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The 10th Art of Record Production Conference:

Cultural Intersections

November 6 - 8 2015

Drexel University, Philadelphia PA, USA

Abstracts

Bruno Alcalde, Northwestern University, USA

Track: D – Ten Years On

Understanding Interactions between Sound and Structure in Recorded Popular Music

Abstract: Recorded popular music provides listening experiences that go beyond the simulation of a live performance, allowing the track to be a unique sonic environment. Scholars have discussed the ways in which aspects such as timbre, texture, spatiality, ambience, and production techniques became a vital part of the meaning of a track (Zak, 2001), while other literature has focused on analytical approaches to structural parameters. Now that the sound imprinted on a track is as much part of the work as are pitch and harmony, the overall questions are: how do we analyze these aspects together? Can we provide a clear analytical methodology that combines both? Building upon and extending the work of Allan Moore (2012), my approach will focus on the interaction between sonic aspects and structural parameters (form, melody, harmony, rhythm & meter, and text). Examples from different periods and styles of recorded popular music will illustrate a typology of interactions between sound and "structure". Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” exemplifies the “positive” type of interaction, using the number of elements and reverberation on track to amplify both the formal boundaries and the discourse content of the text by consistently augmenting the perceived performance space presented to the listener. “Space Guitar” by Johnny “Guitar” Watson, by contrast, shows how the use of reverb can obscure the formal and metrical aspects of the track, denoting a “negative” type of interaction.

References: Moore, Allan F. Song means: analysing and interpreting recorded popular song. Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012. Zak, Albin J. The Poetics of Rock: Cutting Tracks, Making Records. University of California Press, 2001. Recordings: Ike & Tina Turner. River deep, mountain high. Hollywood, Calif.: A & M Records, 1966. Watson, Johnny “Guitar”. A Proper introduction to Johnny Guitar Watson space guitar. London: Proper Records, 2006.

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Prince Charles Alexander, Berklee College of Music, USA

Track: C - Education

What Is Hip hop Anyway?

Abstract: Over 300 books address the history and stylistic elements of the art form called hip­hop. Two outstanding topics that are not covered well in these books include the evolution of the tools that define hip­hop and how producers across all musical styles have evolved their skills in response to these technological and aesthetic developments. This paper will address production techniques that differentiate the development of regional hip­hop styles in the United States and how these techniques inform a mainstream music production pedagogy. The rebellious creativity of hip­hop will be shown as a response to technological developments and increasing budget responsibility across nine significant periods of hip­hop music making; break beat, studio band, drum machine, pioneers, post­pioneers, southern bounce, retro­eclectic, trap based/performance­experimental and ratchet. Hip­hop formed as a live youth based music that used turntables as the tool for music production. Hip­hop’s push from awareness to adoption saw the style shift to conventional recording techniques that included studio bands and musicians. The style moved once again in response to the pioneering efforts of Roger Linn’s LM­1 and Roland’s TR­808 drum machines. These devices set off a fast paced round of developments in the music technology sector that saw synthesis, MIDI, music sequencing and sampling all develop within the span of a few short years. Hip­hop producers met each development with creative success and continue their foray into innovation by using tools such as auto tune and elastic audio in current successful music productions. As hip­hop moves further into the 21st century the resultant vocabularies of hip­hop music production are valuable augmentations of the conventional producer’s skill set that differentiate it from other modern music styles and inform specific reasoning for consistent concepts of disruption, dilution, and adoption that may be applied to all modern production styles.

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Brendan Anthony, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Australia

Track: A - Agency

Mixing as Performance: Discoveries in Creative Practice

Abstract: Mixing plays an important role in the delivery of an emotive product, and as such, it is argued here that at times the mixer requires a creative practice more akin to a performance.

Producers like Flood when working with U2 describes changing the music by performing with the faders of the desk (cited in Bennett, 1997). While pre­automation /analogue may have once manifested this mindset, with the introduction of the DAW, producers far less influenced by the past are mixing entirely ‘Inside the Box’.

This paper compares the effect that varying technologies have on mix performance to examine and compare multiple popular music genres and mix systems. This concept opens a discussion about operational schema including: auditory perception (sight verses sound), the issue of tactility, and in how a mixer’s background informs both process and product. It is suggested that mixing concepts similar to George Massenburg’s “decorating a four dimensional space” (Zak, 2001, p. 144) need to be learned and practiced in ways similar to that of a performer’s understanding of their musical instrument. This then leaves the mixer free to improvise and interpret recordings as final productions, as performances. Subsequently, the paper will argue theories for individualised practice where the promotion of a creative mind­set is a paramount objective. It responds to Izhaki’s provocation that “It is for their sheer creativity – not for their technical brilliance – that some mixes are highly acclaimed and their creators deemed sonic visionaries (2008, p. xiv).

References: Bennett, S. 2010. Examining the Emergence and Subsequent Proliferation of Anti Production Amongst the Popular Music Producing Elite. Doctoral Thesis. University of Surrey.

Izhaki, R. (2008). Mixing audio: Concepts, practices and tools. Oxford, UK: Focal Press.

