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Research Paper Music Technology History

Conference Papers

Mixing as a performance: creative approaches to the popular music mix process

Brendan Anthony

A common goal when mixing popular music is to entice an emotional response from the listener, this is intriguing as the actuality of mixing is varied and dependant on personalised technological preferences. This paper theorises that a mix as a performance practice facilitates a connection to more creative paradigms of mixing, and technological development influences possible creative practices. Subsequently, historical and professional evidence of the mix as a performance state is presented and the reader is informed of process via videos of the author’s professional mixing practice. To triangulate the approach, rationales regarding creativity and kinaesthetic imagery are referenced throughout.

Issue 11|Creative Practice, Mixing, Mixing as a Performance, Popular music, record production|

A New Breed of Home Studio Producer?: Agency and the Idea ‘Tracker’ in Contemporary Home Studio Music Production

Tuomas Auvinen

In this article my aim is to explore the creative and collaborative agency of an aspiring Finnish Helsinki-based pop-music producer Mikke Vepsäläinen. In a detailed ethnographic case study of the home studio production of a song published in April 2016, I discuss the producer’s agency through the idea of being a “tracker” or “tracking”. This terminology is commonly used in contemporary pop music production to describe the agency and role of the producer. Yet it has not yet been addressed in studies or written accounts on music production that I’m aware of.

Issue 11|agency, home studio, producer, tracker, tracking|

A Musician’s Engineer: Best practices for teaching music proficiency at formal audio recording and production programs in the USA

Doug Bielmeier, Wellington M. Gordon

Music proficiency is an important part of audio recording and production (ARP) education and is an essential part of an aspiring recording engineer’s development. However, because music proficiency is not a well-defined concept in ARP programs, it has been delivered to students in a variety of ways via disparate materials and methods. Therefore, this paper asked educators from 25 different ARP programs in the USA to identify best practices for the inclusion and integration of music skills into formal ARP programs. Educator’s responses, collected via initial phone interviews and an online survey instrument, were analyzed via descriptive statistics and organized via an initial coding method. The educators reported that the integration of musical skills and proficiencies within coursework and assignments enabled them to enhance musical and technical skills simultaneously. Additionally, educators cited keys to improving and nurturing a student’s music proficiency: student ensembles, real-world exposure to performances, and higher-level coursework. Based on the best practices offered by the educators, this paper outlines the content for a music proficiency text specific for ARP students and educators as foundational material for course-learning objectives. Sections include (a) keyboard basics, (b) basic theory, (c) performance reporting, (d) music rehearsals, (e) technical ear training, (f) composition, and (g) genre specific techniques.

Issue 11|audio education, Music Proficiency, Skills|

The Ecological Approach To Mixing Audio: agency, activity and environment in the process of audio staging

Andrew Bourbon, Simon Zagorski-Thomas

This paper relates to a research project on Classical Music ‘Hyper-Production’ And Practice As Research: a project that seeks to create radical reinterpretations of the classical repertoire through record production. Our approach to mixing audio for this project is based on a theoretical model that explores the links between the perception and cognition of recorded music, our musicological analyses of the pieces and how that translates into staging and processing decisions. While taking into account Schaeffer’s theories about the ‘Objet Sonore’ and Smalley’s work on spectromorphology, we are utilizing the ecological approach to perception to examine mix decisions in terms of agency, activity and environment.

We will discuss the notions of foreground and background, thematic material, contrapuntal lines and other musical features in terms of the number and type of perceived agents, the types of activity that are involved and the nature of the environment within which the activity occurs. This will be explored through both literal and metaphorical interpretations of the musical activity. These analyses will then be used to explain the decisions that were made during the mix process. Placing the perceived agents on different parts of the sound stage, highlighting or inhibiting various aspects of the energy expenditure involved in the perceived activity and determining the type and character of the environment within which this activity occurs will be further deconstructed in terms of the specific processing decisions that were made in different instances. The paper will conclude with a discussion of how this approach to mixing is being developed into a book project that seeks to apply these techniques across a whole range of musical styles and types of recording.

Issue 11|agency, audio; recording, hyper-production, Mixing|

Creating A Rubato Layer Cake: performing and producing overdubs with expressive timing on a classical recording for ‘solo’ piano

Emilie Capulet, Simon Zagorski-Thomas

The path to recording for composers of concert hall acoustic music is quite different to that of popular, media, electroacoustic or electronica composers. The common model involves the creation of the work; performance(s); only then, perhaps, recording. This paper looks at the relationships of contemporary composers to the recorded medium drawing on a series of one to one interviews. Research to date concludes composers face issues common to other genres, and most are keen to develop recordings. Barriers include finances, lack of opportunity, confidence and previous bad experience. Building composer-performer-producer-engineer networks based on mutual trust is a helpful model.

Issue 11|electroacoustic, hyper-production, performance, recording|

Analog Distinction – Music Production Processes and Social Inequality

Carsten Kaiser

Analog audio technology has not only survived the techno-cultural turn of the late 20th century but regained a somewhat mythological strength. Nevertheless, the discourse in this field is mainly limited to technical functionalities, workflows and sonic images, while social inequality stays out of the discussion. This paper offers a status question on social inequality in music production. I develop working hypotheses from Bourdieu’s model of distinction and Boltanski/Thévenot’s argumentation in favor of practices of classification and competition through principles. I apply these perspectives on the current discourse and describe certain social aspects of the use of analog equipment as analog distinction.

Issue 11|analog, distinction, emulation, inequality, valuation|

Meanings of Spatial Formation in Recorded Sound

Emil Kraugerud

This paper investigates the importance of forming the virtual space in recorded music. With a production-analytical model called the sound-space I seek to draw attention to the ways in which spatiality in recorded sound affects interpretation of meaning in music. The sound-space comprises both the four-dimensional spatiotemporal organization of previous models for sound analysis, and the ways in which that organization emphasizes meanings in recorded music. In order to demonstrate how the sound-space can be applied in production I have recorded and mixed a song and compared it to a previous version that was produced before the work on the sound-space concept started.

