Making Meaning in Musical Mixes

Kyle D. Stedman

This piece explores the musical rhetorics at work in a mix CD I created for two (at times contrasting) purposes: as a gift for friends, and as an accompaniment in the car as I moved across the country. I suggest that in a linear, musical mix, the term "development" as used in music composition is an apt explanation of rhetorical arrangement. The essay walks its audience through the mix's development track by track, considering issues of audience, expectation, melody, rhythm, time, voice, and memory along the way. Readers are invited to experience the mix, both as a whole and through various audio clips that draw attention to important moments.

Stedman article cover link

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Kyle D. Stedman is an assistant professor of English at Rockford College. He's published about remixing, music, and rhetoric in Computers and Composition and Currents in Electronic Literacy, and he's published essays for student audiences in the free textbooks and Writing Spaces, Vol. 2. If you were to send him an amazing playlist on Spotify (user name: basementwall), he wouldn't complain.

Fair Use Statement

Every use of copyrighted musical material in this piece was fair; three of the four factors for fair use fall strongly in its favor:

Purpose and Character of Use: I’ve added new understandings and meanings to the pieces used through my scholarly analysis and arrangement of them on these pages (weighs in my favor).

Nature of Copyrighted Work: The music I sampled is creative in nature (weighs against me).

Amount Used: I used only the amount necessary to give my audience a sense of the music that was so central to my arguments, never excerpting more than thirty seconds (weighs in my favor).

Impact on Market: I believe this piece is likely to drive readers toward legal purchases of this material, especially given that I included links making it easy for them to buy the music that is commercially available (weighs in my favor).