Zak, A. J. (2001). The poetics of rock: Cutting tracks, making records. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

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Tuomas Auvinen, University of Turku, Finland

Track: A - Agency

A New Breed of Home Studio Producers?: A Case­Study

Abstract: Due to the development of digital technology music production has changed. Any aspiring pop musician is required to have a home studio even if the end product aquired in that particular studio never reaches the radio waves. This makes everyone a producer of some kind and, due to cloud drives and the digital space, collaborative music production partly takes place independent of space and time. The problem is that the term "producer" becomes more obscure as the new generation of music makers distinguish between "trackers" or "track guys", "topliners" and "songwriters". Furthermore, due to phenomena such as "copyright wars", in the present­day DIY setting, where most people start their carreers, forward­driven producers and music makers need a whole new set of skills. These skills increasingly include knowledge about copyright law, contracts and legal processes and less that of traditional musicianship. I base my claims on a case­study, who is a Helsinki­based aspiring "urban pop" producer Mikke Vepsäläinen.

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Julie Baril, University of Montreal, Canada

Track: C – Education

Audiologic interventions

Abstract: Sound engineers and musicians are necessarily exposed at work and at home to loud levels of sounds. Even if they know the potential damage to their hearing, their work requires this increased level of exposure. In a perfect world, they would consult hearing professionals to avoid developing any of the hearing troubles to which they are particularly vulnerable like tinnitus, hyperacusis and hearing loss. Yet, it often takes years for them to consult because of the stigma associated with hearing disorders. It can also prove difficult to find a professional with sufficient knowledge and awareness of their specific problems.

When engineers or musicians develop hearing disorders, professionals can help them deal with it and limit the disabilities. The most common symptoms with musicians is tinnitus, often associated with hearing loss. In fact, one in four adults experiences some form of tinnitus or hearing loss in the course of their life, and a majority of them don’t even know the causes of the problem, which can lead to other severe troubles such as insomnia, depression, anxiety and difficulty at work. Yet, it is possible to help those musicians and engineers.

In this paper, I’d like to talk about the possible treatments to musician’s hearing problems, including medication, psychological interventions and others approaches. It’s important for people with severe disabilities to receive a personalized approach, because it can help reduce the distress often associated with hearing problems. For example, an audiologist can provide suggestions and help in adapting the workplace of the musician or engineer, facilitating their return to work while preventing further aggravation of their problems.

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Ons Barnat, Université Laval, Canada

Track: D – Ten Years On

Omnibinaural Recording, Virtual Reality and the Future of Ethnomusicology

Abstract: Since the 2014 edition of SXSW and the presentation of Felix & Paul Studio's "Strangers with Patrick Watson", 3D 360° cinematic recordings are now on the verge of becoming a major reality for the music industry. With the programmed releases of VR headsets (Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, Sony Morpheus...), the need for creative content for this new way of consuming musical performances is opening the pandora box for all music creators.

By putting the consumer at the centre of a totally immersive experience, this technology offers new ways of thinking about the relationship between artists and music lovers. On the research side, how this paradigmatic shift will influence the way of doing music ethnography?

This conference will present our first ethnomusicological data collected with a 3D 360° audiovisual recording device, where the role of omnibinaural recording will be assessed. This presentation will also discuss some of the methodological, technological and epistemological issues raised by the use of such an experimental device.

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Adam Patrick Bell, Montclair State University, USA

Track: A - Agency

The Fixer: DIY Recording and the Role of the Audio Professional

Abstract: Do­it­yourself (DIY) recording can be a misleading term in the current era of record production as the process often enlists the services of a professional audio engineer. Who performs the recording, mixing, and mastering of the DIY recording? At what point does the professional enter into the picture of production? This paper will examine the working processes of two DIYers who employ audio professionals to assist them in realizing their goals for their home recording projects. Conducted as separate case studies, the ethnographic tools of video­ recording and interviewing were employed to detail the participants’ experiences of producing a recording in a home studio environment. Given that both of the participants discussed in this study had aspirations of producing “professional” recordings of their work to support their respective pursuits of “making it” as professional musicians, how do they conceive of what counts as a “professional” recording and how do the audio professionals they employ contribute to this realization? While popular media ranging from parody (i.e., South Park) to promotion (i.e., Apple) reinforce the perception that the modern digital audio workstation produces radio­ready results in the hands of anyone, the case study participants’ DIY recording endeavours reveal that, at least in these instances, professional help is needed; DIY recording would be more aptly classified as DIWO (do­it­with­others). The implication of this reality for the audio professional is that their services are still in demand, but the point in the record production process in which they commence collaborating with the DIYer shifts on a project­by­project basis. The DIYer tends to remain self­sufficient as long as possible, until their record production aims can no longer be achieved independently. At this point they hire a fixer, an audio professional who must be able to see start mid­process and see the project through to completion.

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Joe Bennett, Bath Spa University, UK

Jon Marius Aareskjold, University of Agder, Norway

Track: A - Agency

Everything you own in the box: Ontologies of creative ownership in Beyoncé’s Irreplaceable

Abstract: In most of the developed world, the music industry acknowledges two types of intellectual property – the composition and the sound recording. This distinction has served creators well for more than a century, but it is based on the assumption that the composition and recording processes are separate creative acts. In the late 20th and early 21st century, record production has frequently merged these practices, and many contemporary ‘songwriters’ create the composition and the sound recording simultaneously. This song/track paradigm leads to potential challenges of identifying creative contributions that has implications for ownership of copyright and authorial attribution.