Issue 11|Popular music, record production, spatiality, stereo image, virtual space|

Hyper-compression in Music Production; Agency, Structure and the Myth that ‘Louder is Better’

Robert W. Taylor

Producing ‘loud’ recordings is a prevailing expectation within music production via the process known as hyper-compression; associated with the ‘louder is better’ paradigm. Despite tensions between the empirical evidence of science and the subjective interpretation of creative agents, the use of hyper-compression continues unabated. This paper proposes an examination of these tensions from a systemic perspective; agency, and symbolic and social structures. A synthesis of both objective and subjective viewpoints of this creative system is presented, coupled with theories of habitus and capital, to expose the relationship between agency and structure in the use of hyper-compression as a creative tool.

Issue 11|agency, hyper-compression, loudness, loudness wars, music industries|

Perspectives from the spatial turn on the analysis of space in recorded music

Mikkel Vad

The so-called spatial turn in philosophy, cultural studies, geography, art history, and literary studies has not been connected with the analysis of space in recorded music. This article reviews a number of the most influential concepts of thinkers’ associated with the spatial turn (Foucault, Harvey, Soja, Cosgrove, Jameson, Bachelard, Lefebvre) and connects them with the literature on space in recorded music. This can offer new insights to the understanding of space in music, particularly by helping us address questions of the ontology of recorded music and explaining the social production of space in music.

Issue 11|music analysis, soundbox, Space, spatial turn, staging|

New and Old User Interface Metaphors in Music Production

Mads Walther-Hansen

This paper outlines a theoretical framework for interaction with sound in music mixing. Using cognitive linguistic theory and studies exploring the spatiality of recorded music, it is argued that the logic of music mixing builds on three master metaphors—the signal flow metaphor, the sound stage metaphor and the container metaphor. I show how the metaphorical basis for interacting with sound in music mixing has changed with the development of recording technology, new aesthetic ideals and changing terminology. These changes are studied as expressions of underlying thought patterns that govern how music producers and engineers make sense of their actions. In conclusion, this leads to suggestions for a theoretical framework through which more intuitive music mixing interfaces may be developed in the future.

Issue 11|conceptual metaphors, embodied cognition, Intuitive interaction, mixing interfaces, spatiality|

Automatic Description Of Music For Analyzing Music Productions: A Case Study In Detecting Mellotron Sounds In Recordings

Carlos Gustavo Román Echeverri, Perfecto Herrera

Introduction The invention and expansion of sound recording technologies, the development of computers and the subsequent digital revolution, radically transformed the way music is currently conceived, created, produced, distributed and experienced in different cultures around the world. Nowadays, music is almost completely dependent on technological processes and its access is frequently mediated by digital technologies. […]

Issue 08|Automatic Music Description, Instrument Detection, Mellotron, Music Information Research|

The ‘Brazilian Electronica’ Of César Camargo Mariano And Prisma (1984-7): Hybridization Or Tradition?

Alexei Michailowsky

Mixing Synthesizers and Brazilian Music This paper discusses the work of the Prisma project, which happened between 1984 and 1987 and whose main purpose was to introduce synthesizers and MIDI technologies to the tradition called música popular brasileira (‘Brazilian popular music’; the anacronym ‘MPB’ is widely used as well) as a significant purpose of their […]

Issue 08|Brazilian jazz, Brazilian popular music, electronic music, hybridity, synthesizers|

Rethinking Creative Practice In Record Production And Studio Recording Education: Addressing The Field

Paul Thompson, Phillip McIntyre

Introduction Traditionally, Western notions of creativity have been viewed from a Romantic perspective where often the moment of insight or inspiration is considered to be the point of creativity (Boden, 2004). Modern popular representations of musicians, engineers and record producers in the media also serve to support these notions. Most strikingly, the common sense representations […]

Issue 08|audio technology, creativity, education, record production, sound technology|

Recording as Social Practice

Joshua S. Duchan

On college campuses across the United States, Canada, England and parts of Asia and Europe, ensembles of student singers regularly enter recording studios with the goal of creating not only a musical product, but also a musical and social experience.  As a genre of amateur, peer-led musicians who arrange, perform and record mostly popular songs […]

Issue 08|a cappella, amateur, practice, social, vocal|

Rock Production And Staging In Non-Studio Spaces: Presentations Of Space In Left Or Right’s Buzzy

Michael Holland

Introduction This paper discusses the use of non-studio recording practices in the staging of ensemble vocal performances in contemporary rock music production. The paper analyses the production process and resultant audio examples from a record produced by the author in 2011-12. The methodology for this research is practice-led, and at times auto-ethnographic, drawing on similar […]

Issue 08|New Zealand Rock / Reggae, non-studio recording, Polystylism, staging, Vocal recording|

The “Virtual” Producer In The Recording Studio: Media Networks In Long Distance Peripheral Performances

Isabel Campelo, Mike Howlett

Introduction The producer has for many years been a central agent in recording studio sessions; the validation of this role was, in many ways, related to the producer’s physical presence in the studio, to a greater or lesser extent. However, improvements in the speed of digital networks have allowed studio sessions to be produced long-distance, […]

Issue 08|media networks, musical performance, performance interaction, producer, recording studio|

Creativity And Home Studios: An In-Depth Study Of Recording Artists In Greece

Stefanos Kaloterakis

Introduction The aim of my research is to identify whether the use of DAWs in home studios has influenced the way Greek artists produce music and if so, in which ways this medium can influence creativity. The nature of the topic dictates the full understanding of how musicians and producers in Greece work, what are […]

Issue 08|creativity, Focus groups, Greek musicians, Home studios, technology.|

What is a Jazz Record Anyway? Lennie Tristano And The Use Of Extended Studio Techniques In Jazz

Marian Jago

Introduction In 1956, jazz pianist Lennie Tristano released an eponymous LP on Atlantic Records that for the first time made use of overdubbing and the manipulation of tape speeds in a jazz context. The resulting tracks “Line Up,” “Requiem,” “Turkish Mambo,” and “East Thirty-Second Street” created a watershed moment for the creative use of extended […]

