2005 ARP Conference

Information         Call For Papers         Abstracts         Program


Some, but not all, papers are available in full by clicking on the title. These are not peer reviewed proceedings.

Mike Alleyne (Middle Tennessee State Uni)

Title: Fade to Black: Record Production & Cultural Authenticity

This paper examines ways in which production decisions and concepts have shaped the creative legacies of key black musical icons and, in some cases, influential genres. It also considers some specific instances in which the results have removed the works from their authentic temporal and/or cultural contexts in arguably detrimental ways.

The paper makes special comparative reference to the crucial role of production and its impact on the recorded legacies of Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, and Seal. The production approaches of Teo Macero, Alan Douglas, Chris Blackwell, and Trevor Horn, among others, are addressed, and inevitably, in the cases of Hendrix and Marley, this analysis also encompasses the ethics of posthumous post-production. The case of dub reggae, and its utilization of the recording studio as perhaps the ultimate production tool, is also examined.

Prof. Andy Arthurs (Queenland University of Technology):

Title: Supermusic Culture: Production and Reception

Music and food have similarities and modern living has affected both. The supermarket contains products – many delicious to taste, but whose ingredients and nutritional value are unknown to most consumers. Consuming metamusic, ie being interested in the general flavour, such as 60s pop, ambient, chart hits, gives rise to a supermusic culture – we graze, we like, we listen, we move on.

When Thomas Edison first commodified Mary had a Little Lamb, musical life took a leap from the music-making process to the consuming product. Since then producing, presenting and performing music have been on the move, with new technology, tone colours and ideas.

Thus from a producers point of view the world has changed radically, but for a listener things may not seem much different.

As a producer of music I can involve myself entirely in the reason I want to create, by being deeply moved by an event, or stimulated by a structural problem, or wanting to work through some obsession.

None of these may be known to the supermusic listener, who may only care about the ‘sound’, and who may hear a song on the radio, often having no idea who it is by, or in what culture it is situated.

Many have grappled with these problems, some embracing it, others opposing it.

As humans we now live in a digital world, connect to the net, play a computer games etc. But do we still need music to have a human affect? Or is this the digital immigrant speaking? Can it be understood, as Holzman said, entirely within a digital esthetic, a disembodied acousmatic approach; or does it require an interface, a mediation, enabling us to find embodiment in the sound, from witnessing cause and effect to dancing to it?

Andrew Blake (University of Winchester)

Title: Towards a Musicology of Early 1960s EMI Recordings Produced by Suvi Raj Grubb

Andrew Blake is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Winchester. An occasional saxophonist and composer, his writings include The Music Business (1992); The Land without Music: Music, Culture and Society in Twentieth-Century Britain (1997); the edited collection Living through Pop (1999); and a contribution to Cook and Pople, eds, The Cambridge History of Twentieth Century Music (2004). He is also the author of books on sport, fiction, and consumer culture, including The Irresistible Rise of Harry Potter (2002).

George Brock-Nannestad (Patent Tactics, Denmark)

Title: "How Did They Do It? Coaxing, Coaching, and Hoaxing To Record a Performance In the Acoustic Period"

Today we are left with physical records (disc records or cylinders) that contain signals in some manner representative of an event that took place in front of a recording horn any time between 1885 and 1925. Anecdotal accounts exist of how recording took place, but very little factual information has been available that demonstrates how the result: a listenable (on contemporary reproducers) and possibly commercially valid product was actually obtained in such alien circumstances. How did the process of recording influence the result? For instance, from the beginning re-scoring of works was performed in order to obtain a desired musical balance.

The paper will look at the step-by-step process and related feedback mechanisms that were used i) in ethnographic recording in the field, and ii) in commercial enterprises like the Victor Talking Machine Company (USA) and the Gramophone Company (UK). Some of the basic processes were remarkably different for cylinder and disc records and between the companies mentioned. The paper will trace the developments in improvements and standardization of work practices as well as the various attempts at quality control. This material has not been available in coherent form before.

Lines will be drawn to the relative freedom caused by the advent of the microphone for recording and the initial restraint in using this freedom because the contrast to acoustic recording must not be perceived as a revolution but rather an improvement in degree. Sound examples taken from approved, commercially issued records will be compared to reproductions of test pressings.

Robert Burnett (Karlstad University Sweden)

Title: The Music Industry and the Production of Culture

The globalization of the music industry has both an economic and a cultural dimension, that are closely linked. Since a peak in the year 2000, annual sales have decreased in most major markets. This 'crisis' in the music industry has been blamed on the Internet by the transnationals. A consequence of declining sales figures has been a downsizing of industry staff and artists by approxiamately fifteen percent.

In this paper we focus upon the production of popular music in Sweden. We will study how changing industrial and organizational context, technology, and business market conditions shape the organization of work and careers in the "art world" of popular music production. In particular we will study the current changes in the organizational arrangements governing the employment of artists and producers working in popular music production. Work arrangements and careers in the production of music will be studied. The issues we will explore are:

(1) the shift from hierarchically-based staff employment to market-based freelance employment of writers and producers in music production companies;

(2) the determinants of this shift in the organizational, technical, and economic context of popular music production;

(3) the consequences of this shift for access to employment and inequality in career outcomes;

(4) the role of conventions, fashions, and genres in decision making in a "culture industry system"; and,

(5) the degree to which centrality in networks of ties among creative workers, organizations, and "brokers" shapes inequality and "cumulative advantage" in career outcomes.

Although this study is specific to the entertainment industry, the analysis of changing employment relations under conditions of risk and uncertainty has implications for understanding labour market processes more generally. By examining the conditions under which employment relationships are structured under market versus hierarchical arrangements, this study will contribute to recent scholarship on freelance markets, independent contracting, and the "externalization" of work more generally. Moreover, popular music is an industry experiencing tremendous change in its business, technological, and regulatory context, and thus provides a unique laboratory for studying the impact of industrial transformation on employment opportunities.

Jan Butler (Nottingham)

Title: The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the musicology of record production

Musicologists are beginning to take the recording itself seriously as an object of analysis, and to take seriously observations in other fields about the interactions of record production, aesthetic values, song writing, and commercial concerns that jointly determine that object(Gracyk [1996], Wicke [1995]). However, it is rare that these interactions be theorized per se, as a weighted ensemble of determinations that shape a recording and its reception; instead scholars have tended to focus on only one aspect, ignoring the relationships between them.  This paper will attempt such a weighted assessment, focusing on one of the oft-discussed moments in the history of pop music, namely The Beach Boys' (1966) Pet Sounds, and its place in the ‘production race’ of the early 60s, when bands vied to be the first to use studio developments to unleash a ‘new sound’, and their record companies struggled to find a successful way to market this emphasis on the studio.

The Beach Boys offer a particularly illuminating example of the interaction between the disparate elements of record making as Brian Wilson not only produced, but composed, arranged and performed in all their records.  Despite widespread popular attention, there has been little critical investigation of the pivotal case of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (1966), heralded for its studio innovations, but a commercial flop in the US until much later.  This paper investigates the interrelation of the elements outlined above in the creation of this album, and also assesses the marketing and reception of the record as The Beach Boys tried to make the difficult transition from teen surf band to studio auteurs.  In doing so, I shall also highlight the problems inherent in exploring the elements involved in the creation and release of an album which is now surrounded by the myths of popular culture.

David Carter (Griffith University, Queensland)

Title: Well past time: Towards a musicology of audio recording production.

In line with the 2005 ARP conference strand Towards a Musicology of Production,  this paper examines the process of audio recording production and seeks to lay the groundwork for an analytical, critical and historical approach to the study of audio recording production.

For more than half a century musicology has lagged behind music critics, sociologists and popular culture in failing to engage with audio recordings as primary musical texts.  Perhaps more importantly, musicology has failed to engage with the process by which audio recordings are produced. This means that as a discipline musicology has become less and less informed about an increasingly complex field of study. 

There are no set rules or processes by which a recording comes into existence and what may on the surface appear to be a simple causal relationship between the producer and the product, on closer examination reveals a complex system of roles and relationships contributing to the creative process of record production. 

This paper will examine the questions, what do we mean by “production”?  Is record production solely the responsibility of the producer? What is the purpose of a musicology of production and how do we go about it?  How do audio recordings act as historical documents?  And, how does a musicology of production engage with audio recordings as musical texts?

Anne Danielsen (Oslo)

Title: Technological Mediation and the Musicalization of Reality on Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet

During the 1980s several rap artists and groups addressed the problems and issues linked to unemployment, poverty, underground economy and drug abuse in American inner city communities. This trend of social commentary rap culminated with the commercial breakthrough of groups like Public Enemy and N.W.A. Public Enemy became particularly important in this process. Their crossover success was considerable, and their combination of heavy beats, astonishing sonic montages, and an explicit political involvement appeared as extremely powerful, both regarding politics and music. A starting point for this paper was the experience that these two dimensions of their music, the political and the musical, seemed to intertwine to an extreme degree. It seems almost impossible to say where the one ends and the other starts. In this paper I investigate how Public Enemy’s use of documentary material contributes to this effect. My aim is to show how what might be called an exchange of art and reality, an almost constituent feature of so-called reality rap, is staged, not only as an interplay of images and music as in for example music videos, but in music, that is, within a sonic world. In this process production and music technology play important roles, in fact to such an extent that it may be argued that the genre is unthinkable without such tools.

