Archive for May, 2014

Some photographs of where i decided to shoot. Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre image-4 image-6 image-5




This is my final brief entry for Music & Visual Media. I am currently looking to develop my own production skills for the music i write. I created some story boards and tried to follow them as best i could. Upon the day of shooting i came across many minor issues that held me back and maybe with more planning and experienced advice i could get more out of a day of shooting. I could have done with a portable system to play my pre-recorded track whilst shooting, I could have used more than one camera for different points of view. I could have kept in time and made this video as if i were performing the track…

Using some improvisation i decided to make a montage of mixed footage but some of the sections in this video are my ideas for the future finalised video. By the end of the third year i plan on taking this first draft and developing the ideas. For the editing i have used some footage from youtube and my own footage.

This is my first attempt of using Final Cut Pro X. I really enjoyed this project however now i have accomplished the basic tools i wish to delve deeper by spending more time on it in the future.


Political Economy & Music

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Essay's.



This essay will analyze what political economy, pseudo-individualization and style over substance is. How vital a role they play in the structure of society and also industry, cross-referencing some examples of popular music artists, it will also discuss ideas of the future of music entertainment.


What is political economy?


According to juliannedcy the eighteenth century saw the birth of political economy because of scarcity. In her document she discusses how economics influence life in general and says..


’If there were no scarcity, you could have everything you want right now.’’

(juliannedcy, Link below)

In the 1800s government and traders were monitoring buying, and selling, laws and relations to general trade very closely. This monitoring took place because the demand for products in areas of the developing world was very quickly out weighing the means of production. Before the industrial revolution Art, Machines, masonry, joinery and all skills/crafts were given value, determined by how many years experience you had, how easy it was to acquire such goods and or how good a reputation you had built from your previous work. Your means of production would have been your hands, tools and or your artistic way of expressing your views, thoughts, ideas and feelings of the world past, present and future. After the industrial revolution the developed world became industrialized and means of production was greatly increased due to being able to generate products daily by the masses instead of the time, emotion and human skill gone into the craft before hand. Since the industrialization, artistic integrity, the uniqueness and originality have all been minimalized in favor of the mass production of a copy of a copy.


Means of production (m.o.p) is one of the members of a structure along side relations of production (r.o.p), side by side these are the bases holding up the superstructure we call the political economy. Culture, Art and Government are the three bodies being held up by these two bases in this economic system.

Government officials and traders found during the early studies that any changes occurring in any nations trade would witness a causal sequence of change in popular culture, then art, and then onto politics to help facilitate and bring order to culture. Overall this process is causing a push-pull effect on all ideologies of all parties, creating a self-sufficient and sustaining system. This system is still a vital player in the shaping of the western world today and through out generations to the present day, we see how post modernism has brought on a search for perfect form. The search for perfect form is standardization in its entirety, for as long as we live in a capitalistic society, the self-sufficient system we know as ‘political economy’ will probably transpire for generations.


Popular culture has shown to be determined by supply and demand… So if the demand is far greater than the means of production does this mean that true quality and or artistic credit is being undermined by standardization?


’The prosperity of popular culture is determined by consumer demand, while demand and supply of cultural commodities are also determined by the cultural confinement of the consumers’’

                                       (Handbook of Chinese Popular Culture)

                                        edited by Dingbo Wu, Patrick D. Murph   page 6



Pseudo-Individualization and Standardization


Popular culture, Art, Industry and Music are all standardized according to a study that came from Theodore Adorno. He was a leading member of the Frankfurt School set up in Germany in the 1920’s. The school, most famous for the analyzing of the culture industry concluded that…


’…The culture industry reflects the consolidation of commodity fetishism… It shapes the tastes and preferences of the masses, thereby molding their consciousness by inculcating the desire for false needs.’’

(Strinati, D (1995) p61


Adorno argues that capitalistic societies are blinded by the ‘free choice’ of which consumer brand to go with, their social and economic status and the desire to feel independent from the masses are the constant distractions orchestrated by elitists to keep the masses in line. The standardization in popular music is considered to be the general structures, tonalities and content. He makes it quite clear that there is an establishing difference between ‘serious music’ and popular music, generalizing the audience of popular music as ‘’childish’’ (Strinati, D (1995. P67) and subconsciously demanding the ‘’same meal’’ (Strinati, D (1995. P67.) simple melodies, structures and novelistic hook-lines.