Issue 08|authenticity, functional staging, jazz, Lennie Tristano, over-dubbing|

On Critical Listening, Musicianship and the Art of Record Production

Paul Draper

Introduction The idea of a ‘record producer’ is a slippery one. As Mike Howlett tactfully puts it, “at its simplest, the producer’s task is to produce a satisfactory outcome” (2012, p.190). Elsewhere more noisily described as arranger, co-writer, industry interface, mix engineer liaison, mentor and more – a producer at the helm of a team assumes […]

Issue 08|Critical listening, practice-based research, record production|

A Semantic Approach To Autonomous Mixing

Brecht De Man, Joshua D. Reiss

1 Introduction “There’s no reason why a band recording using reasonably conventional in- strumentation shouldn’t be EQ’d and balanced automatically by advanced DAW software.” Paul White, Editor In Chief of Sound On Sound magazine There is a clear need for systems that take care of the mixing stage of music production for live and recording […]

Issue 08|autonomous systems, democratisation, Mixing engineering, perception, recording technology|

“You Won’t See Me” – In Search Of An Epistemology Of Collaborative Songwriting

Joe Bennett

Introduction This paper proposes an observational methodology by which we may gain deeper understanding of the creative processes used by collaborative songwriters. Almost every aspect of popular music production and consumption has been discussed and analysed in scholarly work, but the creation of the song itself has rarely been subject to scrutiny. This is perhaps […]

Issue 08|collaboration, collaborative songwriting, creativity, observational methodology, songwriting|

The perception and importance of drum tuning in live performance and music production

Charles Cuny Crigny, Philip Robinson, Phillip Richardson, Rob Toulson

Abstract Intricate tuning of acoustic drums can have a significant impact on the quality and contextuality of the instrument when played live or in the recording studio. Indeed, many musicians and producers will spend a number of hours achieving a preferred drum sound prior to a performance. Drum tuning, however, is a rather subjective matter, […]

Issue 04|drum tuning, production sound, recording, technology.|

How to Reformat the Planet: Technostalgia and the “Live” Performance of Chipmusic

Mike D'Errico

“It looks like you’re just pressing buttons.” It is perhaps the most common audience feedback received by the 8-bit chiptune composer, who uses vintage video game consoles to create original music. At a basic level, the chipmusician is “just pressing buttons,” as they control the various parameters of the sound chip using the same equipment […]

Issue 06|

Recreating an Unreal Reality: Performance Practice, Recording, and the Jazz Rhythm Section

John Crooks

This paper discusses the effect of jazz recordings on the expectations and performance practice of jazz rhythm section players, especially bassists and drummers. Both aural/traditional and notated/academic approaches to jazz pedagogy rely heavily on recorded examples from the full history of record production. These recordings present a wide variety of perspectives on the sound of the jazz rhythm section, many of which are highly distorted and unreal. Close microphone placement, bass proximity effect, musician placement and other factors will be discussed vis-à-vis jazz rhythm section musicians and their goals as performers and recording artists. The highly developed rhythmic language of jazz will be problematized through direct engagement with the singular perspective and deceptive authenticity of ‘acoustic’ recordings, which can seem real but are actually recorded interpretations of acoustic events from remote, and often forgotten or lost, times and places.

Issue 06|

Performance Recordivity: Studio Music in a Live Context

Julian Knowles

Introduction The paper seeks to examine the relationships between the gestural, performative and technological practices of the recording studio and emerging performance practices in the 21st century and propose an initial taxonomy of the major developments in the last 20-30 years.  In terms of scope, our focus is on music performance models outside the ‘playback […]

Issue 06|

Creative Conflict in a Nashville Studio: A Case of Boy & Bear

Guy Morrow

This article examines the issue of conflict in the studio environment, addressing the question of whether conflict in creative groups is necessary for generating artistically successful outcomes. Sawyer’s (2007) notion of group flow will be applied in a case study concerning Australian band Boy & Bear’s debut album recording sessions at Blackbird studios in Nashville, USA that took place in April 2011. This album was produced by 10 time Grammy award winner Joe Chiccarelli (My Morning Jacket, The Shins, Elton John, U2, Beck, Frank Zappa, The White Stripes, Young the Giant, The Strokes). The resulting album, Moonfire, won 5 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards in November 2011 including: ‘Album of the Year’, ‘Best Group’, ‘Breakthrough Artist (Album)’, ‘Breakthrough Artist (Single)’ and ‘Best Adult Alternative Album’.

Issue 06|Conference Papers|

From LA to Lisbon: the “LA Sound” as a referential production sound in Rui Veloso’s recording career

Isabel Campelo

In the 1980s, a distinctive production sound came to be associated with musicians, producers and sound engineers working in Los Angeles, including, notably, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan. The “LA Sound” became a reference for musicians and sound technicians around the world. Rui Veloso, a Portuguese singer/song-writer, tried to emulate it in his records over three decades, facing several difficulties because of the lack of studio technology and professional experience. This article regards performance in the studio and the relations involved in the construction of distinctive conceptualizations of production sound in popular music when displaced.

Issue 06|Popular music, production sound, recording, sound, technology.|

Putting It On Display: The impact of visual information on control room dynamics

Alan Williams

1. Introduction In contemporary recording sessions, digital technology mimics that of older analog tape-based processes, so that for the performing musician the experience is nearly indistinguishable. In either case, takes are recorded, overdubs and punches are executed, and the results are auditioned. However, the clearest indication of a computer at work is the presence of […]

Issue 06|Conference Papers|

Achieving Intelligibility whilst Maintaining Heaviness when Producing Contemporary Metal Music

Mark Mynett

Common denominators and central attributes of contemporary metal music are the intensity and energy of performance, which usually feature aggressive rhythm structures and techniques, and the depth, and density, of the tones involved. These characteristics can present numerous challenges to achieving heaviness and sonic weight, which is the defining feature of this form of music, as well as definition and intelligibility, which are fundamental to providing a high level of sonic clarity for these often-complex performances. Heaviness and intelligibility are the principal objectives of a high commercial standard of contemporary metal music production, and are the focus of this paper.