Timothy Day (British Library)

Title: Microphones In Choirs And Places Where They Sing

A sense of space and the precise nature of the acoustic of a very large building in which a choir or a choir and an organ were performing could only be captured with post-war technology such as full frequency-range recording, magnetic tape and microgroove discs. Clearly in such complicated acoustics a particular sound source can yield very different effects to listeners standing in different parts of the building. Recording in such locations as St Paul’s Cathedral or York Minster provides particular challenges of interpretation to producers and engineers. Should the recording try to reproduce the effect experienced by a listener in one particular position? Should the recording seek to clarify the sounds while at the same time attempting to convey the vastness of the space? Or should the performance of William Byrd or Jonathan Harvey be re-imagined for the microphone, as John Culshaw re-imagined Wagner for the microphone? Should the aim be to eavesdrop on a ritual, or to allow the listener to partake in a ritual? What is the object of recording at all in such a building as ‘that musically unsavoury substance, the acoustic of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge’, as one critic considered it? Is the object to create a ‘sensual’

or an ’intellectual’ effect as one listener expressed it, to assist the performers of Tallis’s Spem in alium reveal ‘the whole architectonic structure’ of the work and the miraculous complexity of the part-writing, or to give the listeners an ‘incense-laden’ experience? How are these issues approached? Do choir directors or record producers make final decisions? These questions will be examined drawing on commercial discs, broadcasts, and a collection recently donated to the British Library of more than fifty hours of recordings privately made in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge between 1955 and 1959.

Timothy Day is Curator of Classical Music Recordings in the British Library and Chair of the Academic Advisory Board of CHARM, the AHRC Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music.

Nicola Dibben (Sheffield)

Title: Producing the sound of emotional intimacy

Björk has been singer-songwriter/composer, arranger, and producer of her music, and this paper uses music analysis and interview material to reveal how changes in the compositional process have impacted on her music.  The paper traces compositional and production practices across her career, considering the early compositional stages in which sounds are collected and organised (using home music technology alone, and working with sound engineers) and later stages of production (collaborations with other musicians, arrangers and producers, and mix engineer Mike <Spike> Stent who has worked with her for 10 years).  A detailed analysis is presented of how production and mix techniques, such as the placement and separation of sounds in the mix, and treatment of Björk’s distinctively laboured vocal style, have been used to create emotional intimacy on Björk’s recent albums.  Much of the discourse surrounding Björk’s music encourages listeners to receive her music as if it offered up her affective life, to the listener: she has remarked that: “…It's my job to go through emotions and describe them to other people.”   This paper analyses the production techniques used to create this sound world, and shows how these are the result of a collaborative production process between Björk and recording and mix engineers.

John Dougan (Middle Tennessee State Uni)

Title: Objects of Desire: Creating Discourse and Constructing Canons in Blues Record Collecting

In the early 1920s, the 10-inch 78-rpm record spectacularly announced the transformation of the blues from a pre-technological oral tradition to a form of mass art.  As Richard Nevins notes, the blues “as a frame of reference [was] mostly a marketing strategy, birthed along side the record industry.”  As a text, the blues 78 functions on (at least) two levels, explicitly as a form of commodity culture meant for entertainment, and implicitly as a means of transcribing cultural history.  The fluidity between its explicit and implicit cultural function is diachronic in that it is treated as a commodity at one time and not another.  In other words, one person’s junk in 1930 becomes, 30 years later, another’s cherished artifact.

This fluidity reflects the relationship between the mostly African American consumers of blues 78s in the 1920s and 1930s and that of the mostly white, male blues record collectors of the 1950s and 1960s.  As self-appointed keepers (and creators) of a blues canon, record collectors treat these recordings as a series of secular scriptures discoverable and attainable by hard work and subterfuge.  They are organic intellectuals who possess a daunting amount of factual information and are immersed in ongoing arguments over canon formation.  As cultural populists, they reject the academicization of the blues and elitism of archival institutions that keep the music from “the people.”

Musical archaeology, the search by record collectors for these long thought lost artifacts, is the focus of this paper, specifically the contribution of collectors to the creation of a blues canon and attendant blues discourse that results through the cataloging and re-releasing of these records.  Their work is crucial to the epistemology of the blues in that, as culture brokers, collectors provide a wider access to the genre’s soundtrack.  I will focus primarily on the work of Pete Whelan founder of Origin Jazz Library, Nick Perls founder of Yazoo, and the notorious Joe Bussard, who defines how this type of record collecting has developed into an explicitly gendered form of connoisseurship and canon formation, that is openly contemptuous of post-World War II popular music.

Paul Draper (Griffith Uni, Queensland)

Title: Encounters: Subdisciplinary Dynamics in Australian Music-making and Recording

Encounters: Meetings in Australian Music was a national symposium hosted in April 2005 at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU) to explore two centuries of contact between European and indigenous Australian musical cultures through concerts, film screenings, lectures and publications. The symposium represented an extensive investigation of this music in both performance and academic discussion – in a single week, some 80 compositions were performed by around 200 students, staff and visitors in a series of concerts, nine of which were recorded by QCGU music technology student and staff teams.

Through the lens of the Encounters recording process, this paper highlights the notion of  music subdisciplines and the interactions which lead to the production of mastered music CDs. While these artefacts may be construed as a definitive account of what transpired, the production process is revealed as a more reflexive undertaking comprising teamwork and guesswork, planning and improvisation, area leadership and interdepartmental ambiguity. The paper examines the varied imperatives that performers, composers, musicologists, technologists, educators and arts administrators bring to the project and seeks to clarify meaning for the recordings as virtual constructs of subdisciplinary encounters.

The project dynamics are detailed through a three stage action research investigation which subsequently argues for a collaborative portfolio approach to learning, teaching and research in music. Through a fusion of teamwork, technology, information exchange and cognitive apprenticeship such work may be leveraged across and beyond the subdisciplines, its goal being to achieve increased understanding of the simultaneous action of several levels of musical reality, towards a trans-subdisciplinary ecology for music-making.

Evan Eisenberg (Author)

Title: Unbecoming A Thing: The Work Of Art In The Age Of Digital Mutation.

In the digital age, will the recording — long the default “work of art” in popular music and jazz — lose not only its thing hood, but its work hood, subject as it is to constant revision, meddling, remix and mash-up? Will we return to the 19th-century situation in which the work of art is the “composition,” the “song”? Or will we revert to something more like oral tradition — call it “aural tradition” — where there is no work of art, only a river of music, a delta of streams and streamlets that converge and diverge, so that (as Heraclites said) we never step in the same work twice?

Dietmar Elflein (Producer & Studio Owner, Berlin)

Title: Preset Authenticity

With an ethnomusicological approach I’d like to focus on how the availability of cheap new technology changes the different ideas of musicians, technicians and audiences on authenticity.

There is a wide-spread use of preset sounds and/or „cheap“ synthetic reproductions of real instruments in some genres of western popular music like German hip hop or German folk pop (the untranslatable volkstümlicher Schlager). German hip hop and German folk pop audiences differ completely in age, gender and ethnicity but both genres are highly artificial, use a lot of playback in concerts, tend to be politically conservative and need to be recognised as authentic by their audiences to be successful. At the same time a growing part of their audience is becoming „musicians“ (and in a way technicians) too, because they own a PC and some software or a portable keyboard..

I’d like to think about questions like: What kind of authenticity is meant by the musicians, technicians and audience in this genres? Do they care  about sound at all or is it the text or the image, that provides the desired authenticity? Is something becoming authentic for them, when they know, ‚how it’s done’? Do sounds or artificial reproductions of „real“ instruments have to sound cheap, synthetic or like a preset – that means known to the audience as computerbased -  to become authentic?

Ted Fletcher (tfpro, Audio Designer/Manufacturer)

Title: Recording In The Real World

My notes are titled “Recording in the real world” and the substance is about the difference between what we are taught, and what is the real truth about the (sonic) environment in which we live. The discussion covers volume, compression, quality, distortion and stereo imaging and listening.

Martha de Francisco (McGill, Montreal)

Title: Music production and advanced recording technology - a musical challenge

The role of the record producer is becoming more complex, as the rapid advance of technology creates a new dynamic between musical interpretation and its recorded realization. The impact of a recorded performance can be critically affected by the way in which a recording is created. Increasing technological progress constitutes a constant challenge to the record producer and the recording team.

The essence of classical music recording is to capture an acoustic event in the most accurate and lifelike way. The record producer and engineer strive to follow the given parameters and the given proportions in the hall where music is being played regarding balance between instruments, between direct and indirect sound and all this in agreement with a given musical source that in most cases is established by a score.

With the introduction of new recording technology such as high definition audio recording and Surround Sound, a new aesthetics of the recording needs to be developed between musicians and engineers.

The question of reality and the recorded performance will be addressed. What is authenticity in music recording? Which are genuine ways to bridge the difference between live concert and music recording? In an effort to reach the ideal performance, how can tools like editing and mixing be implemented in an adequate way in music recording?

An analysis of the functions, aims and objectives of a classical recording producer is given. The topics are illustrated with images and case studies of a variety of recording situations.

Simon Frith (University of Stirling)

The Myth Of The Producer

In this paper I will be concerned with two kinds of question: first, why and how the record producer became the object of attention in the development of rock criticism; second, why were some producers/productions understood in terms of their creativity but others not. What interests me, in short, is not simply how critics contributed to the emerging ideology of record production but also why particular producers’ work was or was not recognised by record reviewers.

Simon Frith is Professor of Film and Media at the University of Stirling, and editor of Screen, and chairs the judges of the Mercury Music Prize. His most recent book, edited with Lee Marshall, is Music and Copyright (Edinburgh University Press). In January 2006 he will move to Edinburgh University to take up the Tovey Chair of Music.

Ichiro Fujinaga (McGill, Montreal)

Title: A guideline and a metadata schema for building a global database of music recordings

In order to systematically study music recordings as historical documents, it is essential to have easily accessible data available for the study. Unfortunately, compared to the textual documents available online, the recordings are not easily accessible and finding information about the recordings (metadata) is difficult. Much of the music recorded in the twentieth century are still in analog format and needs to be digitized for easier access, and the old library cataloguing standards are generally limited to bibliographic description of relatively few elements; they have weak relationships between fields (e.g., performers or conductors) describing separate works in the same album; and they make no distinctions between publications of the complete work versus parts of the work.  In order to improve the situation, which hampers the progress of musicological study of recordings, a best-practice workflow guideline for efficient digitization of recordings and a new metadata schema are being developed to facilitate in building a solid foundation of global music database for the study of art of recordings.