Looking at popular music of the present day it’s not hard to distinguish the difference between categories known as ‘genres’ such as Rock, Pop, Indie, Hiphop and Dance are just a few examples . These are all mini industries within themselves generating millions every year in currency yet Adorno’s critical analysis portrays them all as ‘pseudo individualization’. Pseudo Individualization is only one concept under the umbrella of standardization alongside a predictable structure, infantile melodies and catchy repeated lyrics. Adorno makes reference to it all being a cover up to the masses to make-believe that the some what, standardized music has originality and an integral aesthetic to facilitate its sales and relation to the listener.


‘’Pseudo Individualization, for its part, keeps them inline by making them forget what they listened to is already listened to for them or ‘’pre-digested.’’

Adorno, T (1995 p308)




Ultimately this is a false sense of belonging seeing as the theories of standardization and ‘free choice’ suggest that only false needs are ever satisfied, as everything in regards to the product is the same in theory yet striving to have individuality through an aesthetic. Even aesthetics are used over and over, for instance the jazzy look of the hair pulled over one eye most recognizable being Gabrielle, but not forgetting Marylyn Monroe and Rhianna of more recent times. Lets also take the newly released track by Pitbull & Kesha named ‘Timber’. Here we have a ‘classic’ pop song derived of a 32bar chorus, 4 main chords, catchy infantile lyrics and a simple yet memorable melody line. The aesthetic is that of country and western setting, a saloon bar, daisy duke styled half naked ladies and a dance floor pace that’s bound to hypnotize the viewer even for just a short while. Sections of the melody line sounds familiar maybe nostalgic to the older listener, whilst at the same time satisfying the general conditioned cravings of the younger generation in popular culture with the pacey rhythm and sexual references through out the video. We see this is a repeated aesthetic used by a pop band called Steps, over a decade ago with their number one hit single 5, 6, 7, 8.


Style over Substance


The music industry is flooded with artists exploiting and being exploited by pseudo-individualization. On one hand we have the super commercial pop artists like Jessie J, Katy Perry, Justin Beiber, Mylie Cyrus and One Direction all under pressure to fit a specific aesthetic in relation to their target audience, which in turn creates culture, fashion statements and millions in revenue annually. Major record labels may apply pressure on the content, as they ‘know what sells’. The public or press may brand these artist’s sell-outs or puppets of ‘occult lead’ businesses as we only see the symbolic and sexually glamourized music videos, and lavish lifestyles that the media constantly promote. Some artists will dispute this claiming that their originality and integrity is theirs to own fully for example Metallica and Oasis, yet their very aesthetic is what we know them by such as the rebellious rock-star attitude with John Lennon style sunglasses and a lazy sounding voice. Or on the other hand the energetic heavy metal, power chords, angry style voice dressed in all black with hand gestures of a ‘Hell Yeah’ attitude.


‘’We increasingly consume images and signs for their own sake rather than for their usefulness or for the deeper values they may symbolize.’’

Strinati, D (1995 p225)


Some artists in the past have exploited this to their own advantage by confidently creating and stepping into alter-ego aesthetics for example Lady Ga-ga’s range of outstanding and sometimes political statements through her visual art, Slim Shady and Ziggy Stardust also. The aesthetical impact these examples have on the general public gives them the illusion of individualization (Strinati, D) and originality however, all of the above are classic examples of style over substance. Where the content or depth of the music doesn’t necessarily   need catch on to the infantile listener looking to be distracted from general life, but only satisfy the ‘false need’ to belong to something, repeat a catchy hook-line or melody and or demonstrate a particular view on the world. On the other hand however, bands like Bastille, Cold Play, Keane, and Rage Against The Machine who don’t have much of a produced aesthetic as such, but come across as having a story to tell with depth and artistic understanding, soulful or standing for in particular political views. In turn creating a stronger sometimes ‘dangerous’ ( bond between the consumer and the artist and desirably creating a following. Which in its self is culture that will have impact in the ever-turning wheels of political economy. Either way Adorno’s theories imply that it’s all the same standardized, structured content throughout.