Issue 06|Conference Papers|

Capturing That Philadelphia Sound: A Technical Exploration of Sigma Sound Studios

Toby Seay

Sigma Sound Studios was founded in 1968 by Joseph D. Tarsia and was the site of most major record production originating from Philadelphia, PA during the 1970’s and 1980’s. As a creative environment, Sigma was instrumental in the production of “Philadelphia Soul” music. While larger markets such as London, New York or Los Angeles have a plethora of recording facilities influencing music production, the recording facilities in smaller markets such as Philadelphia, Detroit and Muscle Shoals can have a greater influence in developing an identifiable sonic character. The musical output from these cities are often associated with their pool of musicians, such as MFSB, The Funk Brothers and The Swampers. However, the creative and technical environment provides its own impact on each city’s identifiable sonic character. Such is the influence of Sigma Sound Studios on record production in Philadelphia.

Using materials from the Sigma Sound Studios Collection in the Drexel University Audio Archives and exclusive interviews with Joseph Tarsia, this paper will describe the early technical design that shaped Sigma’s environment and recording techniques developed and used by Tarsia and how this environment and these techniques supported the creative musical community. This paper will refer to select recordings that demonstrate the sonic influence of Sigma Sound Studio’s creative environment.

Issue 06|Conference Papers|

The Record Producer As Nexus

Mike Howlett

1. Introduction In this paper I propose the concept of the record producer as a “nexus” between the creative inspiration of the artist, the technology of the recording studio, and the commercial aspirations of the record company. In much of the published discussion of the producer’s role the term “mediator” is preferred, however, I argue […]

Issue 06|Conference Papers|

All Buttons In: An investigation into the use of the 1176 FET compressor in popular music production

Austin Moore

This paper focuses on the use of the 1176 in popular music production. While this compressor is regularly discussed by engineers in magazines and online forums, there is no academic research into the workings of this famous piece of studio equipment. The first part of the paper investigates the various hardware compression types and goes on to present an overview on the development of the first Urei 1176s. Subsequent chapters investigate the 1176s characteristic sonic identity and research into the approaches engineers and producers use when applying the device in their productions. To test their suggestions a series of short experiments are made using a variety of sound sources. The results are observed using audio analysis tools and subjective observations from aural tests.

Issue 06|Conference Papers|

Toward a musical monograph: Working with fragments from within the improvisation-composition nexus

Paul Draper

This paper examines the pre-production stages of a new album of original music entitled Monograph. The project firstly uses the recording studio as an resource analysis device to interrogate a database of live improvisations which have been collected over time. The following phase of the project orients around the research question: how to best move beyond in-the-moment improvisation, to being able to distil, refine, arrange and orchestrate the essence of attractive ideas in fixed recordings? This paper details emergent methods as part of an overarching practice-based research approach to the problem.

Issue 06|Composition, improvisation, practice-based research, record production|

Manwel T meets King Tubby & Marshall McLuhan – Dub Music in a virtual age

Mike Hajimichael

This paper explores Dub music as a medium of production, from its inception, through reference to King Tubby, and more contemporary virtual re-mixers, such as Manwel T. Central to the argument in the paper are the ideas that production convergence between analogue and digital methods needs to be contextualised into the broader changes that occurred in Reggae music with regard to studio technology and production. This process, it will be argued was slow and evolutionary. Through this contextualisation, the paper concludes Dub is like a tree with many branches, firmly rooted and ever changing.

Issue 06|analogue versus digital, convergence, Dub Music, King Tubby, Manwel T, Marshall McLuhan|

Celluloid Heroes: Fictional Truths of Recording Studio Practice on Film

Alan Williams

In the post-war era, many Hollywood films have utilized the recording studio as the setting for decisive dramatic action. For most viewers, these scenes serve to advance the plot. But for aspiring musicians, glimpses into the recording studio provide access to an otherwise closed world, a place where the music they know and love is created. When the protagonists struggle, their lack of experience is revealed, just as the hopeful musicians in the audience fear would occur to them in such a foreign environment. And when stars onscreen overcome their fears, the audience experiences the moment vicariously – their idol’s triumph is their own triumph.
Film representations of recording studio practice are important precisely for this reason. The actions depicted and the narrative tropes enacted on screen served to help formulate the novice’s conception of recording practice. Such movie scenes serve as a cornerstone for recording studio mythological narratives, and result in a number of assumptions regarding conflict and power struggle among recording studio participants. Inspired and intimidated by the images of studio work they have digested from adolescence through early adulthood, many recording participants utilize practices and enact mythologies first encountered through film representation. This paper [presented as a video] examines the formulation of film narrative tropes and mythologies, and the impact of these mythologies on recording studio practice.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

Creation of Media Based Learning Material for Audio and Music Technology

Dr Rob Toulson

Audio and Music Technology courses have become well subscribed in UK Higher Education, but, being a rather modern academic field, these courses have not benefited from substantial research, analysis and development of learning and teaching strategies. Furthermore, a successful career in this industry relies on a number of cross-disciplinary academic skills coupled with entrepreneurial ability and professional experience, which makes effective learning and teaching a considerable challenge. This article explores the particular education strategies which can effectively promote deep learning in Audio and Music Technology. The article further describes developed media based learning materials for assisting teaching in Audio and Music Technology and discusses their merits for enhancing the student learning experience.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

Remixing Modernism: Re-imagining the music of Berg, Schoenberg and Bartók in our time

Paul Draper, Stephen Emmerson

This paper examines the recent recording of solo piano music composed in 1908. The project offers the premise that there are liberating and research-worthy possibilities for combining the two traditions of Western art music performance and contemporary sound manipulation as a compelling language to amplify artistic interpretations. This challenges a predominant approach to the recording of Classical music which promotes the illusion of capturing a concert experience and that the production decisions appear to be transparent. The paper concludes that these new recordings offer a promising route for audiences to experience the music as a virtual artwork in its own right, where the creators interrupt production conventions and otherwise spontaneous assumptions. In documenting these processes in an ongoing way, the authors seek to contribute to the understanding of artistic practice as research within the contemporary academic landscape.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

Primary Sources in Music Production Research and Education: Using the Drexel University Audio Archives as an Institutional Model

