Juliana Concepcion Capstone

During this past year, I began to gain a love for all things sound design. I loved recording and editing the sound in my film projects, listening to the beats playing in Mr. Herman’s classroom, and seeing many of my friends make their own music. A month into my senior year, I knew that for my Capstone, I would produce an EP, and score as many short films as I could.

By exploring sound design through film scoring and music production, I opened up a whole new world of possibilities for myself. I made it my goal to learn the music software “Logic Pro X,” which I had not previously used before. I did not get as far as I’d hoped to be in learning the software, but I surely know a whole lot more from when I first started. Considering it’s a heavily loaded software, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made with it, and I am motivated to continue learning how to use it.

It was difficult a lot of times to find a good balance between my capstone, school, and career work time, I have learned that that is just a part of life, however, and if I really want to master the craft of sound design, I’ll have to put in a lot of extra work, which means a lot of extra time. My EP, which includes six songs, and website, which includes a full portfolio of the work I did this year, are linked below.

Works Cited

Carter, Tiann "Shaking off the Dust - Sampling Vinyl." DJ TechTools. March 12, 2015. Web. January 30, 2017.


This source was useful to me because it provided me with a basic breakdown of sampling in hip hop. It showed me where I should look to find specific kinds of samples, giving me specific genres of music to look out for if I’m trying to give me music a certain kind of sound. It also pointed me towards looking at vinyl to sample from, and I have a couple old records that I can use, but I don’t have all of the equipment. So I will probably stick to digital sampling from youtube from funk, soul, jazz, and classical genres of music. For good drum sounds, it says I should look into “classic tribal tracks or 90s tribal house.”

Caswell, Estelle. “Kanye deconstructed: the human voice as the ultimate instrument.” Vox. September 1, 2016.


I watched this tutorial back in September and was very fascinated with the breakdown of Kanye West’s use of the human voice as the “ultimate instrument” in his music. I learned how that earlier in his music, he often used the actual human voice from different samples, and then he transitioned to using synthesizers somewhere in the middle of his career, and now he uses a good combination of both. I think what I’m trying to do is to start out using samples of people’s voices, because I haven’t quite figured out how to make use of good synths yet. So, I am probably on the same track, and it’s interesting to see how that process plays out for producers.

Fox, EJ. “How to use samples to make a beat with Logic X, Ultrabeat, and EXS24.” Youtube. October 2, 2013.


This tutorial introduced me to the Ultrabeat plugin, which has become so useful for me in loading up samples so that I can create beats from them. It also gave me a refresher on using the EXS24 plugin to load up my sample to first. Ultrabeat lets me have a smooth workflow though, and it has a lot of good presets as far as drum kits go; they’re more diverse than what’s in the standard logic library it seems, for some reason. I’m not sure if I’m going to use them because I’ve transitioned into using sampled drum sounds, but it’s a good backup option to have. This tutorial was also useful in helping me see how to play samples over a loop.

Goodz, Piffery. “Chopping Samples, Time Stretching & Sample Pitch (Transpose) In Logic Pro X #DailyHeatChecc.” Youtube. August 4, 2013.


This has been one of the most useful tutorials I’ve watched on youtube for getting acquainted with Logic Pro X and its features so far. This tutorial taught me how to chop up a sample properly, and it showed me which settings I should use if I’m trying to achieve a higher or lower pitch with my sample. I also figured out how to control the different parts of my sample in a multi-output mixer at the bottom of the DAW, so that might be useful for me so I can keep my sample organized as I’m editing and adjusting it.

Heal, Michael. “Every Sample on Kanye’s ‘The Life of Pablo.” Genius. February 16, 2016.


Watching this short video helped me to get a feel of how Kanye samples old songs in his songs. Kanye West is pretty much a master at the art of sampling, so that is why I looked to this video first as opposed to sampling techniques of other artists. The article also broke down how many times he’s sampled a certain artist, and gave a breakdown as to where each sample came from and how Kanye achieved the sample in editing. This will be very helpful for me in my search for good samples and sampling techniques.

Moseley, Roger. “Play Again?” Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo, University of California Press, Oakland, California, 2016, pp. 236–274, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1kc6k47.9.

In reading this source I was given a different perspective on how music connects with us on more than just a surface level. Sometimes sound is meant to emulate a certain picture in our minds, or it reminds us of something in our childhood. This source even points out that the ways in which a lot of music is being made now (electronically) is almost like this childlike way to make music, because it’s not “sophisticated.” However there is something to be said about new keyboards/music machines having a similar look and feel to toys. It evokes the childlike, creative parts of us, and takes us back to primitive ways in a sense with the simplicity of it, but at the same time such machinery really is sophisticated. It makes me think about my MIDI keyboard and how I feel using that rather than the computer keys to make music. It’s helped my creative process so much more.

Patteson, Thomas. “‘The Joy of Precision’: Mechanical Instruments and the Aesthetics of Automation.” Instruments for New Music: Sound, Technology, and Modernism, University of California Press, Oakland, California, 2016, pp. 18–51, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ffjn9k.6.

This is an article about instruments being seen more as self-creating machines, rather than a tool for musicians to use. It tells of how instruments fell victim to the aesthetics of machinery. One quote that really stuck out to me in it is, “If today’s arts love the machine, technology, and organization, if they aspire to precision and reject anything vague and dreamy, this implies an instinctive repudiation of chaos and a longing to find the form appropriate to our times.” I’m thinking that I can use this quote somewhere within my capstone, and form some more opinions and thoughts around it.

Schmidt, Patrick. “What We Hear Is Meaning Too: Deconstruction, Dialogue, and Music.” Philosophy of Music Education Review, vol. 20, no. 1, 2012, pp. 3–24. www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/philmusieducrevi.20.1.3.

I was introduced to the idea of “listening vs. mis-listening” in this source. The author claims that they are not opposites of each other, but rather that “mis-listening” is just a different form of listening. The author claims that mis-listening is essential for deconstructing music and creating a dialogue for music, and dialogue is essential to music. Music is like a language itself. By mis-listening we can open our minds to different ways to hear or create things, and different ways in which we interpret sound. This is an important thought for me to keep in mind during production, and it is an idea that I will come back to every time I listen to what I’ve made.

STEEZYASFUCK. Youtube. Web. February 2, 2017.


This youtube channel posts beat tapes almost daily, and I listen to a new one almost every day, or at least every week. Looking out for what other artists are doing and listening to the techniques they use is crucial for the process of production. I take a little bit of inspiration from each track I listen to. This channel consistently helps keep my creative process on track, and it ensures me that I will not fall into a creative slump- which I did find myself in earlier this year. Since I’ve discovered this channel though, I’ve been on top of my creative process.

Vanilla. “Sweet Talk.” Bandcamp. September 6, 2014.


This album has served as a lot of the inspiration for my deciding to make my capstone about music creation. I began listening to Vanilla last year and this quickly became my favorite album of his. He expertly cuts up soul samples and creates a tape that is interconnected with itself; each song leads into the next one. I’ve spent hours studying this album for it’s smooth beat transitions and high pitched samples. Piano intros and outros are weaved in so smoothly. The producer also uses nature sounds, such as rain, to enhance his beats. I take a lot of inspiration from this album, especially with how all of the songs feel like they fit perfectly together with one another.