The digitization guidelines include matters such as audio sampling rates to the scanning resolution of record labels. The new metadata schema provides for complete auditory, pictorial, and textual content analysis of the recording and its packaging (e.g. album covers). Characteristics from MARC21, MODS, METS, TEI, MPEG-7, and others were incorporated into its design. The basic schema framework is based on Dublin Core, which was expanded and refined to include metadata at multiple and various levels totaling 120 fields.  The schema includes five types of metadata: description (enable discovery and identification of resources), administration (support management of resource), structure (describe font and layout characteristics of texts), legal rights (protect intellectual property rights), and technical information (record the capture process and technical characteristics of the digital objects).

Mark Gillespie (Laval Uni, Quebec)

Title: “What’ch You Know About Darkchild?”: Understanding production-signatures through the eyes of competitors

Many authors (Zak, Moore, etc.) have observed that well-known producers are often marked by their use of distinct and identifiable sonic palettes.  In recent years production-technologies have become more and more integrated within processes of composition in popular music, and, consequently, the producer’s role has largely evolved from a “shaper of sound” to a “giver of sound.”  As producers move from mixing sonic palettes to singing works as their own, a new generation of celebrity producers has begun to replace artists as style markers and indicators within the top-40—with “sonic-signatures” acting the brand names of musical authorship.  This is apparent, for example, when: (1) the back-side of Gwen Stefani’s Love-Angel-Music-Baby (2005) resembles the appearance of a collection of 19th century art-songs by various composers in the way producer names have been integrated into track titles; (2) successive singles by artists like Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson, Britney Spears, and the Backstreet Boys have been couched within completely different online-music genres (from “punk” to “rock” to “pop” to “R&B” to “country” to “alternative”) depending on who produced them; and (3) after ten years of silence, Michael Jackson’s 2001 comeback single “You Rocked My World” (Invincible)  begins with the word “Darkchild”—calling attention, first and foremost, to the brand power of producer Rodney Jerkins’ “Darkchild” sound.

While the existence of such celebrity “production-signatures” has been noted (albeit briefly) in the literature, much remains to be said about what these actually consist of sonically, how they communicate authorial information, as well their overarching function in authorizing, authenticating, and legitimizing both producers and artists.  Also overlooked is the role production-signatures take on when mediating sonic differences between competing producers, and even competing genres, and how, conversely, these “sounds” get interpreted, borrowed, exchanged and absorbed by competitors.

             In this context, the present study attempts to explain how authorial information is communicated in production-signatures, and, more specifically, by exploring them through the eyes of competitors—examining their portrayal in sonic forgeries and caricatures.  Focusing on the example of abovementioned “star” producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins (Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, etc.), and drawing upon an apparent homology in clothing and apparel fashion, the presentation illustrates how, both in representations of Rodney Jerkins’ “Darkchild sound” by competitors, and in his own representation of competing sounds, “production-signatures” communicate authorial “brand” information on two independent levels: style and logo.

Saurabh Goswami and Dr. Selina Thielemann (Vraja Institute, India)

Title: Documentation, preservation, promulgation: goals in recording the traditional musical heritage of Vraja, Northern India

The region of Vraja in northwestern Uttar Pradesh, North India, is widely appreciated for its abundant heritage of music, literature and fine arts. Nourished by mythological and theological aspects, this Vaishnavite pilgrimage center has developed a colorful spectrum of musical traditions, both classical and local, in the course of the past five hundred years since its establishment as a religious stronghold. Today, however, many of these unique art forms are on the verge of extinction. Concern about their survival, coupled with a growing scholarly interest over the past decades, has resulted in an increasing recording activity serving a variety of purposes related to the larger goal of preserving and documenting an endangered tradition.

As artists and scholars directly involved in the revival of the traditional arts of Vraja, the authors of the present paper have been actively participating in the task of recording musical and festive events in the region for over a decade. Our proposed paper raises a number of questions linked to the process of recording and to the different approaches required by varying objectives of the recording. In the concrete, we shall address the issues of (1) scope – What is being recorded?, (2) purpose – Why is it being recorded?, and (3) the purpose-related questions of how / in what manner to conduct the recording. Purposes, even if related to the overall aim of documenting, preserving and propagating the threatened art, vary immensely, and each respective purpose calls for a different view on the issue of transparency and distortion. A recording made for the concrete purpose of transcription and musical analysis may require extreme clarity of each respective sound track, hence is ideally recorded with a separate microphone for each participating musician. A recording intended for publication as a commercial CD serving the purpose of dissemination, on the other hand, is more likely to focus on the reality of the performance event, even though this may imply less analytical clarity. The manner in which the recorded material is processed, too, is determined by the concrete goals envisioned, such as preservation in archives, transcription and analysis, or publication.

Finally, it will be interesting to question the stance taken by the various groups of individuals involved in the process of recording. Musicians, documentalists, archivists, research scholars and producers naturally have their individual viewpoints resulting in differing approaches to the task of recording as such. We may furthermore point at the role of the sound engineer / recording technician which, in recordings of live performances in India, is often assigned to ordinary electricians at a local venue rather than to professionally trained personnel, and the consequences emerging from the employment of such unskilled assistants for the outcome of the recorded product.

Since the authors are involved in the task of recording as both practicing artists and recordists, it is hoped that the proposed paper may benefit from their two-level experience and dual point of view.

Donald Greig (Professional Singer)

Title: ‘Sing To The Mike’: Authenticity And Performance In Early Music Recording

Recording sessions take place behind locked doors. In a church in the middle of rural England the perceived risk is that a member of the public will interrupt a vital ‘take’. In a recording studio in West London someone may gain access to a jealously guarded, much-anticipated ‘second’ album. But beyond privacy and secrecy lie other reasons for such exclusion. At its most mundane recording is often about the elimination of error and the search for perfection will often not admit to its process. At its most cynical such secrecy is a necessary corollary to the marketing department’s control over myth and reality and an eager music press. In all cases it is clear that the image of the group is paramount and that in some way recording - and more importantly, accounts of the recording process - are potentially disruptive. In short, access to the authentic experience of recording is severely compromised. Control over the performer’s discourse is loosened over time (sometimes simply contractually), but even then access to the performer’s motivations and choices is tainted by a combination of unreliable memory, the lure of anecdote and, simply, ego. Yet recordings are one of the most valuable tools available to academic study of performance trends and also form the most concrete testament to evanescent performance. How, though, do we use the first-hand experience of performers and of what value are such subjective accounts? In short, can we believe anything a performer says?

Donald Greig, a former lecturer in Film Studies, is a professional singer. He is particularly associated with the world of early music where he is a founder member of The Orlando Consort and a regular member of such groups as The Tallis Scholars and the Gabrieli Consort. He is also active in the world of session singing, both in the fields of pop music and musical theatre. He has given papers at various conferences and has written for journals such as Screen, Early Music and Musical Times.

Michael Haas (Independent producer)

Title: The Recording Producer As Musicological Filter

The Classical Recording producer is generally the custodian of what is regarded as “art” music in its process of being committed to recorded medium. Yet, what does this custodianship actually entail and what are the musicological implications? A&R responsibilities inevitably have musicological responsibilities whether recording a work from the past; establishing a new repertoire undertaking or selecting a young artist. Both the executive producer and the recording supervisor need to be sensitive to the judgment of history and future scholars when recording. This can be as basic as deciding on the most appropriate constellation of the figured bass in a Mozart opera or as difficult

as unpicking a bit of orchestration which does not record convincingly in Gurrelieder. Contemporary works with the composer in attendance have their own musicological validity, yet for those of us who have experienced such things it raises the question of how much credence the composer’s participation actually provides. And if issues can be unclear with the composer attending sessions, how much less clear are they when the composer has been dead for centuries? Is it the producer’s responsibility even to activate musicological credibility into sessions? And with all of the technical tools now available, to what extent are we now even accurately documenting the expertise of today’s generation of interpreters? Almost 30 years of recording experience have given me an opportunity of exploring these issues which I hope, in the above paper, to address in a constructive rather than theoretical fashion.

Michael Haas is an independent producer with more than 20 years experience as an executive and recording producer for both Universal Music Group’s Decca/London and the Sony Classical labels. He was producer for Sir Georg Solti for over 10 years winning several Grammies, before leaving for Sony to work with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic as well as working in 1994 as Vice President of A&R in New York.

Now independent, Mr Haas spends his time developing his own recordings and projects in addition to lectures, writing, festivals and conferences. These have included his work with the Forum for Suppressed Music and the Jewish Music Institute, and the position of Music Director of the Musica Prohibita Festival of Entartete Musik in Barcelona. In 2002, Mr Haas was awarded the 2002 JMI (Jewish Music Institute) David Uri Fellowship in recognition of his work and research in music banned by the Third Reich. In addition, he was recently appointed Music Curator of the Jewish Museum of Vienna.

Stan Hawkins (Oslo)

Title: “Mentasm” – Tracking Beltram’s  production and the aesthetics of the mix

This paper addresses the role of the producer as a creative proponent of dance culture by considering the classic track, “Mentasm,” from 1991, produced by the New York producer Joey Beltram with Mundo Muzique. Underpinning the reading of this track are various perspectives on how production and recording in dance music functions. Framed within a musicological debate, numerous strands are drawn together that help explore the aesthetics of the mix and discovering what kind of approaches are relevant for addressing production. It will be argued that the ideal of production in dance music informs styles of performance as well as those of arrangement through DJ-ing. This is manifested in a range of techniques attached to recording practice that convey a high level of consistency and variation within the overall mix. Drawing on a range of studies that have provided a useful start for scholars of popular music (for example, William Moyland, Paul Théberge, Allan Moore, Steve Jones, Nicholas Cook and others), the aim of this paper is to suggest how production can be assessed on a creative, analytical, and critical level.