Toby Seay

With Drexel University in Philadelphia acquiring the Sigma Sound Studios Collection in June 2005, an opportunity arose to establish this resource as a basis for research into modern music production techniques, recording technology and archival techniques as they relate to multi-track audio recordings. Sigma Sound Studios was the paramount recording studio in Philadelphia from 1968 to 2003 and was instrumental in the creation of what became known as the ‘Sound of Philadelphia’. Using this example as a model, this paper will outline how an educational institution can best preserve and use multi-track collections for music production research and will include examples from the collection as well as discuss the complications of keeping a commercial recording collection.
The Sigma Sound Studios Collection consists of 6119 magnetic tape-based recordings in twelve different recording formats. These differing formats represent the evolution of modern music production. The collection starts in the late 1960’s with analog 4-track and progresses through the 1990’s to digital 48-track. With this breadth of formats, it is possible to study how advances in technology may have influenced the creative process of musicians, engineers and producers as they performed and adapted their art. Researchers of musicology and popular music will find having access to such a collection a valuable resource for the study of music, music technology and culture. With changes in the music industry and recording media, this paper will show how having primary sources for research can enhance the connection between music production and music technology.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

The Cultural Economy of Sound: Reinventing Technology in Indian Popular Cinema

Carlo Nardi

Scholarship on record production has largely neglected non-Western music practices and their products. In particular, the countries in which most technological devices are invented and patented still exert hegemony over the music market and over discourse about music; consequently, alternative sound aesthetics are often disregarded. More recently, ethnomusicology has paid some attention to marginal areas of production, especially in relation to digital technology; in order to fill this gap in the scholarship, however, it is necessary not only to recognise the role of user agency but also to acknowledge that technology is better understood as a process rather than an object. For this purpose, I will focus on the use of the Clavioline by the Indian musician Kalyanji in the film ‘Nagin’ (1954), as an instance in which the potential of an instrument is redefined according to local aesthetics, arguing that regional record production practices are more noteworthy than conventional theories about them seem to imply. More precisely, I will analyse the microeconomic context in which Kalyanji operated, and then propose a cultural explanation of his aesthetic choices from the point of view of the participants (desi) and within the specific mode of production of the Hindi film.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

Adult MP3 Users’ Perspectives on Past and Present Consumer Audio Technology: Does the Music Still Matter?

Heidi Gerber

Now that MP3 has established itself as the primary means by which music fans consume their programming, what shifts in consumers’ perceptions about the listening process, if any, have occurred? Do today’s listening experiences with MP3 technology differ from listening experiences of the past?
This exploratory study investigates adult audio consumer culture using in-depth qualitative interviews. Adult MP3 users who have used older audio technologies (such as phonograph, 8-track, cassette, and compact disc) discussed their past and present listening habits. The study found that adult MP3 users perceived today’s listening experiences as similar to those they had with older consumer technologies.
The paper also introduces the new theoretical concept of “experiential peripherals,” which refers to experiences connected to but not directly involved with the listening function in audio consumption.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

‘Working out the Split’: Creative Collaboration and Assignation of Copyright across Differing Musical Worlds.

Justin Morey, Phillip McIntyre

It has been theorised (e.g. Hennion 1990, Wicke 1990, Zak 2001), and there is mounting empirical evidence (e.g. Davis 2008, McIntyre 2008, Moorefield 2005, Howlett 2008), that record production is a highly collaborative process. When records are made producers, engineers, musicians, programmers and A&R personnel all cooperate in a creative process that can be characterised using a number of models (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997, Paulus and Nijstad, 2003). Songwriters, however, are an ever present but little mentioned presence in the studio, although their work is crucial to studio output.
It can be claimed that the development of technological possibilities within the studio has afforded collaborative songwriters an increasing variety of creative methods, and this has led in turn to a range of views concerning the kind of contributions that can be considered to be songwriting among music creators. Calculating the ‘split’ or financial remuneration for the work involved, then, depends upon a set of complex commercial, legal, moral, social, cultural, ideological and discursive factors coupled with certain common sense myths. This paper presents empirical evidence of how current practice compares to some of the older models of creativity that still appear to predominate in the promotion and consumption of recordings.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

Sound at Source: The creative practice of re-heading, dampening and drum tuning for the contemporary metal genre

Mark Mynett

A review of academic literature on drum recording and production will reveal significant discussion of microphone choice and placement. However, there is little presented that specifically relates to the studio production of contemporary metal, and even less concerning the concepts and techniques to achieve the genres drum sound at source. This can be problematic due to the often dense and complex performances involved, and the very specific weight, clarity and definition required of these drum tones.

This paper will firstly focus on the physicality of drums, their components and their impact on timbre. The nature of drumheads, re-heading, dampening and tuning, which is at the core of the drum sound producers endeavor to capture, will then be explored. Discussion will be provided throughout as to broad principles that can be applied to gain the most appropriate tonalities, at source, for the genre.

Drum tuning can therefore be seen as an art in itself and its importance cannot be overlooked, as even the best quality drum kit is still going to sound poor unless properly tuned.

This body of work will reflect the author’s nine years experience producing within contemporary metal production, including releases through Sony and Universal, and working alongside some of the most successful and respected producers from the genre, including Colin Richardson, Andy Sneap and Jens Bogren.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

Virtual Oasis – thoughts and experiences about online based music production and collaborative writing techniques

Mike Hajimichael aka Haji Mike

This paper explores the dynamics of online music production through a case study analysis of the CD release ‘Virtual Oasis’ (2010), made entirely online by producer/author Dub Caravan, and poet/author, Haji Mike. It will be argued that for this process to develop and succeed the authors used the tool of the Internet to engage in continuous, constructive rhetorical and creative exchange/dialogue. This happened over a period of 8 months in 2010, which eventually led to meeting physically for the first time and touring live in Cyprus and UK. Such collaborations are now occurring throughout the world as a by-product of the Web 2.0 and virtual digital audio revolutions which have impacted music production and the music industry world-wide. While it is made clear one case study is not all embracing methodologically, it is argued that this kind of ethnographic work which focuses more on the actual ‘culture of production’ (rather than the production of culture) is important in understanding key changes and shifts in processes of music creation and communication online.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

Fine tuning percussion – a new educational approach

Phillip Richardson, Robert Toulson

The tuning of acoustic drums rarely has a formal education method yet the quality of drum sound can have a significant effect on the success of a recording project. Drum tuning is a largely subjective matter and is often considered something of a ‘dark art’ amongst emerging drummers.

