The activity of computer-mediated music production and the abstraction mechanisms used by professional producers to manage the complex digital representations of their compositions for studio work and live performance is discussed. The analysis based in activity theory is particularly focused on the mediating role that tools play in the activity. One aspect of computer-mediated music production that is particularly important is the extent to which the activity is almost entirely mediated by the digital audio workstations (DAW). The producers are entirely dependent on the set of abstraction mechanisms provided by DAW user-interface designers. An essential characteristic of participants' music-production activities involved composition with multiple distinct voices. Voices are the individual lines of material performed synchronously by a number of independent instruments or vocalists. The second aspect of music-production abstraction was related to the temporal organization of material.
Computer Music Journal
School of Computer Science

Duignan, M. (Matthew), Noble, J. (James), & Biddle, R. (2010). Abstraction and activity in computer-mediated music production. Computer Music Journal, 34(4), 22–33. doi:10.1162/COMJ_a_00023