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Title:Virtual vocal ensembles and the mediation of performance on YouTube
Author(s):Cayari, Christopher
Director of Research:Barrett, Janet R
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Barrett, Janet R
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Mayo, Cris; Stake, Robert; Sweet, Bridget; Thibeault, Matthew D
Department / Program:Music
Discipline:Music Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
virtual choir
virtual vocal ensemble
music education
music learning
multiple case study
Abstract:Musicians produce virtual performance videos of themselves and others on websites like YouTube. In a society with ubiquitous Internet and prominent social media interactions, music education can benefit by exploring the practices of musicians who produce music online, such as the creators of virtual vocal ensembles. A virtual vocal ensemble is a video containing multiple audio-visual tracks layered together through a technique called multitracking. In this performance practice, a virtual vocal ensemble creator records and combines multiple tracks to make a choir of clones or works with others in collaborative or collective ways.‬ The purpose of this study was to explore the implications of virtual vocal ensembles and the medium that emerged from the development and distribution of those videos. This study situates the creators of virtual vocal ensembles within a sound recording medium, based on a theoretical framework developed by Sterne (2003) that defines a medium as a contingent network of relations made up of people, practices, institutions, and technologies. Guiding questions focus on the musical and social implications of creating virtual vocal ensembles, the entities listed above, and the relations between them. Traditional research methods and Internet inquiry were combined to create a multiple case study that examined three YouTube channels, each produced by a video creator. Data included the observation of the videos on the YouTube channels, text comments, and website analytics as well as interviews with video creators and others pertinent to the cases. A cross-case analysis was conducted to produce assertions that attended to the guiding questions.‬ ‪ Creators of virtual vocal ensembles developed methods to construct and publish their videos, which were limited by their musical and technological abilities and the resources available. As musicians produced virtual vocal ensembles, online communities containing elements of fandoms, learning communities of practice, and music making spaces developed. Implications of the performance practice have effected the way the medium is situated within society as well as the way creators perform choral music and sing. For example, when performers create virtual vocal ensembles, they develop identities as virtual performers and express themselves musically and theatrically. Musical arrangement, voice range expansion, and autonomous exploration of musical concepts were also results of creators’ performance practices. Creating virtual vocal ensembles require not only musical skills, but also technological and production abilities that can be applied to music education practices and expand conceptions of ensemble, performance, and medium. As producers of virtual vocal ensembles, video creators use social media to expand their reach and develop a community that has aspects of a fandom as well as learning and music making communities. Music educators can incorporate the practices of virtual vocal ensemble creators into their instruction and help students learn skills that may allow them to make music outside of the choral ensemble classroom in virtual contexts.‬
Issue Date:2016-03-08
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Christopher Cayari
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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