’’Its not about the money, money, money!

(Jessie J.)



Another great example of Pseudo-individualization and style over substance in one is Jessie J and her track ‘Price tag’. Again a simple chord structure and a 32 bar chorus with repeated infantile melody line and lyrics. How can a track or artist claim to be authentic, original and having true meaning when it states ‘Its not about the money? Surely if this was truly the case then every penny made from that particularly and cleverly engineered track should go to good charitable causes? This track went straight in at number 1 and put Jessie J in the limelight of the UK pop industry. Now her flamboyant and determined character has set yet another cultural ‘standardized’ following.



So we begin to see that ineffective of what the artists are representing or what’s being said in the music, the concept of how you take on your aesthetic ‘knowing its a commodity that relies solely on the distractions of free choice for sales,’ will determine your success in the public eye. Exploiting that which is secret to the general public but not to the industry, is true form of artistic measure and credibility.


Catching and sustaining the attention of the listener has declined over the years, Jonathan Mosen explains how much the purchasing music has changed in his lifetime alone and says because of today’s media accessibility through the Internet. Online playlists are becoming more predominant in the age of information and idea of a flat rate fee for all media is just about rising over the horizons of the future with websites like Spotify and Netflix.


‘’In 5 years I think people who want to actually own a music file will be the minority.’’

Mosen, J.


It’s fair to say that the music industry has been shaped and orchestrated to satisfy ‘false needs’, keep distractions at the for front of popular culture’s mind set and allow pseudo-individualization to be the cover up for the purpose of profiting on commodities. Music in the future will most probably be determined on a digital platform and generate revenue by ‘flat fees subscriptions’ or ‘rental lines’. For anyone wanting to make it in the industry should take careful time to measure how his or her artistic substance, message or aesthetic would apply to the general public, and then stepping into that role with confidence as that is exactly what’s going to sell your work.

Having the choice between being exploited like Justin Beiber or Exploiting the standardization like Lady Ga-ga, or even the laid back casually dressed ‘too cool for school’ look are all key elements of example being played by today’s entertainment industry ‘role models’. With media being accessible to all now self-producing and publishing to the best of your ability will give you a head start in the rat race were nothing appears to be original any more.


Anthony Fitzgerald.




——————————————————————————————————– 7th April 7, 2014



Strinati, D. An introduction to theories of popular culture. Routledge (2000)


Adorno, T Popular music (1941)


Handbook of Chinese Popular Culture Greenwood press. 1994

edited by Dingbo Wu, Patrick D. Murph   page 6





What Is Music?

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Essay's.

Presentation1 What is music?

What Is Music?


A brief insight to the history of sound, its journey of evolution and understanding of its vital corrolations to reality as a science, a remedy? Also how it’s understanding has become a vital part in understanding laws of the universe.

Music as we know it today has evolved from southern Germany as far back as 40,000 years ago where the ‘’oldest bone-flute to date’’ was discovered in 2008. (Owen, J. 2009, p1) Around 590bc laws of music were to become understood as more of a science and with due credit to Pythagoras it took a revolutionary turn of understanding during the era of the Ancient Greeks.

Pythagoras was known as a thinker, a radicle modernist of his time, he was born around 580bc and died around 500bc. Modernism is a term broadly used as it can describe thought processes, a person’s character or a particular group of cultural ways that evolve and change with the movement or period of time itself. We tend to divide time over this concept and name them pre/post modernism. It’s a little difficult to give this pre-modernist a specific title, as his studies were a variation of the most contemporary subject matters of his day. Astrology, Music and Mathematics were of the highest interest within human society at that time, He was also exploring by asking questions like what is mankind? & What is the universe?’ Pythagoras’s revolutionary philosophy (although personal hardcopies have never been found) had provided substantial evidence that has been adopted and used to pioneer what we know to be western music of today. All of his studies were preserved through the cult brotherhood he had formed before he died. He was very inquisitive to the idea that music has a strong connection with the soul; he titled this study Musica Humana. He also liked to believe that the planets in our galaxy have a particular resonant frequency and that everything has its rightful place in the universe, this study was called Musica Mundana, and the study of live play with stringed and reeded instruments was collectively called ‘Musica Instrumentalis’.