This paper discusses the song/track conundrum through a case study of Beyoncé’s ‘Irreplaceable’ (2007), tracking its creation from an initial sound recording of a guitar chord pattern through to a finished commercial release, complete with six author credits. Creative strategies will be identified through interviews with participants and researcher­practitioner contributions (one of the presenters will share his first­hand experience of the studio sessions in which Irreplaceable was created). Contemporary studio­based songwriting practices such as toplining and beatmaking will be analysed in detail, and participants’ creative roles will be compared to the composer credits and royalty splits that were eventually agreed.

This case study will be used to frame the philosophical, moral and commercial questions that arise in situations where composition and production may be creatively indistinguishable from each other, and to discuss ways in which the song/track distinction might be nuanced to enable all creators to receive appropriate reward or recognition for their work.

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Amy Blier­Carruthers, Royal Academy of Music, UK

Track: B - Multipolarities

Classical Music Hyper­Production: Context and emerging results from an experimental classical music recording project

Abstract: This paper is one of three that relate to a research project on Classical Music ‘Hyper­Production’ and Practice As Research: a project that seeks to create radical reinterpretations of the classical repertoire through record production.

Classical music recording has always had realism as its aim, a 'best seat in the house’ experience, and the 'authentic' reproduction of a live event. Why is the aesthetic of classical music recording so closely tied to the live concert? Despite the experiments into the possibilities of stereo sound in the late 1960s and early 1970s ­ for instance the experiments of Glenn Gould with recording and editing techniques, the Culshaw/Solti Wagner Ring Cycle and all the developments in popular music recording ­ classical music recording has remained relatively conservative in its approach to production possibilities. Why have we seemed to be reluctant to subject classical music repertoire to the same reinterpretations that we apply to the plays of Shakespeare?

This paper will seek to address these questions, providing the context for this collaborative research project, and also, by drawing on the evidence we gather via audio and video documentation of the various experimental set­ ups, and my fieldwork observations and interviews undertaken with participants, I will offer a précis of our analysis and emerging results.

This collaborative project involves experimenting with different ways of recording classical music, exploring the results of different microphone set­ups, surround sound possibilities, changes in perspective of balance and sonic picture, re­orchestration or re­composition, overdubbing and ‘extended’ performance techniques, digital editing and signal processing to create radical reinterpretations of the pieces using dynamic, spectral and spatial manipulation (using both stereo and 5.1 surround mixing). In this way we hope to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by this art form, which is by its very nature very different to live performance.

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Amy Blier­Carruthers, Royal Academy of Music, UK

Aleksander Kolkowski, Science Museum, UK

Track: B - Multipolarities

The Art and Science of Acoustic Recording: Re­enacting Arthur Nikisch and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s 1913 Recording of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony

Abstract: The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. In the case of early recordings, the question has been: but how differently? What performance lies behind an early­20th century acoustic recording? This question has been widely speculated upon by musicians, academics, and listeners, but for the first time it might be possible to tell much more specifically what an early orchestral recording represents.

The Art and Science of Acoustic Recording was a collaborative project between the Royal College of Music and the Science Museum, London that saw the landmark acoustic recording of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Arthur Nikisch from 1913 re­enacted by musicians, researchers and sound engineers at the RCM in 2014. Using replicated recording technology, media and techniques of the period, two movements of the symphony were recorded on wax discs ­ the first orchestral acoustic recordings made since 1925.

This paper will address two aspects of the research. Firstly the preparation for and undertaking of the re­ enactment will be described. Archival sources, historic apparatus and early photographic evidence served as groundwork for the re­enactment and guided its methodology, while the construction of replicas, wax manufacture and sound engineering were carried out by an expert in the field of acoustic recording.

Secondly, the ongoing analysis of the materials collected will be outlined. Through fieldwork observation, documentation, interviews, and having also captured the sound in the room with modern recording techniques, an analysis is being undertaken to look at three main issues: whether musicians had to adapt their playing style for the acoustic recording process, an attempt to extrapolate what the Berlin Philharmonic may have sounded like behind the extant artefact of the 1913 acoustic recording, and what the student participants learnt from this experience and whether the experiment was educationally useful.

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Andrew Bourbon, London College of Music, UWL, UK

Simon Zagorski­Thomas, London College of Music, UWL, UK

Track: B - Multipolarities

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

Abstract: This paper is one of three that relate to a research project on Classical Music ‘Ultra­Production’ And Practice As Research: a project that seeks to create radical reinterpretations of the classical repertoire through record production.

Our approach to mixing audio for this project is based on a theoretical model that explores the links between the perception and cognition of recorded music, our musicological analyses of the pieces and how that translates into staging and processing decisions. While taking into account Schaeffer’s theories about the ‘Objet Sonore’ and Smalley’s work on spectromorphology, we are utilizing the ecological approach to perception to examine mix decisions in terms of agency, activity and environment.

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

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Andrew Bourbon, London College of Music, UWL, UK

Track: C - Education

Use of Multiple Analysis Techniques to Support the Teaching Of Contemporary Recording, Production and Mixing Techniques

Abstract: As students develop their skills in listening, production and mixing one of the most challenging aspects faced by the student is learning to hear the sonic effect of audio processing devices on their sounds. These processing devices can inspire direction, or follow the pre­determined direction of the user, however without understanding the tool it is difficult for composers, producers and engineers to be able to realise their musical vision.

In this paper I propose to explore a range of analysis techniques to support the creative application of signal processing through technical appreciation of the various tools employed in sound manipulation.

