About Me

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Nashville, TN, United States
My name is McLean Smith and I am an observer of life. I like to create music, capture experiences, and refine expression through my observations. To me, music is a feeling. It is something that captivates one in the moment and releases reactions unknown. It is something I wish to create for the rest of my life. It is something I hope to share with the world.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Voice in Text: The Aeneid


In the Aeneid, Virgil uses voicing to develop credibility and create connections with his readers.

By using a third-person omniscient point of view, Virgil establishes credibility because of his knowledge of characters' dialogue, thoughts, and sentiments.

In some instances, Virgil uses a first-person point of view which enables readers to be in the midst of the action. This point of view transports readers into the scene where they are consumed by epic battles and illustrative settings.

Additionally, Virgil embeds historical elements of Greco-Roman society throughout the Aeneid. Virgil's usage of temporal and cultural ideas demonstrates his work's assimilation of Greco-Roman culture and qualifies the circumstances surrounding his tale.

Exploration of Subculture via Transcribed Outsider Interview

Me: What do you think songwriters do?

Interviewee: Well, they obviously write songs. I imagine that they use songs to represent their lives. They probably also play musical instruments and perform at venues.

Me: What interests you about songwriting?

Interviewee: I'm interested in creating songs that "spill my guts." Unfortunately, I feel as though I need to improve my writing before I can create songs. I'm also quite nervous about running out of inspiration for my songwriting.

Me: What are some of your favorite songs that incite powerful emotional responses? Why?

Interviewee: Some of my favorite songs are excerpts from Mozart, Puccini, and Strauss because I'm a Classical Voice Major [at Belmont University]. I'm also a big fan of Adele's songs because of her ability to make audiences connect with her material and her musicality.

Me: How long do you think it takes to write a song?

Interviewee: I don't really know. I've heard of some people writing songs in ten minutes, while others take a day or two. I suppose it depends on the writer and their mood.

Me: Have you ever written a song?

Interviewee: I did write a song when I was younger. It was inspired by the end of a relationship.

Me: How did it make you feel afterwards?

Interviewee: I felt accomplished because of the effort I put forth to create the song. It provided with me with reflection and closure.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Introduction for My Ethnographic Study

I will never forget the first time I was captivated by a song. I was twelve years old, frustrated with the world around me. Passionate for the pursuit of knowledge, I could not connect with my peers because they did not receive the same amount of satisfaction from learning. Discouraged, I ostracized myself from my surroundings because I could not cope with the world.
One day in the midst of my seclusion, I watched a silent movie that used background music to convey the words, actions, and emotions of the various characters. Throughout the movie, I experienced intense physiological reactions that invigorated my being. I could not look away from the screen; I was consumed by the movie.
Afterwards, I realized that the underlying music of the movie was the catalyst of my reaction. The music brought me so much pleasure that I forgot about my frustration; I became lost in the wonder of music. I was no longer disappointed because I had found my sanctuary from the world around me.
While my self-reliance taught me many things, economics showed me the need to work together. The cooperation of separate entities brings about advances in the quality of life that would not be possible by individual effort. Thus, I wish to become a songwriter someday so that I can attempt to captivate others in the mystery of music and enhance their quality of life.
Well, that's a nice notion, but how does one captivate others and enhance their quality of life through songwriting? As an outsider to the songwriting culture, I am unaware of the processes and techniques songwriters use to write songs. Although the previous statement is true, I studied the classical, baroque, and romantic styles of music in elementary, middle, and high school. Interested by the mystique of music, I leaped at the chance to play in a jazz band which taught me how to improvise and analyze musical styles. Improvisation led me to composition because it made me cognizant of the structure of a song, the importance of dynamics, and complex music theory. I may be an outsider, but I am aware of some of the rules.
One may think that I already know how to write songs and my study of the songwriting culture is unnecessary; I disagree completely. As previously mentioned, cooperation with others brings about insights that would not be possible through individual effort. Thus, I hope my study of songwriters at Belmont University will produce a greater understanding of the songwriting process, writer’s block, and the captivating nature of songs.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Examples of Space and Materials affecting Culture in "Guns, Germs, and Steel"

Pizarro's seizure of Cajamarca impressed me because it showed how materials (i.e. horses and guns) had indirect cultural implications (i.e. biological genocide) as they traveled through space. Thus, it was not the materials that caused cultural consequences, but the indirect repercussions of said materials' uses in certain spaces.

Additionally, I was amused by the Spaniards being surprised by their own victory because they assumed their superiority in military positioning and technology had brought about the end of their conquest. Instead of accurately depicting their military campaigns, European colonists asserted their dominance in historical writings.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Observation of a Cultural Artifact

I think that my observation of cultural artifacts, such as incomplete songs or songwriting sessions, will bring about the questions I want to answer for my research project. These questions will aid my research project by concentrating my investigation of the songwriting process and writer's block.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How do you have to think in college?

From my experiences, high school tends to emphasize the quantitative aspects of education. While these aspects develop one's ability to process material at a literal level, one has to learn to analyze the qualitative aspects of education to succeed in college. The superficiality of life fails to account for the elements that indirectly influence the world.

After two years of collegiate education, I have learned to examine materials for their substance and style. Thus, I believe that college attempts to teach one to look beyond the literal because reflection and analysis produce worth.