”Overall he liked to consider himself as a healer and believed that music can have a remedy for every illness.”

(James, J. 1995 p31)


Alongside his concept of dualism, one of Pythagoras’ most profound discoveries with in music theory was the relationship that harmonic intervals have with mathematics. (James, J. 1995 p32) It is said that Pythagoras was walking past a blacksmiths where he heard the sound of three different sized hammers striking the steel anvils making different pitched sounds. He then went inside to

investigate and found that the hammers were weighted 12lb 6lb then 3lb, which encouraged him to understand that some how, laws of mathematics must be responsible for the variation in sound. He went on to investigate further and built the infamous monochord, an instrument of one string and by changing the length of the strings bridge, a little like frets on a guitar of today, his study became responsible for theorizing what we know as an octave and  the harmonic 4th and harmonic 5th. Luigi Russolo, a post-modernist say’s that Pythagoras literally systematized music mathematically. (Russolo, L. 1913, p2)

Later on the church explored this tuning method in depth as writing music was reserved for the upper class or those under the authority of the newly formed religion. In the 7th, 8th, and 9th century when the Gregorian chants were said to be performances for God, musical chords and scales were still being discovered and perfected around this time and the church had forbid a certain collection of these notes inside the octave called the Tristan Chord, this was said to be the chord of the devil because of its deterring & unholy sound.


On the turning of the 19th century Luigi Russolo a famous futurist composer and innovative ‘ post-modern thinker’ of the late 1800’s ran with the baton of music evolution and explored what he called ‘The Art of Noises.’ In this text he studied and brought to attention the general noises of daily life. He starts by exploring the idea that the early earth was almost silent apart from the organic sounds of Mother Nature, like the wind blowing through the trees, waterfalls and the sound of the animal kingdom. He then moves on to say that man caused an influx of sounds as a result of the industrial revolution. This included the sound of industry, vehicles, nature and machinery all sounds that were new to the ear then.


In conclusion to The Art of Noises’ Russolo was highlighting the overlooked ‘music’ of Mother Nature and further from his studies he decided to build an orchestra of sounds that are strictly natural and grouping them as follows;


1.     Roars, Thunderings, Explosions, Hissing roars, Bangs, Booms

  1. Whistling, Hissing, Puffing
  2. Whispers, Murmurs, Mumbling, Muttering, Gurgling
  3. ECT…


Although Russolo’s attempt to entertain a crowd with his ‘Noise Orchestra’ went down in history as a dramatic failure resulting in an outburst of violence from his audience, In a round about way his futuristic improvisations were attempting to bring the word ‘music’ to everyday ‘noise’ that is around us all of the time. “As every manifestation of life, is accompanied by noise”. (Russolo, L. 1913, p4) It seems that Russolo’s forward thinking hopes to contribute to the evolution of how we see music or want it to be. This is in essence modernism of his time and contributing the ever-changing answer to the question ‘what is music?’


In 1857 the very first sound recording instrument was patented, invented by a Frenchman called Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville he named it the Phonautograph. It worked by etching sound wave vibrations onto a smoke blackened paper. Later in 1898 Thomas Edison had updated the device to become less of just a lab instrument. Hearing recorded sound for the first time in history drew a line and defined what we know today as ‘Live Music’ as before hearing back these phonograms, society wouldn’t have known anything different than the music that was played ‘live’ in front of them by musicians and their instruments.


The Itonarumori is a ‘natural sound’ machine invented by Luigi Russolo in 1913, his invention complimented the study of music and sound by initiating technology and working parts as equal members of the musical instrumental family. You could say that the invention of these natural sound machines were the birth of musical technology although the show he performed consisting of roars, whistles and thunder cracks from his Itonarumori wasn’t quite a ‘smash hit’ with the public.