Using a Schaefferian approach to sound classification, I plan to explore the impact of a range of processing tools on key identifiable components of a sound. This analysis will be supported with more technical analysis, looking at the performance of the chosen tools in both spectral and envelope performance and mapping this to the key components of a sound as described by Schaeffer. The analysis approach lends itself to a range of tools, including microphones, microphone preamps, dynamics processers, equalisation and reverb. The Scheafferian classification of sound can also be applied to broader musical phrases, with the impact on these phrases of key importance to the learner who needs to understand both the impact on audio processing on a given sound, and then the broader impact on the musical event and specific musical language.

The output of this analysis is a set of tools that can be used by learners to assess their sound, to assess the performance of audio processing and to use this information to make choices to aid the realisation of the audio direction intended by the listener.

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Frank Bridges, Rutgers University, USA

Track: B - Multipolarities

Making a Scene: Creating a local music scene archive

Abstract: Pierre Bourdieu posits that a “cultural field” is created for a group of a similar art style. For a local music scene the cultural field is defined by a geographic boundary. It is within this economic space that DIY label owners, or what Karl Marx refers to as “small masters,” operate. A local music scene can leave a vast amount of ephemera from these small masters such LPs, CDs, 7”s, and cassettes. If no one is acting as resident historian to archive these items they can fade away taking the local scene’s history with them. However, what’s most elusive to local music scenes are the oral histories that are circulated throughout the community. Carrying out a campaign to record the oral history of the community and creating a digital archive can help preserve this intangible bit of history. For an active music scene such as the one in New Brunswick, NJ, one of the key stakeholders in this community are the individuals that start their own record label. One might be surprised to know that “The Hub City” has had over 27 record labels started within its boundary since the mid­80s. By using the established Rutgers University Community Repository (RUcore) my project is to locate and interview the record label owners and create a collection of these oral histories. By creating locally based archives this material can be collected, categorized, and preserved for future enjoyment and research. This project will look at reasons for starting a label, how they were able to gain the knowledge to start these labels, and discover what the impact of these releases had on the local music scene.

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Ragnhild Brøvig­Hanssen, University of Oslo, Norway

Track: A - Agency

Mashups as Interpretive Musical Comments

Abstract: Musical mashups became a pop phenomenon at the turn of the twenty­first century and have since exploded in popularity––today they are ubiquitous in cyberspace and consumed by multitudes. “Mashup” refers here to music generally consisting of nothing but samples (usually a mixture of acapella and instrumental versions of songs), and those samples are at once unauthorized for mashup use and recognizable as such. The popularity and ubiquity of mashups reflect the desire of their consumers not only to rewrite and reshape their media environment in order to generate alternative meanings but also to relisten to new versions of what they have already consumed and revalue this material within its new context. This musical practice is, nevertheless, at odds with current copyright jurisdictions. The enduring strict enforcement of copyright regulations seems to suggest that any use of unauthorized samples, regardless of said sample’s context, purpose, or function, is an occurrence of copyright infringement and plagiarism.

This paper critically examines the contradiction that exists within the U.S. fair­use doctrine’s emphasis on the de minimis principle and its general endorsement of criticism, review, parody, adaptations, and commentary, all of which arguably entail a significant amount of repeated material. Mashup music, the paper argues (through music analysis and interviews with mashup producers), can be understood as commentary, yet the principle juridical charge against it has usually been its samples’ substantiality (despite the fact that recognizable samples in many ways represent less of a threat to intellectual property than samples that are shorter and less recognizable). This paper addresses the agency of mashup producers and argues that while corporate control can restrict some of the circulation of music, it cannot hinder the development of entirely sample­based genres or act as an agency molding the aesthetic values of the consumers who otherwise support those genres.

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Lori Burns, University of Ottawa, Canada

Track: B - Multipolarities

Ghost Storytelling through Word, Sound and Image: Steven Wilson’s “Drive Home” (The Raven, 2013)

Abstract: Steven Wilson is acclaimed for his contributions to the genre of progressive rock, through his band Porcupine Tree and his solo Steven Wilson project, as well as through his collaborations with Opeth, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and other progressive rock bands. The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) features Wilson with the band from his previous album and tour (Grace for Drowning), engineer Alan Parsons, and illustrator Hajo Mueller. The tracks were recorded as complete live takes with analog equipment, but with digital data capture and editing. Wilson’s goal to capture complete takes reveals an underlying objective to create a seamless and spontaneous musical expression that is both structured and emotionally compelling. Parsons’s production features an atmospheric, warm, and dark arrangement that allows for clarity in the individual layers. Wilson contextualizes the music with concrete narratives for each of the six tracks, identifying subjects who experience powerful stories of vulnerability, loss, and memory.

Wilson describes the album as a cohesive collection of ghost stories in which he endeavours to communicate the emotional expression of each narrative through text and music. To further develop the narrative potential, the second track (“Drive Home”) and the title track were given video treatments by animation artist Jess Cope, who based her development on Mueller’s art for the album, and a careful study of the song's narrative. This paper examines the musical, lyrical, and visual means by which the track “Drive Home" conveys its story in an integrated, multi­layered art form. In particular, the paper focuses on the intersection of sound and image, and illuminates the combined narrative forces of word, music, and image. The interpretive methodology is based on spectral and wave analysis in relation to image content and editing, and relies upon integrative audio/image editing software (i.e., Cubase, QuickTime).