Beltram’s legendary track, “Mentasm,” provides a fitting example of how production processes entail important compositional and arranging techniques that might easily be overlooked in traditional music analysis. Above all what is most compelling in this track is how production functions and characterises the stylistic idiom, namely hardcore dance. Musically, this is achieved by a patchwork of blatant sample joins and smart edits that are captured and shaped in the recording. During this paper, I set out to demonstrate how the stylistic traits of this track are located in the sampladelic mish-mash of stabs, breakbeats, down-tuned guitar, spooky strings, and dub bass, all of which are regulated through mixing, micing, processing and overdubbing techniques. Finally, it is argued that through the aesthetics of the mix, the meaning of the production emerges as the most vital component of the compositional approach.

Mathew Hill (James Cook University, Queensland)

Title: Music Analysis and the Challenges Presented by Music Production

The advent of recording technology has presented challenges to traditional musical analytical methodologies. Numerous analytical methods have been developed in order to address the inadequacies of score-based methods.  Such methods have illuminated various aspects surrounding the reception of musical works in particular genres. Musicologists working in the fields of electronic, electroacoustic, rock and electronic dance music have addressed such aspects such as timbre, spatialisation, meaning, and affect. To varying degrees, the recording plays a central role as the object of analysis, however existing methodologies rarely focus on the processes involved in the production of the recording, i.e., the level of creation. Thus a key question emerges; what has been the impact of recording technology on the creative process, from the perspectives of the performer, composer, producer and engineer?

This paper is an account of practice-based research currently being conducted at James Cook University (QLD, Australia) as part of a doctoral study designed to address this question. As a musician and producer himself, the researcher seeks to extend Middleton’s (2000) recommendation of the participant analyst, to that of a participant/analyst/creator.  The deficiencies of existing analytical methodologies will be discussed with particular reference to emergent technologies, music creation, recording practice, and interdisciplinary theoretical issues. This paper will discuss the application of a new analytical method to various historical and emergent musical genres and discuss the potential for this knowledge to be applied in the fields of music technology, education and musicology, and examines the nature and authority of such knowledge.  This discussion has relevance to three conference themes: (1) Recording Practice; (2) What is the product? What is the art object?; and (3) Production and Perception.

Jay Hodgson (University of Alberta)

Title: "Towards an Aesthetics of “Sound Fidelity,” Subtracting “Prostheticism” From Commentary on Recording Practice: Miles Davis’s Nefertiti (1967) and Bitches Brew (1969/1970)"

Commentators of Recording Practice tend to assume that music recordings are technological “extensions” of original speech acts, each imbued with more or less documentary authority (i.e., “sound fidelity”).  In assuming this, commentators constitute their object of study -- Recording Practice -- as a technological “extension” of human aural faculties skewed towards musical purposes.  From this perspective, the recorded voice is “disembodied,” recorded space is “virtual” and “sound fidelity” is demonstrable.  In turn, Recording Practice emerges as nothing but an incomplete rendition of “live” musical practice -- sound endowed with neither body nor place and which is, consequently, identifiable only by what it lacks of “live” musical exchange.

I suggest that this perspective of Recording Practice proceeds from a rather Platonic assumption: all technology -- not just sound reproduction technology -- is archetypically prosthetic, and each music recording therefore participates in “prostheticizing” musical experience into hitherto unknown multiplicities.  In contrast, and for reasons which I outline throughout this paper, I argue that “live” musical practice and Recording Practice constitute unique ways of “doing” musical communications between which no unity can be asserted but that both furnish what is currently conceived as properly“musical” experience.  Reviewing magazine advertisements published by The Victor Talking Machine Company from 1909-1919, mixes featured on Miles Davis’s Nefertiti (1967) and Bitches Brew (1969/1970), and the critical discourse surrounding these two recordings, I construct and elucidate an aesthetics of “sound fidelity” as it was shaped by record innovators, record receivers and record labels during the past century.  In turn, “sound fidelity” emerges as something which is signified -- never achieved -- by mixing a music recording to intersect with certain reception paradigms that are operative in certain vectors of “live” musical exchange.  I conclude by suggesting ways to consider Recording Practice such that “the myth of sound fidelity” (Sterne 2003) is negated.

Mark Irwin (LCMM)

Title: Distortion and Subjective Audio Quality

The audio industry has always relied on the ‘golden ears’ of record producers and engineers.

Despite the industry moving almost exclusively to digital platforms there has recently been a renaissance in the manufacture and sales of ‘classic’ styled Valve and early transistor hardware, particularly at the ‘front end’ of the recording chain (Microphones and microphone amplifiers) and signal processors. There has also been a large number of re-issues of landmark units as well as many digital emulations (as ‘plug-ins’) for computer based recording platforms. According to conventional technical specifications these ‘classic’ devices should not perform as well as modern ‘chip’ based technology.

However, their popularity amongst professionals and the growing ‘pro-sumer’ and hobby markets indicates that perhaps there are qualities that the technical specifications are not measuring - or are we just being fooled by clever marketing and audio mythology into believing that these machines can really add that elusive ‘fairy dust’ to our recordings.

This paper seeks to gather the thoughts of a wide variety of end users as well as audio designers and academics and will explore my ongoing research into this subject.

Mike Jarrett (Pensylvania State)

Title: The Self-Effacing Producer: Absence Summons Presence

Musicians, as an identifiable class of artistic laborers, result when social conditions make it possible to claim authorship of auditory performances.  Producers result when it is possible to claim authorship of recordings.  Why then is there such a limited knowledge of record production?  Since the 1890s, when gramophone records were first marketed to the public, the labors of production have been effaced.  Producers have worked hard to remain inaudible--and, generally, to remain invisible.  The authors of recordings are widely understood as the musicians whose performances are presumably “captured” onto various recording media--media presumed to have a negligible impact on the “music itself.”

Understanding recordings as the creations of the musicians whose performances they feature is like equating filmmaking with acting.  It ignores the apparatus and those who control this apparatus.  My larger study focuses on key industry workers-­a group of very powerful men-­that managed the recording of popular music in the U.S. by controlling all facets of production. At this conference I want to present a short paper and an accompanying poster presentation on the self-effacing producer: on practice and ideology.

I have interviewed a number of record producers: e.g., Milt Gabler, Bob Thiele, Chet Atkins, Hal Willner, Lawrence Cohn, Ken Nelson, Bob Weinstock, Tom Dowd, Sid Feller, Buddy Killen, Tony Brown, Pete Anderson, George Avakian, Teo Macero, Craig Street, Creed Taylor, and Bill Laswell.  I have organized their comments into a web-based, multi-media exhibit (a CD-ROM).  These producers describe their philosophy of production and their role in supervising the creation of some now-classic recordings.  Their practices reinforce the widely held conception of popular recordings as the creation of musicians, independent of and, often, antithetical to technology.  These producers generally affirm that their power resides in invisibility (inaudibility); their art in concealing itself. 

Mats Johanssen (Oslo)

Title: Recording and Authenticity in contemporary Scandinavian folk music.

This paper sets out to explore some questions regarding the construction and perception of authenticity in recorded music. I intend to focus on various styles in which musical parameters become problematic when represented in a recorded form. In fiddle-based Scandinavian folk music the melody performed is considered as ever evolving, rather than as a fixed entity. In other words, it becomes a redundant exercise to pin down a firmly structured ground material to create a production that depends on a fixed beat/melody/ harmonic structure. Rhythm, for example, is driven by flexible melodic articulations, without any beat being necessarily represented behind the melody. While this could be added as an external representation of structurally important accents, the problem is that these accents usually are not evenly distributed throughout. Instead of starting with a recorded beat and playing the melody on top, the other way around therefore appears to be a more natural one. Although one still has to compromise with the flexibility of the tune itself.

Traditional folk music productions with solo performers are also confronted by the fact that variability only to a certain degree can be represented in a recording. However, it is the extensive use of the studio as a creative lab in the more recent multi-instrumental band productions that has put this challenge at the center of the artistic attention. And as the concept of authenticity seems to relate to the feeling of closeness to the performer – in the sense of something real being presented – it is interesting to consider how this is dealt with in recording and production. In particular, I will investigate how rhythmic flexibility, as a potential means for expression, can be represented in multi-layered productions with both programmed and performed lines.

Andy Keep (Bath Spa)

Title: Creative Abuse Drives Developments in Record Production!’

In this presentation I would like to consider the notion that innovation in both the technology and recognised techniques in the field of music production are driven by the creative abuse of current technologies.

The post-modern approach to technology known as creative abuse involves more conceptual techniques then that of ‘recommended use’. This could be through the genuine desire to find that elusive sound or effect, but is more likely to be pure heuristic experimentation.

When looking at the historical starting points of most widely recognised production equipment and techniques there always seems to have been someone wrongly using the technology of the day. Classic examples include mutli-track recording and thickening single instruments using ‘flange’ or ‘phase’. Within the digital domain creative abuse aesthetics are informing software design only for it to be wrongly used again, even when they are being designed for innovative users

Can we learn anything from this realisation, and where can it possibly take us on the evolution of recording production?

Chris Kennett (Westminster)

Title: Analysing what exactly? The quirky ontology of listening as text

Most semiotically-influenced methodologies of pop music analysis favour the recording as the central 'text' for analysis or close-reading. Moore's concept of 'affordance' and Tagg's 'hermeneutic-semiological method', for example, espouse successfully the benefits of close-reading the sound-content of a recording, and of exhausting the range of meanings the listener can create from it. However, this approach rests upon certain assumptions about the listening experience which obtain increasingly infrequently in today's mass-mediated, ubiquitous musical landscape. In  particular, the analyst has a privileged position as listener: s/he has ample time in which to cognize repeatedly a favourite recording through headphones at home, without distractions, and with full control over volume. This sort of analysis, though, is unlikely to bear any similarity to that of a partially deaf listener forced to endure snatches of the same recording in a supermarket, say, nor to that of someone for whom the song connotes irredeemable sadness.

