Edited by Amanda Bayley. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Chapter 5 - Producing Performance James Barrett

Multitrack and the Producer

This is an example of how a typical final mix is built from individual tracks. The song was recorded by the band Blue Traffic, engineered by Dan Turner and produced by Andrew Gwilliam in the Atrium Recording studios of the University of Glamorgan, 23 September 2008. This track was the subject of the paper by Andrew Gwilliam, 'Production and the Listener: The “Perfect” Performance’, presented at the Art of Record Production Conference, (University of Massachusetts, Lowell, 14-16 November 2008). James Barrett is grateful to Andrew Gwilliam, Dan Turner and Blue Traffic for permission to reproduce this material here.

Blue Traffic is a trio of drums, bass, and guitar/vocals. The recording was made with all the instrumental tracks being played in the same space at the same time with no timing reference apart from a ‘click track’ as a count in. The vocals were then sung to this backing track twice and recorded each time. The recording of the instrumental backing used six microphones on the drums (kick drum, snare drum, rack tom, floor tom, left overhead, right overhead), one microphone on the guitar amplifier, and the bass guitar ‘direct injected’ into the mixing desk. Subsequently the vocal tracks were added.

The examples show how a production would be conventionally built from these individual tracks by adding a track at a time starting from the kick drum:

Chapter 10 - Recordings as Research Tools in Ethnomusicology Jonathan Stock

Case study 2: recordings as tools in performance research

Case study 4: playback as a tool in music research

  • ‘Claudy banks’ sung by the Copper family (m3u file); this song is published on Song Links: A Celebration of English Traditional Songs and Their Australian Variants, Fellside Recordings FECD 176D, 2003, disc 1, track 7 which can be purchased from here; click here for further information about the Copper Family.

Chapter 11 - Multiple Takes: Using Recordings to Document Creative Process Amanda Bayley

Case study: Michael Finnissy's Second String Quartet

Further information about this collaborative project supported by a British Academy larger research grant can be accessed at www.wlv.ac.uk/sspal/stringquartetresearch.

These examples have been reproduced with the kind permission of Michael Finnissy and the Kreutzer Quartet: Peter Sheppard Skærved, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Morgan Goff and Neil Heyde.

Chapter 14 - From sound to music, from recording to theory John Dack

Towards a generalised music theory: Pierre Schaeffer’s typology

These are examples of Schaeffer’s nine ‘balanced’ sound objects. They are classified as N, X or Y types. In terms of their pitch content: N type sounds have a clear pitch content; X types sounds are ‘noisy’ and difficult to locate at a precise level of pitch; Y type sounds move in pitch-space.

The duration of these sounds is subdivided into three basic categories. If a letter has no additional symbol (i.e. N, X or Y) it is of medium duration allowing the listener to perceive and retain in the memory each stage of the sound’s progress in time: onset, continuation and termination. The addition of the single quotation mark (i.e. N', X', Y') indicates an impulse and a double quotation mark (i.e. N", X", Y") refers to an iterative sound.

Chapter 16 - Painting the Sonic Canvas: Electronic Meditation as Musical Style Albin Zak III

The 'sonic' halo

The track begins with a single chord whose sharp cut-off reveals a reverberant after-sound. Following the brief reverberant pause, the recording proceeds with a fairly transparent representation of the musical/acoustic event it captures. The highly reverberant (wet) sound is replaced with a drier one imparting to the listener a sense of close proximity. Between the first two iterations of the melodic theme, during the turnaround, there is a brief suggestion of increased reverberation but it quickly recedes as the melody begins anew. About one minute into the track, as the melody concludes its second iteration, the music, its pulse suspended, modulates dramatically up a semitone (from F# to G) and seems suddenly to be transported to some other place. As the melody begins to repeat in the new key, the sonic scene has changed as well. The lead harmonica sound is now bathed in deep reverberation implying a cavernous space. In addition to its aural dimension, the added reverberation seems somehow to imply a change of character, of affect, of meaning; in short, the move from dry sound to reverberant sound creates a sense of dramatic narrative in which the track’s introductory chord turns out to have a foreshadowing role. As such, the reverberation itself becomes a thematic element that participates in the track’s narrative form, an impression confirmed in the course of what follows as the fourth melodic iteration returns to the dry sound. This ABA sonic structure, however, is not reflected by the key scheme, for when the dry sound returns the track remains in the new key. There are, then, two different formal plans unfolding simultaneously – tonal and textural – the latter of which proves the more elaborate. In addition to the textural shifts from introduction to verse one, and from verses two to three and three to four, the final verse (the fourth) ends with a crescendo of reverb, followed by a brief cadenza-coda that summarizes the theme of textural contrast. The coda’s three melodic phrases are presented in a three-part ambient configuration of wet-dry-wet.