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Emilie Capulet, London College of Music, UWL, UK

Simon Zagorski­Thomas, London College of Music, UWL, UK

Track: B - Multipolarities

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

Abstract: This paper is one of three that relate to a research project on Classical Music ‘Ultra­Production’ And Practice As Research: a project that seeks to create radical reinterpretations of the classical repertoire through record production.

The world of classical music has, for the most part, sought to emulate the sound of the concert hall on recordings. In this case study, a pianist and a record producer (both also academics) sought to explore the creative possibilities of transferring techniques from popular music to the production of classical recordings. Through Actor Network Theory as a method of analysis and Practice As Research as a mode of experimentation, we examine how both performer and producer explored the conceptualisation and practice of creating music from the established classical repertoire.

Filmed or recorded excerpts from the pre­production and recording sessions will be used to examine the development of various performance techniques through this process of experimentation and discussion. In this paper we will explore, on pieces involving rubato, a variety of techniques for synchronising multiple overdubbed performances where individual lines or parts from a piece for solo piano were staged or processed differently to others. This involved experiments working ‘by ear’, performing with a guide track and with click tracks constructed in a variety of ways, and ‘by sight’, working with a video of the guide performer’s hands and with a conductor. The efficacy of these various approaches will be discussed both in terms of achieving an appropriate rubato and of synchronising various ‘layers’ of overdubs to create a recording that sounds like a single performance. These examples will be briefly contextualised through a discussion of how the invariant properties and affordances of the technology affected the performer’s and producer’s conceptualisation of the piece and the process using the concept of event and image schema.

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Philip Chambon, Kingston University, UK

Track: A - Agency

Intuition and Collaboration in Popular Music Production

Abstract: Collaboration in a creative partnership is often an intuitive process in which separate artists interweave their experience and skills to inform an amalgamated product.

The process in popular music production from the initial inspiration for a track, through to the song writing, rehearsing, arranging, programming, performing, recording, mixing and mastering inevitably involves collaboration at some, if not all stages of this process. Music production has become “...a collective project between recording artists, musicians, producers and recording engineers” (Watson, 2014).

Even when one artist in the home digital studio performs these multiple roles, there is collaboration between the self, the subconscious and the imagined audience for the work (Harvey, 1999).

Intuition is a fundamental element in these collaborative processes, and is particularly relevant in the field of popular music creation and production. It can inform decision­making. It can discover problems that need solutions. It can find solutions in a flash ‘peak experience’ moment arising from apparently little pre­conscious thought. (Boyd, 2011: Csikszentmihalyi, 2013: Dewey, 2005: Harvey,1999).

This paper will explore how the role of intuition can underpin creative partnerships, and how this can contribute to innovation in the field and the dissemination of knowledge across both the academic and practice­based creative industries.

As well as providing an academic research context, the paper will draw on the author’s background as a practitioner in the areas of songwriting, performing, bands, sound engineering, production, and composing for contemporary dance and ballet, and film and TV.

Boyd, J. (2013) It’s not only rock ‘n’ roll. London: John Blake Publishing. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2013). Creativity: the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Collins. Dewey, J. (2005). Art as experience. New York: Perigee. Harvey, J. (1999) Music and inspiration. London: Faber and Faber. Watson, A. (2014) Cultural production in and beyond the recording studio. New York: Routledge.

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Anne Danielsen, University of Oslo, Norway

Track: D – Ten Years On

Autotuning and the ‘humachine’. Exploring new means of technological expressivity

Abstract: During the last decade the digitally pitch­corrected voice has repeatedly been used to express human conditions of alienation, numbness, emotional distance, or flatness, in particular in hip­hop and related musical styles. In this paper, I will give an analysis of some recent examples of expressive use of autotuning and discuss the ways in which this technology—which in many ways seems inhuman and mechanistic—seem to be able to capture certain human states or conditions better than the unmediated voice, the most human of all instruments. Autotuning, then, has complemented the human repertoire with new sounds. In the second part of the paper, I will discuss to what extent this and related tools might be considered part of a new and radical stage in the interaction of human and machine in popular music history—a stage that might be characterized by a decisive undermining of the traditional separation between man and machine in music production.

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Martha de Francisco, McGill University, Canada

Track: A - Agency

Survival without the labels: The changing role of the recording producer. Experiences, exchanges and reflections of a veteran Tonmeister.

Abstract: In parallel with the growing digital distribution of musical content via new delivery channels over the Internet, the transformation of well­known structures for the production and dissemination of music such as the traditional record labels of past decades and the proliferation of independent labels are bringing about a shift in the way music is produced. Many productions are lead and financed by the performers themselves or by institutions of their affiliation. Acting as independent entrepreneurs, single musicians, chamber music formations, choirs, symphony orchestras and opera houses are commissioning recordings to be realized principally by producers and their recording teams. In many cases and without any increase in compensation, the producer’s competences are stretched to encompass tasks that were formerly taken care of by the label. Distribution and release are often realized online or on the artists’ own label. Alternatively a licensing contract with an existing record label may be pursued, which will lead to the recording being released exclusively online or as physical product, possibly incorporated into the label’s release catalogue.

Furthermore, the use of advanced postproduction technology is placing the recording producer in an increasingly exposed position in the creative process. Contemporary audio technology allows deeper access to the recorded performance than ever before. Sophisticated micro editing and exacting mixing and processing capabilities of powerful audio equipment and software allow extremely detailed adjustments to the audio and an unprecedented degree of influence on the recorded music. Without the control of the labels and attracted by the sophistication of the processing tools in the studio, excesses in the postproduction requests have become a real danger. In many respects recording producers would seem to be replacing the labels, as their influence and guidance of the artists in the creation of their products increases.

