The Oracle’s Ned Mattison ’20 met up with Sienna Tipton ’18 to talk about her experience taking one of this semester’s new class offerings, Digital Music/ Songwriting, with Mr. Manni. In this class, students write, record, and produce their own digital and professional-quality recordings in the new audio recording studio in the Chiang Center.
Ned Mattison: What have you been working on recently?
Siena Tipton: We had to write a four chord piece, which we could write in any genre we wanted. I personally chose a song in the style of a 1950s ballad.
NM: What first got you interested in composition?
ST: I’ve taken some composition classes [before] and I wanted to continue.
NM: Was it hard to learn?
ST: I’m still learning a lot about Logic [a recording, editing, and audio production software program]. It’s different to write music on paper than on a computer because there’s a lot more you can do with it. It’s a lot of fun.
NM: Have you used the tech before the studio?
ST: No. Never used Logic before.
NM: Before taking this class, had you only written music on paper?
ST: Yeah, when I used to take composition it was on paper and a piano, none of this fancy technology.
NM: Do you sing anything you compose?
ST: Yeah. I sang the four chord piece.
NM: How many pieces have you written this year?
ST: More than ten. I’d have to check.
NM: Do you write more songs to play or to sing?
ST: We haven’t really gotten far enough in the semester to write what we wanted. [It’s been] all assignments. This last song [we worked on] was the first one I could write on my own. My songs are generally for singing [rather] than to play on the piano.
NM: What’s your favorite song you’ve written this year?
ST: We had a project where we had to rewrite “Mary had a Little Lamb” in a genre of our choice, so Amanda Goldsmith and I wrote ours in heavy metal and got to record our own audio, so this is my favorite thing creatively that I’ve done this year. [All of the instrumentation was done on Logic. Sienna and Amanda did the vocals. Click below to listen.]
NM: If you could make your own assignment for your class, what would the assignment be?
ST: Write a symphony. I’ve always wanted to write a symphony.
NM: Would there be any specific requirements for the project?
ST: It has to be performed by a full orchestra.
NM: How do you think having this technology has helped you grow as a composer?
ST: A lot of times in my life I’ve had songs stuck in my head but I didn’t know how to write them down because I didn’t have the paper or the materials to [do it]. With all of this technology, you can literally write a symphony in like ten minutes. So it’s great to be able to put my ideas somewhere.
(Copyright 2018 Ned Mattison)