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Title: Tortoise's TNT and In-Studio Composition
Authors: Meadors, Anna
Advisors: Tymoczko, Dmitri
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: Electronic Music
Music Composition
Post-Rock Music
Recording Studio
Subjects: Musical composition
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Much of the world’s music is collaboratively written, but in the Western Classical Tradition, the emphasis is often on the lone composer. Most of the music I listen to and love is collaborative, either a band working together to create an album, or composers who work closely with their ensembles. In addition, more and more musicians are, in Brian Eno’s words, using the recording studio as a compositional tool. The Digital Audio Workstation is a tool that allows for a more varied compositional practice.By analyzing Tortoise’s 1998 album TNT through the lens of the recording studio and post-production techniques as well as through genres that have heavily influenced their sound, I will interrogate their approach to creating music. Tortoise wrote, recorded, and self-produced TNT during a ten-month period in their own studio; they were able to create pieces from short ideas, structure them, and expand through layers and effects. Chapter 2 summarizes the general concept and practice for the whole album, and demonstrate that the first track, “TNT,” very carefully uses this in-studio process. Tortoise’s dub influence might not be immediately identifiable. However, examining the creative use of effects and mixing in classic dub tracks in Chapter 3, I argue that this influence can be heard in most of their music. “Ten-Day Interval” showcases their minimalism influence, and in Chapter 4 I will illustrate that this largely acoustic style of music has heavily guided not only their style, but their careful mixing and use of atmospheric effects. The electric period of Miles Davis and his producer Teo Macero are explored in Chapter 5, linking the tape splicing structural work done to create “Bitches Brew” to the structural work Tortoise did on the 21-minute track “Djed” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die), and their electronica suite on TNT. Tortoise’s varied production methods have directly influenced my composition process, which I describe in Chapter 6. Through using the recording studio and creative production techniques in my work, like Tortoise, I have been able to bring together my diverse influences and not only more fully express my musical ideas but expand them by finding and creating unexpected sounds and structures.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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