Case studies and musical examples will be presented.

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Martha de Francisco, McGill University, Canada

Track: C - Education

"The art, study and practices of listening". Presenting an interdisciplinary university course.

Abstract: Critical Listening is at the center of music production and recording. Recording producer/engineers are professionals with highly trained auditory skills and acuity for the fine discrimination of musical detail. However it is impossible to describe explicitly what we hear. Words are not fine and subtle enough to represent the nuances we perceive.

As a researcher, the author is conducting exploratory studies on the music listening skills of Tonmeisters (recording producer/engineers) as they are applied to the assessment of musical quality. Besides researching within music as well as comparing alternative sensorial experiences, one direction of her research will be to compare listening among disciplines.

At McGill University an interdisciplinary seminar will bring together scientific researchers as well as experts in many areas that consider “listening” as one of their fundamental activities, with the aim of learning from each other’s approach and purpose in the application of acute listening.

The course will explore how learned auditory skills and fine discrimination constitute an essential requirement for the practice of various professions. While critical listening of music will be the guiding motif, invited speakers will lead the class in their exploration of listening as a main component in a variety of areas of human life. Topics will include critical listening in music performance, record production, music instrument making, as well as listening in psychology, perception and cognition and in the neurosciences, listening in psychiatry, in theatre and dance, communications, marketing and in the preservation of oral tradition with the means of story telling.

The author is an experienced Tonmeister and an Associate Professor at the Music Faculty of McGill University. She is a member of IPLAI, McGill's Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, as well as a member of CIRMMT, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology.

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Brecht De Man, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Joshua Reiss, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Track: C - Education

Mixed reviews: evaluation through peer review in international audio education

Abstract: Mixing music is an important and complex skill, increasingly taught through formal education. While certain principles are followed more or less consequently, different engineers will produce different mixes, and different listeners will judge a mix differently. The assessment of a mix is not a straightforward task and multiple points of view will offer better insight into which mixes are of high quality.

We investigate peer reviewing through perceptual evaluation between students who produce different mixes of the same song, for a number of different songs. This provides each of the students with a large number of short, anonymous reviews from fellow students and faculty. We conduct this experiment at a number of North American and European institutions, allowing us to determine the influence of location, background and teaching on mixing styles and perception of music production practices. As such, we have assembled a dataset of different mixes for a large number of songs, with extensive perceptual evaluation on each, that we believe to be significantly larger   than any other comparable work.

This paper describes the different tests and participant groups, and presents and compares the results of analysis of audio features as well as subjective evaluation. We investigate variation of subjects’ focus on certain instruments and processing across institutions, through quantitative analysis of the written reviews on each of the mixes. We also contrast characteristics of mixes produced ‘in the box’, on a large analogue console, and on a live mixing desk, within and between various institutions. Finally, we discuss the benefit of the feedback to both students and educators.

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Iain Findlay­Walsh, The University of Glasgow, UK

Track: B - Multipolarities

Sound Auto­ethnography: recording, listening to and composing self­hood

Abstract: In this lecture­recital, I will propose the usefulness of the term 'sound auto­ethnography' to the discussion of new developments in popular music composition and production, including my own developing sound art / music production practice. I will draw on existing literature and practice in auto­ethnography, conceived as 'research, writing, story, and method that connect the autobiographical and personal, to the cultural, social and political' (Ellis, 2004) to suggest how such methodology can be usefully applied to music projects which aim towards reflexive cultural/social research.

This presentation will focus on recent works by the author, in particular the song/recording Born On (performed by the group In Posterface), and multichannel audio (5.1) piece The Closing Ceremony. Both pieces combine practices of self­documentation, field­recording and collage with more conventional song­writing and production methods to construct fragmented self­narratives. The pieces draw on materials such as field recordings of open­air concerts, audience uploads ripped from youtube, and readymade pop recordings, combining these with the author's everyday self­documentation and original instrumental performances.

Through discussion of this work I will illustrate ways in which a composition/production practice which takes on aspects of auto­ethnography, as embodied research methodology, can critically engage with the liminal space between music production and reception.

Relating these observations to other examples in contemporary music production (Bjork, Dean Blunt, Death Grips), and reflecting on a present­day culture of ubiquitous self­capture and broadcast, I will argue for the increasing relevance of the term 'sound auto­ethnography' to wide range of contemporary popular music.

References: Ellis, C. (2004) The Ethnographic I: A methodological novel about auto­ethnography. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.

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Wellington Gordon, Husson University, USA

Douglass Bielmeier, Indiana University Perdue, USA

Track: C – Education

Expectations of Music Proficiency in College Recording Arts Programs

Abstract: In my ten years as an audio educator, I have observed two distinct methods or philosophies of teaching audio engineering. One philosophy is teaching music technology within a music school, viewing technology as a vehicle for self­expression, collaboration, and experimentation as well as a career within an industry. The second is firmly vocational in nature and is found in communication schools, viewing technology as a skill learned for the pursuit of employment. How do we in either case create curricula that prepare students to be both technologically and musically competent, given the constraints of a four­year university degree program? Is there an industry standard?

