"Knowing is Seeing:" The Digital Audio Workstation and the Visualization of Sound
Macchiusi, Ian Andrew
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The computers visual representation of sound has revolutionized the creation of music through the interface of the Digital Audio Workstation software (DAW). With the rise of DAW-based composition in popular music styles, many artists sole experience of musical creation is through the computer screen. I assert that the particular sonic visualizations of the DAW propagate certain assumptions about music, influencing aesthetics and adding new visually-based parameters to the creative process. I believe many of these new parameters are greatly indebted to the visual structures, interactional dictates and standardizations (such as the office metaphor depicted by operating systems such as Apples OS and Microsofts Windows) of the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Whether manipulating text, video or audio, a users interaction with the GUI is usually structured in the same mannerclicking on windows, icons and menus with a mouse-driven cursor. Focussing on the dialogs from the Reddit communities of Making hip-hop and EDM production, DAW user manuals, as well as interface design guidebooks, this dissertation will address the ways these visualizations and methods of working affect the workflow, composition style and musical conceptions of DAW-based producers.