Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

George Pullman

Second Advisor

Alfred Hornung

Third Advisor

Mary Hocks

Fourth Advisor

Ben McCorkle


This project examines the influence of productivity aids in digital audio production software on matters of professional expertise, user experience, and workflow. The research is based on both the public reflections of 25 leading audio engineers about the state of the craft and the field as well as close content analyses of the most widely used software solutions for music mixing. Using the practical tenets of the fourth canon of rhetoric, memory, as a heuristic lens and emphasizing its role as an arbiter of professional expertise, this study contextualizes memory as both recollection strategy and programmed practice. It examines the extent to which embedded productivity aids take over the work of audio engineers and what effects this has on the craft and its community of practitioners. The study culminates in a larger argument about the potentially detrimental effects of automation on creative practice and promotes an appreciation of memory and recollection strategies that inform a pedagogy of critical reflection and active engagement— especially in view of higher education where students prepare for their careers post-graduation.

Available for download on Friday, April 16, 2021