I propose to look more closely at these two different teaching philosophies, one in a music program and the other in a communications program, to find similarities and also differences in their emphases on music proficiency. What resources and approaches are they taking in teaching music proficiency for audio engineers? More importantly, is there a bottom­line that both share when it comes to musical proficiency. What is that bottom line?

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Jan­Olof Gullö, Royal College of Music Stockholm, Sweden

Ivan Höglund, Royal College of Music Stockholm, Sweden

Julia Jonas, Royal College of Music Stockholm, Sweden

Anton Näslund, Royal College of Music Stockholm, Sweden

Joakim Persson, Royal College of Music Stockholm, Sweden

Track: A - Agency

Four studies on creativity in record production

Abstract: This research project investigates how creativity in music production is expressed and understood by young active music producers in contemporary society. The backdrop to the project is the profound changes in the music industry where digitalization and online music distribution and new music production methods has led to that production traditions as well as the competences among professional music producers are challenged. The aim of the project is to analyze trends in contemporary music production through four qualitative sub­studies of how young music producers understand and discuss different aspects of music production. The first sub­study ­ Laptop­producers behind the console ­ investigates attitudes and aspirations among young contemporary music producers when the creative tools they normally use, laptop­controlled digital audio workstations, are replaced with more traditional music recording equipment and explores what's gained and lost with modern approaches compared with traditional techniques and methods. The second sub­study ­ Flow in vocal recording ­ studies how technological transparency is understood when various techniques to record vocals are used, for example high quality microphones versus laptop computers built­in microphones, and the aesthetic consequences such different approaches may have to the creative process. The third sub­study ­ Live music recordings in unexpected settings ­ presents experiences from audio­visual live music production projects. Various aspects, obstacles and opportunities, are discussed due to the recordings were made with lightweight outside broadcast technology and published on www. The fourth sub­study ­ Virtual versus real in music production ­ is a case study of the production of songs for a rock band album where the producer alternately used virtual instruments mixed with authentic recordings. In view of the chosen production method, various ethical, aesthetic and artistic aspects are analyzed and discussed. The project is linked to an on­going artistic research project: Capturing creativity in music production.

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Jan­Olof Gullö, Södertörns Högskola, Sweden

Per­Henrik Holgersson, Royal College of Music Stockholm, Sweden

Track: C - Education

Magic mirror in my hand – who is the next successful record producer in the land?

Abstract: The aim of this research project is analyze what Swedish students in music production regard as important for there own carriers as music producers and therefore choose to focus on. The background of the project is that design­intensive and cultural products industries have grown in Sweden in recent years and music is often described as an important export industry. Many Swedish artists have made it big on the global music scene and Swedish music producers and songwriters produce songs for successful international artists. In higher education music production has become a very popular subject to study and every year an increasing number of students takes a bachelor degree in music production. During the last three years we have been working with this project and at the same time also been supervisors for 10 bachelor students in music production each year when they produce their independent projects during their last year in the study programme. We have analyzed all 30 independent projects and the results show four main areas the students go for: Producing an album with own material; Develop strategies for artistic goals in worldwide careers; Developing apps for the music market and at the same time promote themselves as artists/producers; Producing scores and recordings in collaboration with film producers in order to enter the field professionally as composers and music producers. The analysis, where we use a sociocultural theoretical approach, shows that the students devote energy and effort to develop knowledge and skills for such things they are interested in developing, rather than to strive to be as employable as possible. This result is consistent with previous studies showing that students sometimes are indifferent to the advice they receive during their training and more strive for new individual opportunities to create a unique profile in their professional choices.

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Simon Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire, UK

Track: A - Agency

The contemporary classical composer and the recorded artefact: auteur, collaborator, or scriptwriter?

Abstract: The path to record production for composers of concert hall­based acoustic music is often quite different to the composer of popular, media, electroacoustic or electronic music. A piece is far more likely to have been performed many times in concert before being rendered in a studio session. The common model involves the creation of the musical work; performance(s) of the work; then, perhaps, a recording of the work. Successful completion of one of the stages does not in any way necessarily guarantee progression to the next. Composers often therefore lack a proper produced recorded artefact for much of their oeuvre.

This paper forms part of an ongoing study that looks at the relationships of a number of active established contemporary composers to the recorded medium and the production process. It draws on a series of one to one interviews, pulling together thoughts from the likes of Michael Finnissy, Joe Cutler, and Ed Bennett, as well as tying in personal experiences as a producer, co­producer and engineer within this sphere of music.

The research to date concludes that these composers face issues common to other genres of music, and most are keen to develop their output within the recorded medium. Barriers can be finance, lack of opportunity, confidence and perceptions of restriction. Interestingly, most bear the scars of bad experiences.

The composer as auteur, and “cottage industrialist” is often a way forward. Many composers are quite entrepreneurial in developing recording projects. Building performer, producer and engineer relationships, and networks based on trust is also a key factor. Not only is, as Moorefield (2005) proposes, the Producer [assuming a role] as Composer, but out of necessity, the Composer is also becoming Producer.

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Chris Harper, University of Bolton, UK

Track: A - Agency

Listening to the Wireless: Net Radio, Geekism and the Rebirth of Electronica.

Abstract: Recorded electronic music is both science and art; it requires specific, technology­based knowledge as well as a cultural/subcultural context. Understanding these processes, workflows and systems is essential in order to study the practitioners, consumers and music in terms of their motives and identities.