After the groundbreaking invention of electricity, current was quickly combined with ideas of making sound and in 1919 a Russian modernist named Leon Theremin created a device known as the Theramin. See it here in action (

1928 saw the birth of sound synthesis as the Theramin contributed to the development of musical technology. Over the course of the 20th century ‘music’ as we knew had rapidly evolved so to define what was very quickly widening in depth of understanding, the study of what music actually was or meant to people became of high interest to scholars across the world. To be a modernist scholar you would be thinking radicle and outside of the box to try and find new ways or meanings behind what we know as ‘the present’ or as ‘common practices’. This involves a great degree of optimism, genius or a sense of ‘looking through rose tinted glasses’ as you would be looking for other possible answers or outcomes in what would generally appear as not there, or not worth the thought of common man or present cultures.

Post-modernist pioneer, John Cage was asking them very questions in his early studies on the turn of the 21st century. Not only did he introduce electro synthesis to the world of ‘music’ he composed and theorized music and invented a new approach to harmonies. Cage’s work has profoundly widened our understanding of what music is by exploring improvisation. Modernist’s are living and constructing their lives on thought processes that involve improvisation at the very outset.

Improvisation in musical terminology is to create ‘off the cuff’ composition or freestyle play, This practice sometimes referred to as ‘free music’, can be used to inspire new material to record, or the ‘freestyle jam’ itself can be performed or recorded and published as artistic expression. Bailey say’s ”Mankind’s first musical performance couldn’t have been anything other than a free improvisation.” (Bailey, 1992, p83).

Like most of the freethinking modernists we’ve had throughout history, on a quest for the new, John Cage identified the very initial thought in the process of improvisation by highlighting what would normally be overlooked as part of the musical art… This was silence.

During his study of ‘Silence’ Cage spent time in an Anechoic Chamber, a room sound proofed so much that you can almost you’re your own thoughts. Whilst talking with the sound engineer at the facility after his experience inside the chamber, he explained that even in the most silent of surroundings he could still hear two tones running inside his head. One high pitched and one low. The reply from the engineer correlated interestingly as he says ‘the high tone is the sound of your neuro-electro circuit and the low tone is the sound of your blood circulating your body. This whole experience had allowed Cage to conclude,


“There is no such thing as an empty space or and empty time. There is always something to hear, Something to see.

In fact, try as we may to make silence, we can not.”

(Cage, 1957, Experimental Music)


Does Cage’s conclusion mean that silence is also music? As music is being determined by a collection of organized pitched sounds travelling across vibrating airwaves, even in the most still and ‘silent’ of environment, sound can still be heard. This also correlates with earlier mentioned Pythagoras’ studies of ‘Musica Humana’. Life as we see it in essence is starting to be seen as wave vibrations and frequencies due to the new discoveries of the atom being 99% space held together by a certain vibration frequency. (

As the good book say’s..

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with god’’

(John, 1:1)

 Is word not sound? Given the studies and brief encounter of the musical expressions explored in this text you wouldn’t be too far from a translation like this, ‘the big bang, or the beginning of existence in time and space as we understand it, is a result of sound clash or vibration.’’ Who or what initiated that first ‘word’ or ‘sound’ is an entirely different topic of conversation and boils down to spiritual or religious beliefs however, one thing we can agree on is that the study of what ‘music’ is, is ever changing and over the last century alone has rocketed in variation of understanding, As the universe keeps expanding surely so will our studies and understanding of sound vibrations.

So what is music? Is it defined by a gathering of mathematically structured notes sequenced in an arrangement played by an instrument and artist? Or is it the general sound of daily life, both natural and manmade being disregarded as music as it is being played all around us everyday?

Or is music the very essence of what’s inside of you and everything we know to be real, seeing as we live by the law and order of A Creator’s Symphony of vibration? Over the course of history, ‘music’ and the industry has faced a lot of scrutiny yet flourished from the concepts, discoveries, experiments and studies of great philosopher’s scientist’s and musicians. Never the less, music is still embarking the journey to this day with artists being the challenge of being radicle as they nurture their modernist minds and improvise with new musical technology. It seems music’s past track record has shown to suggest that it will keep on growing


It seems this debate is to be left for you decide as each day, life is still growing and our understanding of our surroundings and even the universe are growing too. So ‘What is music to you?’