One popular method involved in drum tuning is to ‘clear’ or ‘equalise’ the drumhead, to ensure an even response by tapping the drumhead around the perimeter of the drum and checking that a consistent sound is achieved at all locations. This technique is discussed in a number of popular texts and magazine articles, but to date has not been evaluated in a scientific context. Thus, no formal or quantifiable method of educating a technician in clearing the drumhead has previously existed. It is shown that it is possible to quantify how uniform the drumhead tuning is via simple acoustic analysis; i.e. with a drumstick and microphone. Furthermore, a drumhead with a non-uniform response exhibits beat-frequencies, producing an uneven profile to the drum response decay envelope.

It is apparent that while many expert musicians have the ability to tune drums by ear, an intelligent tuning aid provides benefits to those who are still learning their trade. The visual feedback produced by the novel and bespoke analysis software used in this paper can help musicians and producers make more informed choices with regards to their drum sound. Furthermore, the developed methods for drum tuning allow the development of a standardised education method for assisting and accelerating the learning of this skill.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

The effect of spatial treatment of music on listener’s emotional arousal

Michael Fletcher

An experiment was carried out to discover whether altering the spatial attributes of recorded music resulted in a measurable difference in the Electro-Dermal Activity (EDA), and therefore the emotional arousal, of listeners. A recording of Schubert’s Ständchen D920a was made in a recording studio. Two mixes differing only in their spatial treatment were produced from this recording. These mixes were presented to a sample of listeners under experimental conditions, in a repeated measures design experiment. The EDA of the listeners was recorded. Statistical comparisons of the number of EDA change events, and the strength of EDA events at cluster points was made. This comparisons failed to demonstrate statistical significance, however the results were encouraging enough to warrant a rerunning of the experiment with altered methodology to compensate for ordering effects which contributed to large standard deviations in the statistical analysis. Analysis of the musical triggers for EDA changes helped support results from previous studies on the musical sources of the chills/thrills response.

Issue 05|Conference Papers|

This list, which began life in the 1990s, is not regularly checked for broken links, but the maintainer, J. P. E. Harper-Scott, would be very grateful to be alerted to the need for any changes or additions (email).

