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Using music software in the compositional process: A case study of electronic music composition

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This study explores the compositional process of writing a song, using arranging, multitrack recording, amplifier modelling software and the student experiences of music composition in a non-conventional classroom. This case study centred on one student’s experiences with composition and music software. The student was 15 years old and studied guitar for four years. He received music theory instruction and composition lessons with the goal of increasing musical knowledge throughout the process. The application of the techniques acquired during weekly lessons were implemented by the student in the creation of the composition. The student was restricted from the use of commercial tracks or loops but to focus on the student’s creative product. The music teacher facilitated the student throughout the project offering guidance and suggestions. The student was allowed to compose freely without regard to the finished product by the teacher. The assignment of the composition project was to create an instrumental pop song. The student and the teacher reviewed the composition, discussed the various aspects of its design, and explored the construction of the finished product. The study concluded with the construction of a professionally recorded song with the use of quality sampled instruments from different music software programs. Recording the final song completed the student’s assignment.
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Keywords: composition; education; electronic music; music; music technology; software

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of South Florida

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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