Indeed, recent empirical studies on the unpredictable mundanity of everyday musical listening, by de Nora and Crafts, among others, celebrate the personalized nature of musical meaning, dependent upon factors of personal demography, local situation, temporary emotional state, and so on. Because of these variables, there is a need for music analysis to borrow from  ethnomusicology, and to focus upon the individual listener's use of music, rather than on the seemingly objective musical recording itself, as the main object of analysis in a world of iPods, misheard lyrics and barely noticed background music. My 'cultural-acoustic' model for the analysis of music as actually cognized, rather than as cognizable, outlines one such possible ontology combining psychology and acoustics, close-reading and cultural theory. Three example analyses will be examined in order to test the model, and to sugest possible 'real-world' ramifications of such research to the music and advertising industries.

Jason King (NYU)

Title: the metaphysical role of "flow" in contemporary hip hop MC Jay-Z and superproducer Timbaland - "'Feel Me Flow':

This paper investigates the metaphysical role of "flow" in contemporary hip hop production through a deconstruction of the musical legacies of hip hop MC Jay-Z and superproducer Timbaland. Flow is one of the most widely used terms in hip hop; and it's also one of the least clearly defined. Essentially, flow has to do with an MC or DJ or producer's ability to "ride" the beat in a given performance. Insofar as it inspires good energy and feeling in the context of a warped spatiotemporality, producer Timbaland's musical architecture or "beatmaking" is analogized to contemporary manifestations of Feng Shui, the Chinese science/art of siting and placement.  The architectural design of the beat in contemporary hip hop - designed to make you dance, to move, to shake your body to inspire your soul - is analogous to the process of design and placement in Feng Shui, which is all about the use of placement and architecture to manipulate the "feel" of a room or a space.Malik Hassan Sayeed's high-tech 1999 video for "Jigga Wha Jigga Who" (performed by Jay-Z, produced by Timbaland) creatively attempts to capture the elusive, magical quality of flow in visual terms.  The issue of flow reminds us how it neccessary - and difficult - it is to address spirit and feeling in any progressive discussion of record producing.

Tellef Kvifte (Oslo)

Title: On musicological studies of music production - a process oriented approach

In my paper, I will argue how musicology is not well suited to the study of music production. In considering the implications of this I will posit three hypotheses:

1. Musicology is traditionally geared to studying objects rather than processes.  Applied to music production, this implies a focus on the finished products, and on conceptual tools to describe produced sound, rather than on the process of production. Given the rapid development of technology, and the rapid changes in the aesthetics interacting with changing technologies, it seems obvious that the creative production process has to be located at the center of the research. Changing focus from product to process and, not least, to how processes create products that, in turn, take part in new processes etc, will be a challenge for a musicology of music production.

2.  Seldom has musicological research taken technology seriously. The concern here is the interaction of technology and concepts of musical sound. Close interaction of musical concepts with the construction and playing of traditional instruments, is often taken for granted and almost invisible. On the other hand, concepts connected to music technology frequently seem  (for the musicologist) to be too technical and of little musical interest. To conceptualize the process of how producers and musicians transform technical parameters into musical parameters in their creative interaction with the available technology, becomes a new challenge for musicology.

3. As a discipline, musicology is well equipped to study styles and genres in isolation; frequently with an underlying agenda of explaining why just this particular genre is valuable. In a production oriented setting, however, there is a need for a musicological approach that understands and interacts with different genres, where the craft of production constantly draws upon different genres in a developmental manner.

Serge Lacasse (Laval University, Québec)

Title: Persona, Emotions And Technology: The Phonographic Staging Of The Popular Music Voice

A popular music specialist, Serge Lacasse is Assistant Professor at Laval University, Québec City, where he teaches popular music theory and history as well as song writing. He is also Adjunct Professor at the School for Studies in Art and Culture (Carleton University), and was previously an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Music, University of Western Ontario (2000-2002). In addition to his teaching activities, Serge is a researcher and member of the Executive for both the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la littérature et la culture québécoises (CRILCQ) and the Observatoire international sur la création musicale (OICM), as well as the French Editor for the Canadian University Music Review. He is also member of the Executive and webmaster for the Canadian branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-Canada). Favouring an interdisciplinary approach, his research projects deal with many aspects of recorded popular music aesthetics and culture: analysis of text-music relations in a song by Peter Gabriel (M.A. thesis, 1995); phonographic staging of voice (Ph.D. dissertation, 2000); intertextuality in recorded popular music (SSHRC 2001-2004); narratology and the recorded voice (FQRSC 2003-

2006); cultural history of Québec’s recorded popular music (“Penser l’histoire de la vie culturelle québécoise”, FQRSC 2003-2006); the culture of mix tapes; etc. He published many chapters and articles, co-edited (with Patrick Roy) ‘Une étoile qui danse’: Mélanges la mémoire de Roger Chamberland (Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005), and is currently editing a book on popular music and intertextuality (Incestuous Pop: Intertextuality in Recorded Popular Music). Besides his academic career, he is still active in the recording industry as a producer, songwriter, and arranger.

Dave Laing (independent scholar, London)

Title: The Producer as ‘Author’

In their International History Of The Recording Industry, Gronow and Saunio state that in the late 19th century, ‘the division of labour in the recording studio was not very highly developed, with the same man (sic) often having to do the work of sound recordist, producer and sales representative.’ Elsewhere, they echo the widely held view that ‘with (Phil) Spector, the producer became the ‘author’ of the record’.

This paper will examine the factors that enabled the separation of the ‘producer-function’ from the other roles and functions of the recording process such as A&R, label manager and engineer. Although advances in recording technology were necessary for the emergence of the producer as a distinct function(ary) in the division of labour of recorded music, they were not sufficient. The autonomous producer was equally the product of developments in the economic, cultural and legal spheres. This paper will examine with examples the contribution of these dimensions or discourses to the construction of the producer as an autonomous actor.

In the economic sphere, the principal development was the ‘outsourcing’ by record companies of the contractual responsibility to deliver the master tape plus the introduction of a royalty percentage payment to the producer from the artist’s fees.

At the cultural level, the producer took on the mantle of the ‘auteur’ of the recording, in a similar way that film critics and theorists had defined film directors as authors.

The status of the producer in the legal sphere also evolved. While most jurisdictions assign copyright ownership of a recording to a ‘producer’, this definition has invariably been taken to refer to the record company. Nevertheless, studio producers have been accepted as automatically entitled to certain royalties in some countries.

Colin Lawson (Royal College of Music)

Title: ‘The Most Original Beethoven Yet Recorded’: Fantasies, Realities And The Microphone

It is now a decade since Taruskin observed that ‘historical’ performance is not really historical and that a thin veneer of historicism clothes a performance style that is completely of its own time, and is in fact the most modern style around. As Taruskin’s views have found more widespread acceptance, the convergence of early music with global communication, air travel and the microphone has produced singular results. At the beginning of his introduction to Christopher Hogwood’s complete Mozart symphony recordings, Neal Zaslaw in 1978 made reference to Burney’s celebrated characterisation of the Mannheim orchestra: ‘Its forte is like thunder, its crescendo like a great waterfall, its diminuendo the splashing of a crystalline river disappearing into the distance, its piano a breath of spring…’. Yet six years later, the reviewer Eric van Tassel was praising Hogwood for his minimalist approach that produced performances that were not merely under-interpreted but uninterpreted, thus providing an experience ‘of unequalled authenticity…’. In 1980 Howard Mayer Brown in The New Grove bemoaned the practical difficulties of assembling a period orchestra for Beethoven, yet a mere couple of years later The Hanover Band produced an acclaimed recording of the First Piano Concerto and First Symphony that initiated the Band’s colourful relationship with the Nimbus label. Nimbus has controversially been a champion of long takes and single microphone balances and its results were distinctive and often exciting. But by

1992 Clive Brown was issuing a warning that the characteristics of some of the instruments and equipment employed in Beethoven cycles by The Hanover Band, Hogwood and Norrington would certainly not have been familiar to the musicians in Beethoven’s Vienna and that the public was in danger of being offered attractively packaged but unripe fruit.

What has been the contribution of the microphone to an early music culture that has routinely been ruthlessly selective, sometimes decidedly unhistorical and occasionally unimaginative in its approach to the primary evidence?

Colin Lawson is Director of the Royal College of Music. He taught at Aberdeen and Sheffield Universities before moving to Thames Valley University as Pro Vice-Chancellor/Dean (2001-5). He has an international profile as a period clarinettist and has played in most of Britain’s leading period orchestras, notably The Hanover Band, The English Concert and the London Classical Players, with whom he has recorded extensively and toured world-wide. Described recently as ‘a brilliant, absolutely world-class player’ (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) and ‘the doyen of period clarinettists’ (BBC Music Magazine), he has appeared as soloist in many international venues,

including London’s major concert halls and New York’s Lincoln Centre and Carnegie Hall. His discography comprises concertos by Fasch, Hook, Mahon, Mozart, Spohr, Telemann, Vivaldi and Weber, as well as a considerable variety of chamber music. Among his most recent recording is a highly-acclaimed disc of basset horn trios by Mozart and Stadler and a recital disc entitled ‘100 Years of the Simple-System Clarinet’.

Colin has published widely, especially for Cambridge University Press. He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet and author of Cambridge Handbooks to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet. He is co-editor of a series of Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music, for which he has co-authored an introductory volume (1999) and a book on the early clarinet (2000). He is also editor of the recent Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra (2003).