  1. Academe This Week (free guide to non-subscribers to The Chronicle of Higher Education)
  2. Academe Today (on-line service for individual, paid subscribers to The Chronicle of Higher Education, with daily news in higher education, a guide to academic resources on the Internet, the full text of The Chronicle, hundreds of job ads, etc)
  3. ACT Music & Performance
  4. Aktuelles aus der DDR-Forschung (newsletter on research on German DDR history)
  5. Alternative Access (music e-zine)
  6. American Historical Review [note that only subscribers can reach this URL]
  7. American Historical Review [note that everyone interested in information and titles in the JSTOR Project can access this site]
  8. Analitica – Online Journal of Music Studies (the online publication of the Italian Society for Music Theory and Analysis)
  9. Annual Review Sociology Online
  10. Ariadne (journal of Internet issues for librarians and information specialists)
  11. Arte salvaje de las Pampas (arts and music in Buenos Aires)
  12. Atlantic Monthly (electronic edition of magazine devoted to politics, society, arts and culture since 1857)
  13. Austrian History Yearbook
  14. BIBLIO (journal on book-collecting and bibliophiles)
  15. Bulletin of Italian Ethnomusicology (published by the Italian National Committee of the International Council for Traditional Music, featuring articles, news, and announcements related to traditional Italian music, its performance, and related scholarly endeavours)
  16. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science (online edition of the print journal of the same name; the site includes a complete listing of electronic journals in psychology)
  17. The Celebrity Cafe (on-line magazine with entertainment interviews)
  18. Central Europe Review
  19. Chronicon (online history journal)
  20. Cognitive Psychology (online version of the print journal of the same name)
  21. Computer Music Journal (containing only a selection of full-text articles from the hard-copy journal, but with an abundance of other and supplementary material so as to be a valuable resource in its own right)
  22. Computer Music Journal abstracts
  23. Conference (interdisciplinary journal of philosophy and theory produced by graduate students at the City University of New York Graduate Center, Columbia University, Fordham University, the New School for Social Research and New York University)
  24. Consciousness and Cognition (online version of the print journal of the same name, with two types of articles: empirical research and theoretical articles, besides reviews of books and other literature)
  25. Contemporary Educational Psychology (online version of the print journal of the same name, with “articles that involve the application of psychological theory and science to the educational process”)
  26. Contemporary Music Review – provides a forum where new tendencies in music can be discussed in both breadth and depth
  27. Correo Bibliotecario: Boletín informativo de la Subdirección General de Coordinación Bibliotecaria (Ministry of Culture, Spain: monthly newsletter on Spanish public libraries and related topics, by FTP)
  28. Critical Inquiry (excerpts from articles in current issue, lists of forthcoming articles, excerpts and tables of contents from back issues, details of subscriptions, etc)
  29. Critical Musicology Journal
  30. CROMOHS (Cyber Review of Modern Historiography, including a “specialized library of texts, documents and research materials” for historiography since the 16th century)
  31. Culture & Tradition (news about the journal and the full contents of an associated newsletter: “Canada’s longest running, bilingual folklore journal, run by graduate students in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland and l’Universite Laval de Quebec; topics covered include the traditional arts, music, cuisine, architecture, beliefs, cultural psychology, and sociological structure of regional ethnic, religious, and industrial groups in Canada”)
  32. Czech and Slovak Music Society Newsletter (Judy Mabary)
  33. Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Academic Discussion Lists (abridged version)
  34. Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Academic Discussion Lists (complete archive)
  35. Dissonanz-Dissonance (Swiss journal for contemporary music)
  36. Early Modern Literary Studies (16th- and 17th-century English literature)
  37. ECHO (“music-centred, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed Web-based journal created and edited by graduate students in the Department of Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose purpose is to create a forum for discussion about music and culture which includes voices from diverse backgrounds”)
  38. Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA, peer-reviewed journal published entirely electronically, at Arizona State University, dealing with education policy at all levels and in all nations)
  39. EJournal (past issues)
  40. EJournal (experimental website)
  41. Electronic Musicological Review (EMR, quarterly Brazilian trilingual (Portuguese, Spanish and English) publication with articles and reviews on historical musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, performance practice and composition)
  42. Electronic Soapbox Magazine (“dedicated to being a platform for the discussion of the mass media”)
  43. Enculturation (journal “for Cultural Studies, Rhetorics, and Theories, devoted to theoretical approaches to discourse, culture, and society, including rhetoric, music, film, literature, and critical, literary, postmodern theory”)
  44. ESCOM Newsletter (electronic version of the bilingual (English/French), bi-annual, print newsletter published by ESCOM, the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music; October 1996 will be the last issue of the ESCOM Newsletter, after which its functions will be taken over in part by ESCOM’s new journal, Musicae Scientiae (see below), and in part by the ESCOM WWW page at http://www.mus.cam.ac.uk/ (abstracts only)
  45. Essays in Sound (set up in 1991 by Contemporary Sound Arts, Newtown, NSW, Australia. “to create and promote a facility for critique, analysis, research and production in the area of sound, and to encourage and promote debate amongst practitioners, nationally and internationally
    ◦facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to the critical investigation of sound encompassing historical, political, philosophical, artistic, sociological and technological perspectives
    ◦engage in and support research, and the production and distribution of various forms of print and electronic media related to sound”)
  46. EF/hm (EthnoFORUM/hypermedia, online interactive journal for ethnomusicologists)
  47. Ethnomusicology Forum – seeks to provide a dynamic forum for the presentation of new thinking in the field of ethnomusicology and encompasses the study of all music, including Western art music and popular music
  48. Ethnomusicology Online (alternative address also available)
  49. European Music Journal (Europäische Musik Journal, EMJ, European internet journal for music and music education)
  50. Filmkultura (online journal of the Hungarian Film Institute, in English and Hungarian versions)
  51. Folklore (ISSN 1406-0949; electronic journal on folklore: more specifically, shamanism, urban legends, ethnomusicology, pareomiology, popular calendar data and folk belief; published by the Folklore Department of the Institute of Estonian Language and the Estonian Folklore Archives)
  52. Frankfurter Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft (FZMw, online musicology journal)
  53. generationMusic (for graduate students in music theory, hosted by the University of Iowa)
  54. Gli spazi della musica (a double blind peer-reviewed, multilingual, online, open access, biannual journal of musicological and comparative studies research, based at the Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy)
  55. Guitar and Lute Issues (electronic journal and WWW site dedicated to the scholastic and practical aspects of the guitar and lute and guitar and lute playing)
  56. HARPA (Harp Journal)
  57. HEJMEC (Hellenic Journal of Music, Education and Culture). HeJMEC is an international open-access and peer reviewed journal devoted to critical study and critical analysis of issues related to the fields of Music, Education, and Culture.
  58. Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI, index to more than 400 journals of interest to Latin Americanists published throughout the western hemisphere and in Europe from 1970 to the present)
  59. Iberian Discoveries (e-journal offering a platform for scholars working on Iberian or Latin-American music who wish to make their research available to the academic community)
  60. InMusic and Media (web magazine focused on the Australasian Music Business)
  61. ITEM (Bulletin of Italian Ethnomusicology) (alternative address also available)
  62. ITonline (online version of InterActive Teacher, containing “all the content of the printed version as well as additional information for which there was no room in the hard copy”)
  63. Jazz Guitar Online
  64. Jazz Perspectives – bridges the jazz-as-music and jazz-as-culture divide of contemporary jazz studies, and promotes broader international perspectives on the jazz tradition and its legacy
  65. Journal for MultiMedia History
  66. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (E-journal)
  67. Journal of Excellence in Higher Education (University of Phoenix, Southern California Campus)
  68. Journal of Film Music
  69. Journal of Internet Cataloging
  70. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, affiliated with the Society for Mathematical Psychology
  71. Journal of Memory and Language
  72. Journal of Modern History [only those from institutions with a site licence can reach this URL, containing the complete backfiles of the print version of The Journal of Modern History, from 1929 up to 1990, as of 20/1/1997; the project has a moving wall — generally three or five years — which dictates the most recent volume that will be put online]
  73. Journal of Modern History [general description of the project, available to all]
  74. Journal of Music Research Online
  75. Journal of Music, Technology & Education (“Journal of Music, Technology and Education is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.”)
  76. Journal of Music Theory (information about subscriptions and article/review submissions, contents of recent and forthcoming issues, and details of an ongoing back-issue sale)
  77. Journal of New Music Research (‘seeks to establish an interdisciplinary foundation for the creation and study of music by means of the most advanced technologies.’)
  78. Journal of Phonetics
  79. Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music (E-journal)
  80. Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland
  81. Journal of Sound and Vibration
  82. Journal of the American Musicological Society home page
  83. Journal of the Association for History and Computing (e-journal of the American Association for History and Computing)
  84. Journal of the Royal Musical Association home page
  85. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes (contents of current issue)
  86. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching (Miami University, Oxford, OH)
  87. Jouvert: A Journal of Post-Colonial Studies (multi-disciplinary bi-annual journal engaging in postcolonial theory, literature, history, arts, and politics)
  88. Kinema (journal of History, Theory and Aesthetics of Film and Audiovisual Media, from the University of Waterloo, Canada)
  89. lamr@uts.cc.utexas.edu (the e-mail address of Latin American Music Review at the University of Texas at Austin)
  90. LIMEN (“e-journal dedicated to the performance paradigm”)
  91. Link magazine (“our remit embraces all the key areas of community music and music education — from its impact on early years learning and instrumental teaching to the classroom, special needs, technology and professional development”)
  92. MandoZine (“online journal for mandolinists, including reviews, instruments, and tablature”)
  93. MEMI (Magazin für Elektronische Musik im Internet, E-journal)
  94. Men & Masculinities
  95. Mikropolyphonie (“journal for scholarly analysis and discussion of contemporary music making and research”, provisional site)
  96. Min-ad: Israel Studies in Musicology Online
  97. Mousikos Logos (“online journal published by the Music Department of the Ionian University in Corfu that focuses on all aspects of musicology and interdisciplinary approaches to music”)

