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Illusions of liveness : producer as composer : an exegesis submitted to Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Musical Arts In Composition
The practise of creating music for the recorded medium has been a fluid and constantly changing
enterprise since its inception. Emergences of new studio technologies over the last fifty years
have spurred new cultures, philosophies and approaches to music production and composition,
ultimately seeing a merging of the once disparate roles of producer and composer.
It is this contemporary, technology-informed new role of producer-composer that brings with it
discussion - for much of which there is no general consensus - over issues pertaining to perceived
liveness, the producer-composer’s control over the resulting sound, and most contentiously the use
of music technology itself: its transparency and its legitimacy as substitutions for real
These are all fluid and complex issues and this paper does not attempt to provide
answers for, nor take a definitive stance on them other than in the sharing of opinions formed from
my own experiences in applying production as composition to the creative aspect of this project. In
this paper I seek to share some of the current discussion regarding production-as-composition, in
light of my own compositional experiment, which strives to create a simulation of real-performance
via almost entirely artificial means within an idealised, hyper-musical sonic environment. By
bringing together real musicians and virtual instruments within a recorded track and edited via
music production technology, the experiment aimed to produce an illusion of liveness.