Anthony Jon-Paul Fitzgerald.




Bailey, D. 1992 Improvisation, Its Nature and Practice in Music. London: The

British Library National Sound Archive.


Russolo, L 1913. The Art of Noises: Futurist Manifesto. Continuum International Publishing Group.


Cage, J.   1957 Experimental Music.

Take a look behind the scenes piecing together my Step Across The Border performance 🙂











Heres a video i will be taking some ideas from

Step Across the Border
Project Pitch

(To be completed in 500 Words)

1.What is your project?
(What ideas have you taken from the module)


I am taking the challenge of performing a solo electronic improvisation piece. I would also like to try and create a stage presence that inspires the audience imagination and takes you on a journey.

2.How will your work be presented?
(What will the work look & sound like, how many people are invovled?)

I will perform solo with ableton live, a midi controller and try and involve the piano or some cymbals from the drum kit. Also included will be visual projections onto a prop.

3. What statement(s) are you making?
(Whats the purpose & drive behind what your doing)

Observe & Discover.

There is deep intrigue between technical sound and me. Everything about being human for me has rhythm, mystery, and magic. Using Modern technologies I am going to try and portray that which already exists within me…

Therefore I am technical sound.

I am inviting the audience to share this experience and discover that the magic, mystery and momentum also exists within all of us.

4. What are your technical requirements?
(Lighting, sound, offsite requirements etc…Please be as concise as possible)

Ableton, midi keyboard, Laptop, Laser star projector, small mirror tiles. Other lighting (stage LED”S)
Image projector. Giant home made stage prop (mask shape face for projections)

‘Starman costume’.. White gloves, White mask.. top hat. Maybe tailed blazer.

Along with this please provide the following:

1. Two references to existing works

(Its important that you contextualise your work)

2. A rehearsal schedule
(Submit a written plan of how you will achieve your final outcome)

This week I will purchase the costume props as well as finish gathering my sounds for the performance. Rehearsal of the track and constructing the video projection is going to be the hardest part.
I have already started to take pictures of my face for the projection video and I will work on that too.
The best thing is to keep rehearsing my existing idea and have a practice in the performance space (A25) to become familiar with how it will look.

I also need to discuss with Aiden or Matt about the projection onto the homemade prop.

Graphical Scores are doodles, shapes or patterns used to inspire musical improvisation. By using a horizontal line in the centre of the page this represents linear movement. (i.e from left to right)
The image as a whole can look as tidy or messy as you want this is the point of a graphical score instead of musical notes and theory.

I really enjoyed this brief.. A good excuse to get the crayons out! Take a look at some other’s below 🙂


Site Specific Sound Installations.

This installation’s aim was to try and re-create the life that would have been lived around the river bridge in Newport’s early days. By sitting in the chair and wearing headphones you become aware of a nauseous feeling this helps with disorientating the participant before asking them to let the track play and take their imagination. The track consists of industrial noises and machinery with some basic reverb and delay effects. Applying hard panning to some horse and cart sounds allowed the listeners aural dimensions to be expanded and gave a life like experience in terms of looking around at a modern world but through audio travelling back in time.

A Man Called Baker came from a story of a very lucky young boy who escaped with his life after a falling sleeper killed a dozen working men. See link below



This is a picture caught in mid flow of an Improv jam.. Im using extended technique with the microphone on the piano, the microphone was routed through Ableton’s delay and reverb effect units before the PA system, and i was using a minimal punchline sentence as a hook line in this trip hop/bluesy style track.

”aaAAAGHHH, Into The Elementsss”

What IS Music??

Posted: May 7, 2014 in Music and Visual Media.

”Is it defined by a gathering of mathematically structured notes sequenced in an arrangement played by an instrument and artist? Or is it the general sound of daily life, both natural and manmade being disregarded as music as it is being played all around us everyday?”

”What is music to you??”

Quoted from my first essay What Is Music? (link in……)

Frac Attack

Posted: May 7, 2014 in Music and Visual Media.

I thought this would be a good visual to improvise to.