The Craft of Contemporary Commercial Music  book cover
1st Edition

The Craft of Contemporary Commercial Music

ISBN 9781138930629
Published August 2, 2017 by Routledge
492 Pages

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Book Description

In the contemporary world, the role of the commercial composer has grown to include a wide range of new responsibilities. Modern composers not only write music, but also often need to perform, record, and market their own works. The Craft of Contemporary Commercial Music prepares today’s music students for their careers by teaching them to compose their own music, produce it professionally, and sell it successfully.

The textbook integrates three areas of concentration—music theory and composition, audio engineering, and music business—allowing students to understand and practice how to successfully navigate each stage of a score’s life cycle from concept to contract. Students will learn how to:

  • Translate musical ideas into scores utilizing music theory and composition techniques
  • Transform scores into professional audio through the production stages of tracking, sequencing, editing, mixing, mastering, and bouncing
  • Market works to prospective clients

The textbook assumes no prior knowledge of music theory or audio topics, and its modular organization allows instructors to use the book flexibly. Exercises at the end of each chapter provide practice with key skills, and a companion website supports the book with video walkthroughs, streaming audio, a glossary, and printable exercise pages.

Combining a grounding in music notation and theory concepts with a foundation in essential technologies, The Craft of Contemporary Commercial Music offers an innovative approach that addresses the needs of students preparing for music careers.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Contemporary Commercial Composer and the Digital Audio Workstation

I. Fundamentals of Music and Audio

Ia: Fundamentals of Music

Chapter 1: Introduction to Pitch

Chapter 2: Introduction to Rhythm

Chapter 3: Introduction to Harmony

Chapter 4: Melody and Counterpoint

Ib: Fundamentals of Audio Engineering and Sequencing

Chapter 5: Introduction to Audio and MIDI

Chapter 6: Manipulating Rhythm in the DAW Environment

Chapter 7: Introduction to Acoustics

Chapter 8: Melodic Sequencing

II. Music Production Essentials

IIa. Composition Essentials

Chapter 9: Functional Diatonic Harmony

Chapter 10: Expanding Your Harmonic Vocabulary

Chapter 11: Form and Development

Chapter 12: Basic Orchestration

IIb. Audio Engineering Essentials

Chapter 13: Introduction to Mixing

Chapter 14: Recording and Editing Live Instruments

Chapter 15: Mixing and Processing

Chapter 16: Final Mix Considerations

III. Producing Music for Media

Chapter 17: The Client/Composer Relationship

Chapter 18: Scoring for Short-Form Media

Chapter 19: Scoring for Longer-Form Media

IV. The Business of Music Composition

Chapter 20: The Business of Music Composition

Appendix A: List of CC Messages and Their Associated Functions

Appendix B: Glossary

Permission Acknowledgments


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Greg McCandless is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Appalachian State University.

Daniel McIntyre is Department Chair of Music Composition at Full Sail University.