  98. Musicae Scientiae (Journal of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music)
  99. Music Analysis
  100. Music & Anthropology (online multimedia interactive journal, founded by the Study Group on “Anthropology of Music in Mediterranean Cultures” of the International Council for `Traditional Music (ICTM), hosted by the Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo (Università di Bologna), and supported by the Fondazione Olga e Ugo Levi, Venice)
  101. Music & Letters home page
  102. Music and Politics (University of California, Santa Barbara)
  103. Music & Psyche (published by The Music & Psyche Network at approximately 9 monthly intervals)
  104. Music & Vision (daily web magazine)
  105. Music Business Journal (“The Internet Publication for the Global Music Business”)
  106. Music Monitor (monthly music magazine “featuring reviews, interviews, news & concert listings”)
  107. Musicology Australia – the scholarly journal of the Musicological Society of Australia
  108. Music Research Digest (ftp from the Psychology Department, University of Pennsylvania)
  109. Music Theory Online (E-journal of the Society for Music Theory)
  110. Music Theory Online: automated database searching of the archives
  111. Music Week (online magazine concerning the music business)
  112. Muso (“the groundbreaking magazine for the 16-30 generation of classical music enthusiasts in the UK and beyond”)
  113. Muziek en Wetenschap, Dutch Journal for Musicology
  114. Muziki: Journal of Music Research in Africa – wishes to establish a unified African voice for African music research
  115. Nash (ISSN 1081-132X; dedicated to American Roots music (country, bluegrass, etc.) with articles on performers, reviews, internet links, etc)
  116. Near-Eastern Musicology Online
  117. NEMO-online
  118. NetMagazine (E-journal: relationships between culture and technology, Centro Studi Baskerville, Italy)
  119. Neue Musikzeitung (in German, for classical music, music education and new music; reports on festivals, congresses, competitions, etc; archive full text search, links, news with weekly updates, jobs for musicians)
  120. NewJour archive (Internet list for reporting and announcing new on-line electronic journals)
  121. Newsletter of Asian American Creative Music
  122. New York Times Book Review (includes both Sunday and daily reviews (up to current date), with archives back to 1980; site is freely available, but requires registration and a choice of password for access)
  123. NIC-NEWS (update on network resources)
  124. Notitiae Cantus (files also available via FTP)
  125. Online Musik Magazin (Germany)
  126. Online Trombone Journal
  127. Oxford University Press (UK) home page, including home page for OUP journals, a Journal Abstract database, full text online journals services and the Oxford English Dictionary Newsletter
  128. Performance Practice Review
  129. Perspectives of New Music home page
  130. Polish Music Journal (research in Polish music, available from the Polish Music Reference Center, University of Southern California)
  131. Popular Music and Society – publishes articles, book reviews, and audio reviews on popular music of any genre, time period, or geographic location
  132. Postmodern Culture (e-journal of interdisciplinary criticism: North Carolina State University, Oxford University Press, and the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities)
  133. PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness
  134. Psychology journals online: see Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science listing above
  135. Renaissance Forum (refereed e-journal “specialising in early-modern English literary and historical scholarship and the critical methodologies of these fields, published biannually from … Hull University”)
  136. Renaissance News and Notes
  137. (Re)Soundings (journal in multimedia format, encouraging interaction among traditional disciplines including art, history, literature, and music, while particularly inviting multicultural, ethnic, and women’s studies participation)
  138. Revista Electronica de Electroacustica
  139. Revista Electronica de Musicologia (REM, Electronic Musicology Review (Brazil)
  140. Portuguese Journal of Musicology new series/Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia nova série: peer-reviewed online journal, open access, multiple languages
  141. Scottish Music Review (Call for Papers)
  142. Sincronia (published by University of Guadalajara, Mexico, in cultural studies, literary criticism, philosophy and linguistics; submit articles by e-mail to sgilbert@udgserv.cencar.udg.mx)
  143. Sonus: The Internet Journal of Critical Musicology
  144. South African Journal of Musicology (SAMUS)
  145. Speculum [only those from institutions with a site licence can reach this site, containing the complete backfiles of the print version of Speculum, from 1926 up to 1989, as of 20/1/1997; the project has a moving wall — generally three or five years — which dictates the most recent volume that will be put online]
  146. Speculum [general description of the project, available to all readers]
  147. STM-Online (Swedish Musicological Society, Swedish version; English version is here)
  148. Storia della Storiografia
  149. Studies in Bibliography On-Line (textual database from the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia and the University Library’s Electronic Text Center: “this service will include the full text of the nearly 1,000 articles in the 49 annual volumes of Studies in Bibliography (1948-1996) in a searchable and browsable database; it will be completed in time for the 50th volume of Studies in spring 1997, and will be encoded in Standard Generalized Mark-up Language (SGML), following the Text-Encoding Initiative Guidelines (TEI); Volume 7 of Studies (1955), along with a cumulative table of contents for Volumes 1-49, is already available)
  150. taktlos (music magazine of Bavarian Radio)
  151. Talk (monthly Brazilian journal: interviews with personalities linked to Brazilian music)
  152. Theory and Practice
  153. Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie (Dutch Journal of Music Theory)
  154. to the QUICK (web journal of media and cultural analysis)
  155. Traditio (history, thought, and culture of antiquity and the Middle Ages, including author index and subject index to the 50 volumes published up to 1995, cataloguing almost 800 items)
  156. Transcultural Music Review (Revista transcultural de música, E-journal)
  157. Transposition. Musique et sciences sociales
  158. Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory (electronic version of a print magazine published through New York University’s Department of Performance Studies, featuring essays, scripts, interviews and articles on performance from interdisciplinary feminist perspectives)


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