Donatella Livigni (Rome)

Title: The fado in the age of its technical recording

In Das Kunst-werk Im Zeitalter zeiner tecknichen Reproduzierbarkeit [1955] Walter Benjamin lays stress on how the unique value of an authentic work of art has its roots in ritual, in wich it had its first and original value of use. [p. 26]

Benjamin insists on the difference between work of art produced in its own context and the one mechanically re-produced.

The distinction between the spaces of the perfomance, in Portuguese Fado, begins from the end of the first decade of 20th century.

Some foreign majores, as the prestigious Gramophone Company of Paris, interested in this kind of urban music, have decided to supply the recording instruments in order to export the "reproduced" Fado to the European market.

Fado is an emblematic example of how a traditional urban musical genre, with a relative short history, clashed and met modern technics of mechanical recording in a short time.

At the beginning of 1930s the demand of discographic market for Fado grew so much that some fadista began to be considered as "profissional category". Since then the professionals [profissionais] have been distinguished from dilettanti [amadores].     They have obtained written contracts for their tournées in Brasil and Europe as well as for recording 78 rpm disc and radio.

Since 78 rpm disc limits the length of the lyrics up to a maximum of three or four minutes, it also affects fados' structure. As the lyrics get shorter, their mainly narrative caracter develops new expressive ways. During the 1950s fados are shorter, more poetical and deep. For nova geração 's [new generation] fadista the new "format" of lyrics has been a welcome change, as it helped the development of a new singing styles. The shortening of the lyrics brougth the focus on the estilo  and the interpretation of classic fados [classicos]. The style of each fadista became more recognizable from that of others also on the ground of variations and micro-variations in the last verses of the strophes. These melodical solutions are typical of many fados and become part of a mnemonic background. When discs start to be widespread, every fadista keeps on contributing to this "shared memory". Singing technics too were refined in order to better manage this rich inherited background. The record can therefore be considered as a "mnemotechnical" support for the "fadista community". Artists start to develop new singing technics to create personal and original estilos, even though this estilos remain close to traditional models.

At the same time the first recording instruments had to face some problems due to the typical stilemi [recurring models] of fadista voice. Microphones were easily saturated by too high volumes and recurring dynamical changes from fƒ to pp (pianinhos) very appreciated from the public of Fado. Sound engineers, working out of the borders of Portugal, were often forced to cut some frequences. In this context local discographic producers and sound engineers became protagonists of the "scene".

Great fadistas like Amália Rodrigues prefered to have their own local sound engineers who were considered as "fadistas" too. They became "cultural mediators" who had to do their best to face poor technologies. At times sound engineers had to use home-made instruments such as drain pipes used to get echos and reverber effects. They also spent hours, during the mixing, trying to find the best solutions to preserve the authenticity of the voice.

The concept of authenticity, infact, assumes a new meaning for the fadista generation of 1990s.  This meaning is strictly linked to the recording technology that helps to fix every singer's musical performance.

The editing phase corrects any eventual mistakes so that singer has the freedom to improvise without having to repeat the performance. Mixing therefore becomes a means of reflecting on the performative act. As a result the artist is driven to improve his technique and style.

As nearly as the 1950s producers, sound engineers and fadistas working together developed an awareness of the difference that exists between singing live and in a recording studio. In 1990s the producers of the notorious fadista Camané decided to include in the recording of some of artist songs the clapping of a live public together with others ritual expressions of approval typical of fado performances. On the other hand Camané chose to omit any "live" effects, aware of the fact that

"A record is a record and live is live" and adds that "Every music is, after all, played live".

According to Appadurai culture is a vast field that can be reproduced with electronic means [Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, 1996].    Fado, as it is today, is the result of a mentality that tried to find a cultural justification to its encounter with the modern recording technics. In such a context the concept of authenticity is not just a way to defining two spaces, live and studio, as for fadistas "being authentic" means establishing a boundary between the universe of Fado and the external world. It is symbol of a place where the identity is preserved.

Record can therefore be considered as an alternative source of "inculturation", a way of conveying knowledge and ultimately a document for the new generation of fadistas as well as the researcher who wishes to investigate its complex musical structure.

Dr. Nicholas Magriel (SOAS)

Title: The Influence of 78 rpm Records and LPs on the Form, Aesthetics and Ethos of North Indian Classical Music

Together with the linguist and Hindi scholar Lalita du Perron, I am engaged on a four-year AHRB-funded project transcribing and analysing 450 songs which form the basis for improvisation on commercial recordings (1903-1975) of khyal, the pre-eminent form of North Indian classical vocal music. The project has necessarily entailed the collection, digitisation and study of around 2000 recordings as well as accumulating data on the early days of the recording industry in India. This paper addresses:

1) the ways in which the form and content of raga performance, normally of substantially greater duration, were adapted to the new medium. Certain artists made conscious choices as to how the music should be re-packaged. Others simply sang the initial three minutes of a performance that might have lasted thirty minutes.

2) the effects of technological limitations on the music’s presentation. In the days of pre-electronic recording only one gramophone horn was available to sing/play into, so accompanists were acoustically as well as socially marginalised.

3) the impact of the recording industry on oral tradition. Song compositions which were the closely-guarded intellectual property of hereditary traditions were brought into the public domain, hastening the democratisation of music which occurred during the twentieth century. Some artists resisted by distorting the words of songs or by presenting only partial compositions on records.

4) the transformation of oral tradition’s fluid objects into artefacts and the standardising effect of widespread dissemination.

This presentation will be supplemented by audio examples and visual materials illustrating the ambience of the recording industry in India.

Allan Moore (University of Surrey)

Title: Beyond A Musicology Of Production

In this paper I assert both the existential necessity of interpretation of a cultural artifact, and the necessity of the communication of that interpretation. Drawing examples specifically from Brian Wilson, the Hollies and Ben Folds, I argue that musicology, insofar as it is an interpretive discipline, cannot afford to restrict itself to the effects of production decisions.

Virgil Moorefield (Michigan Ann Arbor)

Title: The Art of the Remix: Crossing Cultural Boundaries

In the late Seventies, DJs started dissecting the three-minute pop song and re-assembling it into a longer artifact suitable for dance club use. Gradually, the DJ became a producer in her own right: the ability to re-organize, to re-imagine and re-contextualize tracks evolved through a synergy of technology and imagination, and remixing was born. Since the late Eighties, remixers have performed sonic alchemy on countless tracks; in the process of re-making songs, they have also crossed cultural boundaries by re-placing the source material’s context into a variety of dance and abstract music genres.

Where transistor radios accented midrange frequencies, disco systems featured the capacity to project low frequencies at high volume. Thus the EP (extended play 12” single) was born: 7” singles could not accommodate the space requirements engendered by increased length and the wider grooves needed to cut enhanced bass frequencies into vinyl.

The phenomenon of extended play was initially achieved by deft cutting and splicing of studio tape mixes. With the rise of sampling technology such as the Fairlight CMI (1979) and the drum machine (the Linn drum, also ’79), remixing became a lot easier. Early appropriators of other artist’s work such as Afrikaa Bambataa’s trope on Kraftwerk or the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” foreshadow remixing, but are not really remixers in the fullest sense of the term. A remixer is someone who actually takes a song apart track by track, and rebuilds it in a different style. Usually, this style is a genre of dance music or electronica such as house (hard, acid, etc.), jungle, or techno. Each of these styles is defined by its approach to both timbre (achieved by very specific synthesizers: e.g., Roland TB-303) and rhythm. Techno relies on the 808 beat box for its drum sound and feel, while jungle favors scratchy drum break snippets of Sixties funk such as James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer’.

By employing the four-square computerized grid of the digital sequencer as her principal organizing device, the remixer acts at once as a reductionist, a leveler of all musics, but also as someone who crosses cultural barriers. The glue between styles is the four-on-the-floor beat (bass drum every quarter note): the most diverse types of music can be (and are) made to fit together over the common denominator of a steady beat.

Carlo Nardi (Trento, Italy & Berlin, Humboldt)

Title: Zen in the art of sound engineering

If we consider the wide diffusion of visually interfaced music-production workstations, virtual instruments, plug-ins, it seems hard to believe that most sound engineers still accomplish their tasks mainly by means of a thorough refinement of hearing. Starting from a conception in which senses and their interaction are culturally constructed, hearing itself is less a residue of a stereotyped oral culture, therefore implying immediacy and involvement, than a real aural perspective: techniques based on hearing allow a detachment between the hearing subject and the object heard, assuring judgments based on a method that resembles that of scientific experiment.

Anyway, contrarily to modern science, sound engineering is acquired largely through practice, due to the difficulty to express its competences in words. Far from being a reason for discredit, in a world in which the dominant knowledge is often mediated by the written word, the body techniques thus learn permit irreducible ways of approaching the world and the body itself.

Moreover, in order to work properly, hearing needs to feel at ease, the whole body needs to be alert, attentive, thanks to being placed in an accurately set environment, that resembles that of Zen. These considerations suggest a comparison between this current of Buddhism and sound engineering, as both are learned through practice and encompass a particular setting of the sensory environment, enhancing full-bodied ways of understanding which are commonly neglected in the West.

Paschall De Paor (University of Glamorgan)

Title: Shadows On The Cave Wall: Seducing The Producer (And Other Dark Tales)

The act of producing is a multi-faceted engagement with many, often diverse, agents within the music production paradigm. The consequences of this interaction is wide-ranging and its impact has considerable influence in both generic and specialised genres. Due to this complex and dynamic nexus, there are some difficulties in trying to approach and understand key issues in the producing discipline. This paper highlights some of the more pressing issues, and suggests possible ways to redress the imbalance between scholarly understanding and commercial producing priorities.

Paschall de Paor is a Principal Lecturer in Sound and Music Technologies at the University of Glamorgan, Wales. He leads the postgraduate programmes in music engineering and production, and is driving the development of a research centre for music producing. Current PhD work from the centre is focused on generic music producing, remixing, social psychology of music producing, and several philosophical approaches to music producing. He also leads the PhD route for professional producers. A former master glassblower of Waterford Crystal, his musical background straddles experimental electroacoustic music through to mainstream electro-pop remixing.

