Recording and Production

Rogers, Holly. 2022. Recording and Production. In: Tom Perchard; Stephen Graham; Tim Rutherford-Johnson and Holly Rogers, eds. Twentieth Century Music in the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 229-252. ISBN 9781108481984 [Book Section]

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This is the first introductory survey of western twentieth-century music to address popular music, art music and jazz on equal terms. It treats those forms as inextricably intertwined, and sets them in a wide variety of social and critical contexts. The book comprises four sections – Histories, Techniques and Technologies, Mediation, Identities – with 16 thematic chapters. Each of these explores a musical or cultural topic as it developed over many years, and as it appeared across a diversity of musical practices. In this way, the text introduces both key musical repertoire and critical-musicological approaches to that work. It historicises music and musical thinking, opening up debate in the present rather than offering a new but closed narrative of the past. In each chapter, an overview of the topic's chronology and main issues is illustrated by two detailed case studies.

‘The first thing about recording’ ambient music composer Brian Eno has written, ‘is that it makes repeatable what was otherwise transient and ephemeral’ (Eno 2004: 127). Some of the biggest changes to musical culture in the twentieth century were the result of newly emerging recording technologies. As Brian Eno (1948–) suggests, sounds that once had to be performed live could now be captured, packaged, collected and distributed in ways unimaginable in the previous century. This affected both the creation and consumption of music. When used as an instrument to manipulate or make music – a process known as ‘phonography’ (Eisenberg 1987) – the tools for sound reproduction generated textures and structures difficult to replicate in live performance. In fact, audio engineering technologies saw the advent of reverb, echo, overdubbing, splicing and digital processing, techniques essential to genres as diverse as musique concrète, acousmatic sound art, dub, electronica, hip-hop and turntablism. Not only did these technologies give rise to new types of musician, from the studio engineer and producer to the DJ, but they also encouraged collaborative ways of working rarely seen before.

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This material has been published in revised form in Twentieth-Century Music in the West An Introduction []. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use.

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1 January 2022Accepted
1 September 2022Published

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17 Nov 2022 16:32

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01 Mar 2023 02:26


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