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
Greg McCandless is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Appalachian State University.
Daniel McIntyre is Department Chair of Music Composition at Full Sail University.