David Patmore (Sheffield & CHARM)

Title: John Culshaw and the recording as art work.

During his time as producer with Decca Records in the 1950s and 1960s, John Culshaw developed a coherent philosophy of the recording as an art work in its own right, for instance equal and parallel to film. Using Culshaw’s own writings, which remain largely scattered among contemporary record magazines, and interviews with those who worked closely with him, such as the producer and engineer Gordon Parry and the head of marketing at Decca at this time, Jack Boyce (both recently deceased), and a significant successor producer, James Mallinson, all originally  generated in connection with research into the career of the conductor Sir Georg Solti, this presentation will seek to describe the development of Culshaw’s philosophy of recording and its articulation through specific recordings, the majority of which were conducted by Solti. In addition the reasons for the decline of Culshaw’s philosophy, including the influence of emergent technologies and stronger rival discourses, will be considered. The presentation will be illustrated with relevant film and sound recordings involving at first hand the major players in this story.

Shara Rambarran (Salford University)

Title: 99 Problems but Danger Mouse Ain’t One—An insight into the conflicting issues surrounding ‘The Grey Album’

Bedroom record producer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse), ingeniously genre-blended The Beatles’ White Album (1968) and Jay-Z’s Black Album (2003) together and made The Grey Album (2004). Originally intended for personal use only, it appeared on the Internet and was extensively downloaded by the public.  Condemned by the music business (copyright issues) but welcomed by the Recording Industry, musicians and musicologists, Burton said the work was a ‘deconstruction and a reconstruction’ of The Beatles’ and Jay-Z’s work.  The music business did not appreciate the creativity of this art project however, and presented Burton with a cease and desist order which led to world-wide protest on the on the Web. This paper will argue that the Grey Album should not be seen as an easy attempt to make music by mixing well-known works and claim, instead, that it should be considered as art.  This will be supported by the use of critical theories of thinkers such as Derrida and Foucault. In addition to discussing technological production and innovation, analytical reference will be made to one of the tracks from the Grey Album, and issues of authorship and authenticity will be raised.

Paul Ramshaw (LCMM)

Title: Is music production now a composition process?

Whilst over the past decade advances in music technologies have unleashed a phenomenon in virtual software instruments, groundbreaking developments are not new. Today ‘VST’s can be complex real-time generators and manipulators of audio, to the extent that some even ‘play and produce themselves’. For music production this revisits old questions on the nature of craft including what levels of technical mastery and understanding are or should be necessary in order that an audio product can be taken ‘seriously’.

While some think software instruments and processing is good news for those that want tools to stimulate musical creativity, others more traditional in their composition and production methods consider this to be anathema as almost ‘anyone’ can produce what appears to be interesting audio by merely changing various controls.

Using hermeneutic method, the proposed paper will unpack these opposing positions by considering the differences between hardware and software production processes, if the roles of interpretation and improvisation in each differ, and whether the production process in both forms is itself (now) a form of composition.

This will first investigate what level of ‘intention’ is necessary so a ‘considered and informed changing of controls’ i.e. music production, can be argued to constitute improvisation in the traditional sense.

The method for understanding will analyse the nexus between composition and performance that exists in traditional improvisation (e.g. jazz), and then extend the analysis to real-time audio processing with hardware, software instruments and effects that are familiar in a production environment.

Various hypotheses will then be drawn that return to the opposing views and aim to offer a means of understanding them within a common framework of discourse with the aim of considering the production process as interpretation, improvisation and composition.

S. Alexander Reed (Williamburg, Virginia)

Title: Crowd Noise and the Hyperreal

Though there exists a growing discourse on suggestions of space and proximity in pop music production, few if any sources explore the complication of space by the marked presence of an implied audience beyond the person(s) actually listening to the recording.  This paper considers both technically and critically the functions and meanings of crowd noise in recorded pop music.

In live recordings, the production’s aesthetic is typically not one of pristine sound and performance quality, but instead of capturing a certain "energy" that exists between the performers and the audience that peoples the venue. These recordings, often with microphones aimed directly at the crowd, serve both to bring the recording's listener into a sense of immersive community with the crowd actually at the concert, and also to call into question who the audience really is and who the performer really is.  Are we more enraptured by a performer's musicianship or by the ability to be one with a gigantic group? These questions are consciously encoded into pop recordings by the commonplace practice of amplifying and attenuating crowd noise at particular moments in the course of a concert. The issue is more problematic still when live crowd noise is part of an otherwise sterile studio record, connoting a wholly imagined audience, though the particular meanings of these production tactics are of course individually dependent on the songs that employ them.

But regardless of whether it appears in studio or live recordings (and in the world of overdubs, who is to draw the line between the two?) recorded crowd noise crosses into Baudrillard's territory of the hyperreal, where all involved parties are aware of this confounding of performer and audience.  It is in this light that the audience for these recordings is potentially empowered in finding community with the recording itself.

Francis Rumsey (University of Surrey)

Title: The psychoacoustics of sound quality

Sound quality is a multidimensional phenomenon, typically relating to complex stimuli. Its description, evaluation and control demand an interdisciplinary attitude to research methodology, adopting phenomenological and descriptive approaches as well as more conventional quantitative psychophysical approaches. A truly scientific approach to sound quality evaluation requires the development of an appropriate means of communicating human experiences of complex sounds. Appropriate languages for such communication may be verbal or graphical and a means must be found of interpreting the diverse ways in which listeners describe and evaluate what they hear. Language and representational terms are a means of getting at the underlying dimensions that constitute sound quality perception. Affective and aesthetic responses to complex sound scenes can be highly individual, but there is some evidence that these can be generalised within well-defined populations.

Steve Savage (San Francisco State)

Title: "Mouth Noises, Lipsmacks, and Heavy Breathing"

An examination of the sounds singers make between all those words.  Is there more to a vocalist’s identity than their singing voice?  Are we losing something in the performance when breaths and other non-verbal sounds are eliminated via the easy editing procedures of computer-based recordings?  Or are we gaining access to the ineffable expression of music via recording’s abilities to create hyper-real sounds from the mouth?  Is this manufactured passion and affected emotion or is it a way into the expressive coding of musical performance?  Computer technology has altered the ways in which the subtle, non-verbal parts of a vocal performance may be captured and manipulated.  Is the devil in the details or is this a glimpse into the singer’s heart?

I will demonstrate the inner workings of Pro Tools production techniques on the computer, focusing on non-verbal vocal sounds.  I will also reflect on these phenomena in the context of Roland Barthes’ seminal essay “The Grain of the Voice”.  I will argue that Barthes idea of ‘grain’ may be seen to reside both in the singer and in the recording of the singer.  Barthes claims that if it exists, the ‘grain’ of the voice is at the margin of our ability to describe it, and thus “able to bear traces of significance, to escape the tyranny of meaning.”  While Barthes apparently viewed recordings as the further enemy of ‘grain’ I believe the new technology to be capable of heightening this elemental experience that Barthes craved.  Sound clips from Stevie Wonder, Green Day, Bob Dylan and Tori Amos will be included in the presentation. 

Paul Theberge (Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture)

Title: “Acoustic Choreography”: Glenn Gould’s Anti-fidelity As A Model For Surround Mixing

In a handful of recordings made during the 1970s, Glenn Gould employed a system of multiple microphones spread throughout a hall; recorded onto 8-track tape, the resulting acoustic perspectives were mixed in such a way as to extend and complement Gould’s musical interpretation of the work. Ideed, what is most remarkable in these piano recording is the degree to which Gould’s “choreographed” mixes respond to and enhance the works at every level, from the largest structural units down to the smallest details of musical phrase and nuance. What is also remarkable about these recordings is the degree to which they break with the aesthetic conventions of concert-hall fidelity: while the recordings are, in one sense, entirely dependent on the acoustics of the hall, Gould never allows them to simply reproduce those acoustics, to act as a false sign of “liveness.” Above all, Gould regarded himself as a “recording artist” - a musician/record producer/engineer - and in this regard piano technique, acoustic perspective, tape editing and sound mixing must be thought of as parts of a single, integrated interpretive act performed for the recording medium.

In this paper, I want to discuss some of the implications of Gould’s recording aesthetic and its relationship to popular music recording practices, to notions of cinematic “realism,” and as a possible model for surround sound mixing. While Gould’s 1970s recordings were mixed for stereo, he also speculated that they might be presented in a somewhat different form for Quad reproduction. Given the interest in surround sound mixing in recent years Gould’s technique of “acoustic choreography” would appear to have a new kind of relevance and might offer an alternative model to the tendency, found in many contemporary surround mixes, to simply offer the listener a static, albeit spatially enhanced concert-hall experience.

Robert Toft (Uni of Western Ontario)

Title: Rhetorical Criticism and the Creative Process in Songwriting and Recording: Invention and Arrangement in The Guess Who’s ‘Laughing’

Rhetorical criticism, perhaps the oldest branch of literary criticism, has been used since the time of Aristotle to study the methods by which ideas are imparted to audiences. Indeed, the techniques traditionally employed in constructing a compelling discourse provide a useful framework for discussions of the creative process in popular music, a process that might be defined as one which embraces all the activities of recordists that precede the issuing of a recording.

Many songs begin their life in the imaginations of individual songwriters and then are transformed collaboratively in the recording studio. The creative process which brings about this transformation leads to the establishment of the artistic surface of a recording, and of the five primary divisions of rhetoric, invention and arrangement furnish particularly helpful ways of thinking about that process as it unfolds from the initial conception of a song to the final mix captured on disc. In deriving the terminological and ideological basis for studies of recorded songs from the areas of rhetoric which deal with the finding and the arranging of ideas in an artwork, I focus attention on the ways songwriters and recordists discover and structure musical ideas. In a sense, this discussion centres on form, but not form divorced from content, rather the creation of form from content.

