Analogue rendering and digital imagining
: creative praxis in music studios

  • Holly Warner

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis examines creative process in musical composition and performance, posing the question – how do music-making individuals consider themselves artists? Engaging with composers and musicians, this thesis unpacks how individuals construct their artistic identities inside and outside the recording studio environment through the choices they make in creative practice. Based on sixteen months of fieldwork in studio spaces in Belfast, this thesis seeks to examine concepts of self, imagination in action, and physicality in performance through studio discourse. The fieldwork involved interviews with artists and performers, alongside observation of recording studio practice. Additionally, a creative and collaborative methodology engaged the author in a relationship of practice as research.

This thesis is comprised of four chapters, bordered by an Introduction, Prelude, Interlude and Conclusion. The first two chapters ground the reader in the recording studio environment, whilst the latter two deepen the examination of creative practice. A number of core themes emerge in this thesis: the importance of an anthropology of the creative process in the relations between the self and the social; the significance of defining an individual as artist through the crafting of a sonic signature; the method of collaboration to facilitate imaginative processes; and the role of technologies as implicated in the construction of artistic persona. This thesis draws on a collaborative methodology to combine the anthropology of sound, an anthropology of technology, and semiotics to explore how the artistic or sonic self is constructed and mediated through analogue and digital technologies. In conclusion, this thesis argues that the construction and development of an artistic identity is both highly individual and profoundly social, a complex relational
Date of Award2 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorNigel Julian Rapport (Supervisor)

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 13 November 2023

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