned with my motivational intent. It is almost as if the world slows down, and I can play what I need to play in order to express my self. Again, it can be a fast and furious expression, or a really slow and delicate expression. It depends upon the emotion I need to express. As mentioned, it is not uncommon for such states to last long periods of time. I also sing from this place – in this state – whether in the shower, at rehearsal, or on a stage performing. Once I arrive in this place – in this state – I realise a connection to an inner place: an inner space where authentic connection exists between what it is I want to express; and the creative expression.

cropped-pool_hp-v2-web.jpg

Creative streaming – aka Creative Flow
This was not a new process to me to go through, nor a new state for me to be in. I have placed my self here hundreds – possibly thousands – of times before over the past three (3) to four (4) decades. Csikszentmihalyi & Robinson refers to such a phenomenon as creative flow. Creative flow is said to hold the following criteria:
  • The practitioner’s attention is solely focussed on the creative practice;
  • the practitioner has “no awareness of past and future” – they are in the moment;
  • the practitioner has a “loss of self-consciousness and transcendence of ego boundaries”;
  • the practitioner requires “skills adequate to overcome challenges”;
  • the practitioner is intrinsically motivated, not requiring extrinsic rewards (1990, pp6-8)
From this place – in this state – I have demonstrated I can creatively stream prolifically, and for hours on end. When in an intensely prolific creative period, I have been known to remain in this type of state for three (3) to four (4) days at a time. I have become quite adept at dropping my self into this state, and when required, consciously pulling my self out of this state. However, it still did not minimise the discomfort I feel when in this state. My discomfort is revisiting and re-experiencing certain life experiences and emotional states. Sometimes the depth and rawness of those times and emotional states are more than I would have hoped to re-experience, at the time.
Gratitude 1
As a music-maker I have learnt that I need to be respectful of the creative energy process – be grateful for the ongoing opportunity to create – embracing the opportunity, allowing such creative energy to flow when it was ready to. I am well aware of times when I have not had the opportunity to creatively express – at times when I am starved for creative energy: when my ‘creative mojo’ evaporates. As a music-maker I feel this evaporation of creative energy is the equivalence of creative death. It is perhaps one of my greatest fears: to lose touch with my creative energy. For that reason, I embrace each and every opportunity for creative practice when creative energy avails itself. Even if that means experiencing discomfort in revisiting past events, or facing personal insecurities such as:
  • what is the message that I want to communicate in this composition?;
  • how am I going to realise the dual roles of subject (music-maker) and observer (pilot study researcher) effectively and efficiently?
  • will I be able to connect creatively within this pilot study situation, within the time frame?
  • what happens if I don’t connect creatively, effectively experiencing starvation of creative energy (ie writer’s block)?
  • what if?
  • what is it that I am trying to realise?
  • what is it that I trying to create?
  • what is it that I am trying to express?
  • who is it that wants to express?
  • that is, who am I as a music-maker? 
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1e (Page 2016b). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Bowie, David. 2016. David Bowie quote  Accessed 3rd January, 2016.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Rick Emery Robinson. 1990. The art of seeing: an interpretation of the aesthetic encounter. Santa Monica: Getty Publications.
Gratitude Image from:  Soulful power  accessed 14th January, 2015
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2016b. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1e Accessed 31st January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1c Accessed 6th January, 2016.
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 27th January, 2016.
Research image courtesy of: Research Accessed 28th January, 2016.
Water image courtesy of: David L Page’s About.me Accessed 20th September, 2014
– ©David L Page 25/01/2016
–updated ©David L Page 31/01/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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