In fact, the invention and arrangement of the subject matter in rhetoric finds direct parallels in the compositional methods of songwriters such as Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, both members of The Guess Who during the 1960s. In his recent autobiography, Bachman speaks of finding the basic subject matter for musical discourse in the recordings of other groups, as well as in his own imagination. For example, The Guess Who’s song ‘Laughing’ (1969), written by Bachman and Cummings, drew some of its material from the Bee Gees’ ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941’ (1967), The Dave Clark Five’s ‘Because’ (1964), and The Platters’ ‘Twilight Time’ (1958). Bachman and Cummings identified and extracted a salient musical feature from each of these songs and adapted the borrowed material to create the opening, main chord progression, and one of the background vocals of ‘Laughing’. The remaining ‘subject matter’ of the song appears to have been the product of their own imaginations.

Suitable ideas, once found, needed to be fashioned into effective musical discourse, and Bachman’s description of ‘Laughing’ reveals just how attentive the recordists were to arrangement. On a global level, the structural divisions in the song adhere to the universal pattern of an introduction followed by verses alternating with a chorus, and within each of these divisions, the discoveries were arranged and then enriched through the application of other musical figures.

This type of arrangement, the distribution of ideas and instruments within the mix, allows recordists to manipulate the texture of songs in order to strengthen the overall effect of the final product. In ‘Laughing’, each structural division (verse, pre-chorus, and chorus) has its own distinctive organization, and the three divisions, taken as a whole, have been arranged to lead the listener up a ladder of intensity to the climactic point in the chorus.

Without a doubt, invention and arrangement figure prominently in this approach to songwriting and recording, and an understanding of the parallels between rhetorical construction and songwriting/recording allows us to place discussions of a record’s sonic presence on a continuum that extends back to classical times.

Tim Warner (Salford University)

Title: The Song of the Hydra: multiple lead vocals in modern pop music recordings

The human voice has remained a central feature of popular music since the advent of recording in the nineteenth century. The many waves of technological development in audio recording have largely tended to consolidate this position, often introducing unusual or even unnatural performance characteristics that have scant regard for acoustic verisimilitude. The rise of multitrack overdubbing, as the preferred method of pop record production in the last forty years, has led to musical artefacts in which a single identifiable voice appears in a series of sonic guises, differentiated by timbral and spatial modification, within the same recording. As a consequence, the listener hears the same voice, often subjected to extensive signal processing, apparently performing contrapuntally with itself. This paper will demonstrate how this increasingly pervasive practice is implemented through a brief analysis of the vocal tracks of a successful pop recording by Britney Spears. It will then go on to explore some of the musical, aesthetic and psychological implications of such an approach, highlighting the ways these challenge more traditional musical performance practice.

Paula Wolfe (Sib Records)

Title: A Studio of one’s own

It has been suggested that women have excelled as singer songwriters because of the accessibility of the medium (O'Brien:1995).  In order to take the song from the private space to the public arena. '...the most popular route has been self production, this being the way Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Kate Bush and Millie Jackson learnt their production skills.' (Bayton:1998)

These private spaces, in the form of the home studio, in which the female singer songwriter accesses music technology to create, arrange, engineer and produce her music in order to transform her creativity into 'product', might be described as 'marginal'  (Coates:1997), yet, increasing practices in these spaces not only challenge, '...the invisible yet potent rules of power in keep women firmly in their marginal place (Coates:1997), but transform the very notion of the marginal from negative status to an attractive, desirable and empowered place to be.

In a current climate that sees the major labels treading an ever narrow and cautious path, the opportunities that access to new technologies affords, for the independent artist to create her/his own label and then record, release and distribute what and when s/he likes, have never been in such abundance. And in an industry in which, ' Few artists have managed to gain control over the process of their presentation' (Bayton:1998), the potential for manipulating such processes, when placing herself and her product in the marketplace, is considerable.

Control as artists and as career builders within the industry is, of course, good news for singer songwriters of either gender but for the female singer songwriter, there is particular significance. For despite the seemingly current prominence of the female singer songwriter in Anglo-American popular music, the female independent artist continues to work within a context fraught with contradictions.

It has been described as '...the most sexualised era in pop history' (Sullivan C. The Guardian October 23, 2003:17) and the status quo in the popular music press continues to dictate that, '...rarely are women discussed as musicians in their own right, in terns of playing an instrument, composing and arranging...rarely are women interviewed or analysed in these terms, which reflects the way the press has generally treated women. They are not expected to be able to play an instrument and if they do, it is not mentioned.' (Bayton, 1998:24)

Given such a context, even less so are they expected to be able to use the technologies now available to them to run their own studios and their own labels. If the future of the industry lies in the hands of technology then considering that the field of technology and in particular music technology is almost completely male dominated, then what does the future hold for the representation of those women working in the industry? Will it present future opportunities for them to be dismissed as 'just the singer"?  Alison Goldfrapp's reaction to being told that she had been the first woman to be interviewed as part of a special Guardian feature on last year's Glastonbury Festival strikes a familiar chord:

'Really! They've all been blokes? Bloody Typical! That's British rock for you. Britain is obsessed with boy-guitar bands and that means you get overlooked sometimes....If you're female and you sing, there's this idea that you don't have anything to do with the running and working of it, that you just stand there and sing, and then you knit while someone else is doing the work," (The Guardian June 28, 2004:4)

Artists/label owners such as Ani Di Franco have provided the role model for the contemporary independent female singer songwriter but it is the access to music technology in a studio of her own that is providing the means to not only carve out the career path she wants for herself within the industry but to ensure that she will not be marginalised from its future production practices.

Jenny Woodruff (Duke Uni)

Title: Have you heard, have you heard?: Sound, Sexuality and Missy Elliott’s Public Body

Missy Elliott is undoubtedly one of the most powerful women in hip hop today. In the course of her eight year career, her empire has grown to include fashion and reality TV, even as her music remains perched atop the charts and many critics’ best of lists. And unlike many other rappers, she is an active participant in the production of her own music, often collaborating with co-producer Timbaland. In this paper I examine how Elliott’s studio sound, specifically the production of her voice, contributes to her public image—both her identity as hip hop mogul, and her identity as sexual female.

For the most part, scholarship on gender and hip hop has focused on masculinity and the objectification of women in male rappers’ lyrics. Of those scholars who do analyze the output of female rappers (Skeggs 1993, Rose 1994, Keyes 2002, Haugen 2003, Pough 2004), lyrics provide the analytical point of entry. Lyrics are used to examine female rappers’ responses to the often misogynistic music of their male peers, as well as possibilities of female contention. The sound of the voice is left unexamined, and the studio production unaccounted for. In this paper I respond to and continue work done by these scholars, using sound as a different way of understanding how female subjects situate themselves in hip hop’s public sphere.

Using theories of the body as outlined by Elizabeth Grosz (1994), I examine the tensions between Elliott’s sound output and public perceptions of her publicbody and sexuality. Combining psychoanalytic theory and theories of gender performativity (Butler 1990, 1993), I analyze the impact of Elliott’s and Timbaland’s recording values on a public’s understanding of a musical superstar’s body and sexuality.

Simon Zagorski-Thomas (LCMM)

Title: The US vs. the UK sound: Meaning in music production in the 1970s

Throughout the 1970s there was a perceived dichotomy between the sound produced in American and British recording studios. How much of this was due to differences in the musical styles emanating from the two countries and how much was due to differences in the recording process?

This paper examines the differences from a psychoacoustic and cognitive perspective and points to cultural as well as technological reasons for them. Thus, whilst economic constraints might have prevented British studios from upgrading from valve to solid state technology with the resulting cleaner but less ‘fat’ sound, it seems a matter of conscious choice for American studios to choose acoustically dead recording spaces whilst British recordings continued to use more ambient rooms. Does the enhanced feeling of proximity and intimacy that comes from the American sound reflect a cultural difference that might be based in changing modes of consumption in the two countries?

When American rock reacted against the experimentation of psychedelia by embracing the simple, acoustic sounds of country rock, why was there no corresponding rejection of the increasing complexity of the technology in the recording studio? Did the British reject the polished sound of America because they couldn’t reconcile their artistic aspirations with the glossiness of show business? If so, why associate unnatural ambience with commercialism and analogue tape compression with authenticity?

Was the transatlantic schism in approaches to music production confined to rock music or can it be heard in the folk based, singer / songwriter styles and in dance music as well? Does ‘Tea For The Tillerman’ sound less polished than ‘Sweet Baby James’? Do Hot Chocolate sound more gritty than Kool and the Gang?

Albin Zak (State University of New York, Albany)

Title: Low Fidelity: Sound Consciousness And 1950s Rock And Roll

This paper explores the shift in conventional conceptions of musical sound brought about by 1950s rock and roll records. Limited technical resources, a quest for novelty, and a lack of established aesthetic criteria made for a steady issue of rough and ready musical production often bordering on the inept. Yet, as the sounds of records thoroughly at odds with recognized standards of sonic representation found widespread public acceptance, the public’s sonic consciousness underwent a gradual sea change. The transformed soundscape represents an accumulation of the distinctive traces of hit recordings. This presentation examines specific records from the 1950s, noting their contribution to the development of rock and roll’s style matrix, to present evidence for their foundational place in the collective sonic aesthetic of succeeding generations of pop musicians and fans.

Albin Zak holds degrees in composition and performance from New England Conservatory, and a PhD in musicology from the City University of New York. He has taught at the City College of New York and the University of Michigan, and is currently chair of the Music Department at the State University of New York at Albany. His publications include two books – The Velvet Underground Companion (Schirmer) and The Poetics of Rock: Cutting Tracks Making Records (California). He is currently working on a book about popular music of the late 1940s through the early 1960s.