Master's Thesis at the University of Colorado Denver


In December 2013, I graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a Masters of Science in Recording Arts. I attended UCD from Fall 2011 to Spring 2013, and then completed my Master’s Thesis in the Fall of 2013. My thesis explored the music composition technique known as musique concréte, which combines recording technology and music composition in an intriguing way. The idea of musique concréte is that recording media (such as analog tape or hard drives)  can be used as a means of composing music that requires no sheet music and no musicians. The recording medium becomes both the canvas for musical ideas and the means of “performing” the work.

For my thesis, I wanted to experiment with creating musique concréte, although I wanted to put a more contemporary twist on it. Originally, musique concréte compositions were created on acetate discs and then later – analog tape. There are definite limitations of both recording formats, so I wanted to explore creating musique concréte in the context of Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). The DAW is an extremely powerful and flexible tool. Where the limitations of recording technology were once more obvious, they now appear to be few and far between.

So for my compositions, I recorded a number of found sounds, musical instruments, and synthesizers. Some of the sound sources I captured can be seen in the pictures below. Gathering sounds took months and months of searching and recording. Once I had everything I needed, I sequenced and processed the recordings in Ableton Live, and then subsequently mixed and mastered each composition within Pro Tools 10HD. Take a listen!

Thesis Compositions: