Dr Mark Marrington
Associate Professor (Music Production)
I am a writer, composer and guitarist, currently employed as an Associate Professor in Music Production in the Faculty of Arts at York St John University.
I have a wide range of musical interests which form the basis of my research and teaching. These include the use of digital technologies in music creation and production, phonomusicology, songwriting pedagogy and its relationship to practice, popular music (particularly heavy metal), the contemporary classical guitar, its history and repertoire and British classical music in the 20th century.
I began my career teaching guitar privately in Leeds in the mid 1990s, later working as a peripatetic guitar teacher for Roundhay Music (North Leeds) and Calderdale Local Authority. I taught at Leeds College of Music between 1998-2011, initially at Further Education level and then Higher Education for undergraduate and Masters degree levels, on a variety of music-related modules across the Classical, Jazz, Popular Music and Music Production degrees then offered by the college.
Between 2011-15 I was Teaching Fellow and Programme Manager for the BSc Music, Multimedia and Electronics at the University of Leeds, School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, before taking up a permanent position at York St John University, initially as Senior Lecturer and, most recently, Associate Professor in Music Production. I have also worked as an external examiner for the University of Brighton (City College), University of Hertfordshire, University of Chester and University of East London (Institute of Contemporary Music Performance).
At York St. John I currently teach in the areas of musicology of production, history of music technology, musical composition, electronic music and final year dissertation projects.
My academic research is currently focused in the areas of musicology of record production, music technology and creativity, 20th century British art music and the classical guitar repertoire. I have published chapters with Cambridge University Press, Bloomsbury Academic, Routledge, and Future Technology Press and have contributed articles to British Music, Soundboard, the Musical Times, and the Journal on the Art of Record Production.
My recently published book, Recording the Classical Guitar (Routledge 2021), charts the evolution of classical guitar recording practice from the early twentieth century to the present day, encompassing the careers of many of the instrument's most influential practitioners from the acoustic era to the advent of the CD. A key focus is on the ways in which guitarists' recorded repertoire programs have shaped the identity of the instrument, particularly where national allegiances and musical aesthetics are concerned. The book also considers the ways in which changing approaches to recording practice have conditioned guitarists' conceptions of the instrument's ideal representation in recorded form and situates these in relation to the development of classical music recording aesthetics more generally. Recording the Classical Guitar was recently nominated as a finalist in the 2022 Association for Recorded Sound Collections' (ARSC) Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research (Classical Music).
I have been researching the Digital Audio Workstation (the predominant software interface for contemporary music production) since 2009. Initially my focus was on the employment of the DAW in the creative of practice of students on University music degree courses from the perspective of its effects on how they conceived musical ideas (results published as 'Experiencing Musical Composition in the DAW' Journal on the Art of Record Production, 5, 2011). The focus then moved to studies of the employment of the DAW in specific areas of popular music practice, focusing in particular on singer songwriters and heavy metal musicians. This led to chapters/articles in the Bloomsbury Singer-Songwriter Handbook ('Composing in the Digital Audio Workstation', 2017) and the Journal of Metal Music Studies ('From DJ to Djent-step: Technology and the Re-Coding of Metal Music since the 1980s', 2017).
My doctoral research at Leeds University (completed 2002) was the first study of the life and work of the British composer Denis ApIvor (1916-2004). In 2014-15 I was involved in curating the ApIvor archive held at University of Leeds Special Collections, an important resource for the composer's scores, recordings and personal papers.
Publications and Conferences
- 2023 "Djent and the aesthetics of post-digital metal". In The Cambridge Companion to Metal Music, edited by Jan Herbst. Cambridge: CUP (forthcoming).
- 2021 Recording the Classical Guitar. New York: Routledge.
- 2020 Review of Digital Sampling: The Design and Use of Music Technologies by Paul Harkins. In Popular Music 39, 3/4 (2020).
- 2020 "Exploring the Potential of Looped Material in DAW-based Music Creation." In The Music Technology Cookbook, edited by Adam Bell. New York: OUP.
- 2020 "Women in Music Production: A contextualized history from the 1890s to the 1980s." In Perspectives on Music Production: Gender in Music Production, edited by R. Hepworth-Sawyer, J. Hodgson, Liesl King and Mark Marrington. New York: Routledge (forthcoming).
- 2019 "The DAW, electronic music aesthetics and genre transgression in music production: the case of heavy metal music." In Perspectives on Music Production: Producing Music, edited by R. Hepworth-Sawyer, J. Hodgson and Mark Marrington. New York: Routledge.
- 2018 Journal of Music Technology and Education (Special MPEC Edition), guest editorial with R. Hepworth-Sawyer, 11/3 (2018).
- 2017 "From DJ to Djent-step: Technology and the Re-Coding of Metal Music since the 1980s." Metal Music Studies, 3/2 (2017).
- 2017 "Composing in the Digital Audio Workstation." In The Singer-Songwriter Handbook, edited by J. Williams and K. Williams. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.
- 2016 "Mixing Metaphors: Aesthetics, Mediation and the Rhetoric of Sound Mixing." In Perspectives on Music Production: Mixing Music, edited by R. Hepworth-Sawyer and J. Hodgson. New York: Routledge, 2016.
- 2016 "Paradigms of Music Software Interface Design and Musical Creativity." In Innovation in Music II, edited by R. Hepworth-Sawyer, J. Hodgson, J. L. Paterson and R. Toulson. Shoreham-by-Sea: Future Technology Press, 2016.
- 2016 "Denis ApIvor’s Variations Op. 29: Introduction to the Guitar Music of a Pioneering British Modernist." Soundboard, 42/3 (2016).
- 2016 "Reconciling theory with practice in the teaching of songwriting." In Cambridge Companion to the Singer Songwriter, edited by J. Williams and K. Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
- 2015 "Serial Technique in the early works of Denis ApIvor." British Music, 38 (2015).
- 2014 " 'Music of the Cactus Land': a consideration of musical style and text setting in Denis ApIvor's The Hollow Men." British Music, 36 (2014).
- 2011 "Experiencing Musical Composition in the DAW: The Software Interface as Mediator of the Musical Idea." Journal on the Art of Record Production, 5 (2011). See arpjournal.com/experiencing-musical-composition-in-the-daw-the-software-interface-as-mediator-of-the-musical-idea-2/
- 2006 "Denis ApIvor and the classical guitar." Guitar Review, 132 (Fall 2006).
- 2005 "Denis ApIvor and his contribution to British opera and ballet" Musical Times, 146 (Summer 2005).
- 2004 Obituary for Denis ApIvor, Classical Guitar.
- 2004 Obituary for Denis ApIvor, Dancing Times.
- 2004 Nineteen Gilbert and Sullivan Favourites Arranged for the Classical Guitar (Mel Bay Publications).
- 2004 Guitar adviser for Anthony Marks' Easy Guitar Tunes series of 3 books (Usborne Publishing).
- 1999 Guitar from Scratch (Boosey and Hawkes) with Chris Norton: wrote all text and assisted with composition.
- 1997 Reviewer for The Consort (Early Music Journal). Score review of Rudolph Dolmetsch, Concertino for Viola da Gamba and small orchestra; CD review of Hopkinson Smith, Instrucción De Música Sobre La Guitarra Española.
- 1996 "Aural Training for Guitarists" Classical Guitar (6 instalments across the year).
Lectures, Conference Papers, Speaking Engagements
- Sep 2017 "Metal in the Box: the DAW and the domain of authentic metal music practice since the mid-2000s", delivered at Innovation in Music 17, University of Westminster.
- Jun 2015 "Paradigms of Music Software Interface Design and Musical Creativity", delivered at Innovation in Music 15, Anglia Ruskin University.
- Dec 2013 "Contemporary Music Technology and Creative Autonomy", delivered at InMusic13, University of York.
- 2009 – 2011 Regular engagements to undertake pre-concert talks for Airedale Symphony Orchestra, West Yorkshire.
- Dec 2010 "Experiencing musical composition in the DAW: the software interface as mediator of the musical idea" delivered at the Art of Record Production Conference, Leeds Metropolitan University.
- May 2010 "DAW Technology and the Student Composer", delivered at the Forum for Innovation in Music Production and Composition, Leeds College of Music.
- Jul 2009 "Britishness and the classical guitar after 1950: composers, performers and identity in the contemporary British guitar repertoire", delivered at Galpin Society’s “Making the British Sound” conference in Edinburgh.
- Jun 2009 "Musical performance and the machine", delivered at Coventry University National Music Performance Symposium.
- Nov 2007 Lecture-paper given as part of a world premiere recital of song cycles by Denis
ApIvor, St Mary's Church, Craswall (near Hay-on-Wye).
- May 2000 Leeds University Research Paper Lecture Series: Lecture on Denis ApIvor’s
I am currently contracted with Routledge as writer and series editor on various academic book projects related to the field of music production most notably the Perspectives on Music Production series (including Mixing Music; Producing Music; Gender in Music Production).
I have also been involved in a number of guitar related publishing projects over the years, which have often been pedagogical in nature. These include Guitar from Scratch, which I co-authored with Microjazz's Chris Norton (Boosey and Hawkes) in 1999. Here I contributed much of the text and recorded all of Chris Norton's specially composed pieces for the audio CD that accompanies the book. I also acted as a specialist guitar consultant for the Usborne series, Very Easy Guitar Tunes, Easy Guitar Tunes and Guitar Tunes for Children (2004), working closely with author and composer Anthony Marks to arrange and edit the musical examples. My collection of solo guitar arrangements, Nineteen Gilbert and Sullivan Favorites for Classical Guitar was published by Mel Bay in 2004. The anthology contains nineteen of the most popular Gilbert and Sullivan classics arranged in easily sight-readable versions for beginning to intermediate classical guitarists.
2012 "Cars" a single made entirely from the sounds of cars and traffic ambience which has achieved an ongoing viral internet presence resulting in extensive blogging by the auto industry, radio broadcasts and interviews (BBC), and comments in the UK press (Daily Mirror) and European publications.
2010 MadeinMIDI: an art-pop music project featuring a number of online novelty releases realized in music software. First release, "Ringtonic" (April, 2010); second release, "Starlet" (January, 2011)
2005 "Fugue on the Final Countdown": irreverent Bach-style orchestral re-working of Europe's hit, premiered at Scarborough's Beached Festival in 2005. Second performance at Leeds College of Music, June 2009.
2004 Nineteen Gilbert and Sullivan Favourites for the Classical Guitar (Mel Bay Publications).
2001 The Slipper and the Rose: re-worked eighteen part pit band score for NODA based on original Angela Morley film score arrangements.
1999 Music arranged and performed for Guitar from Scratch book, released on accompanying CD.
1998 Library music work for CN Productions (Chris Norton, Leeds) including "No One Like You" and "You Love Me More" for easy listening CDs.
1996 Commissioned musical setting of biblical text, The First Blessing, to music for organ and solo voice. Performed Belle Isle, Leeds 1996.