Specifically, understanding both the poetics and aesthetics of the studio environment and its relation to the artist, or the listener and their listening space, is fundamental to understanding the field, particularly in the case of the those who started their own musical journeys exploring sound in their childhood bedrooms, later to become the “bedroom producers” responsible for some of the most culturally significant music of recent years.

In this paper I argue that a desire to understand and embrace ideas like audiophile sound systems, studio design, acoustics, and synthesizer programming actually creates a network of prosumers, and that this network is commercially and culturally self­sustaining.

Both the globalization of inter­personal communication enabled by the Internet and the advancement of computing power have actually precipitated a growth in what might be termed “marginal” music, and I believe this has created a new topology in the field of electronic music production that mimics the “analogue” methods of pre­ Internet systems.

Internet radio empowers the producer and listener in this respect, and may indeed fill the cultural gap left after the demise of more “analogue” systems of dissemination (eg the music press) ­ which have historically been the route to market of the marginal producer. The result is that marginal artists have the opportunity to make a living from their music on a level hitherto unseen.

By applying diverse models developed by, amongst others, Bachelard (1958) and Latour (2005), this paper examines the relationship between the space in which creativity happens, and how it is successfully marketed/disseminated in the Internet age.

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Stan Hawkins, University of Oslo, Norway

Kai Arne Hansen, University of Oslo, Norway

Track: B - Multipolarities

1. Aesthetics and Gender Under Construction in Hip Hop: Azealia Banks

2. Gender Production in `Chasing Time´

Abstract: Studying the art of production in popular music involves the subjectivities of artists, producers, engineers, and musicians, and their involvement in the recording process, which have a major impact on the composite recording. This joint paper sets out to locate the aesthetic effects of production as a means to gaining a better understanding of how human agency functions in this context. Our focus therefore falls on the spectacle of sound, with specific focus on the aesthetics of production in Azealia Banks’s 2014 album, Broke with Expensive Taste.

By closely examining a number of tracks from this album, we consider the twists, contours, turns, and transgressions of Banks’ performances. Employing a broad perspective, we draw on theories and methods found in film studies, media studies, and cultural studies to shed light on how processes of production stage the gendered body. Of paramount importance, we argue, are the production techniques that conflate the performer. These take place against a backdrop of referents and sonic markers that are culturally relevant. In the case of Banks, the numerous features that define her unique performativity distinguish her creative endeavors. The main objective of this paper is to throw a light on this through suggesting new ways of intersecting digitized sound, performance, and music technology. The intention is to expose the significance of recording aesthetics from a musicological standpoint. Accordingly, the analytical methods we advocate attempt to probe at the audio image in order to   reveal the signification of gender in relation to musical referents. It is the aesthetic effects of production that offer a platform for grasping how gendered subjectivity functions in popular music.

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Carsten Kaiser, FernUniversität Hagen, Germany

Track: B - Multipolarities

Analog Distinction – Music Production Processes and Social Inequality

Abstract: Analog gear and its associated workflows have given distinction to music production and listening habits since 1897 (Laird: 1995). On the contrary, virtual studio technologies have gained market shares only since the mid 1990s (Steinberg: 2015). From an economic point of view, plug­ins and so called in­the­box productions seem to have disputed ground originally occupied by analog gear and production processes.

Nonetheless, analog gear has not only survived this techno­cultural turn but even regained a somewhat mythological strength. The related public discourse is thereby mainly limited to discursive practices, technical functionalities and sonic images. The issue of social inequality is no subject of discussion.

So far, research on music production against the background of social inequality has been rare (e.g. Kealy: 1974). For this reason our theoretical approach is based on two influential sociological theories.

Michel Foucault’s denomination of the term ‘dispositive’ designates an institutionalized framework for discourse elements. As such, dispositives symbolically represent, reproduce and stabilize social power structures (cf. Bussolini: 2010). Pierre Bourdieu has brought in the conflicting interplay of pretension and distinction as a fundamental mechanism of social conflict (see Bourdieu: 1984).

With reference to these theories we interpret the dispositive of the discourse about analog gear as ‘analog distinction’.

We assume that there is not only an unwittingly but purposeful narrowing of the discourse. We see a larger amount of everyday practices affected and a substantial share of myths and taboos implied. We presume that the respective discourse comprises several aspects of the battlefield of social inequality.

To elaborate the presumed interrelations, we apply classic indicators of social inequality (e.g. Platt: 2011, Brym/Lie: 2012, 174) on aspects of analog music production (e.g. Burgess: 2014). We are developing a matrix of possibly involved factors to standardize our approach and ensure a sufficient consideration of performance criteria.

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Leah Kardos, Kingston University London, UK

Track: C - Education

Evolution (and Revolution) in Higher Music Education

Abstract: Music technologies can lead us to a transformation of perceptions, and the reinvention and refinement   of our processes ­ from the way we see, interact with and understand the materials of sound and music to the way we learn new skills, communicate and share with each other, represent ourselves to the world as music creators and professionals, and especially the way we teach. It has and is transforming our language (“I streamed a   podcast of glitchcore mashups, and just reblogged it ­ could you give it a ‘like’?”); it is creating musical and sonic possibilities that transcend the facilities of traditional music notation and analysis; it sometimes requires interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to bring projects, artworks and products to fruition (recording and production technology does not reside in the field of music only, but also that of media, science technology and society (STS), electronics and computer science); it grants music creators agency and control of their works (Taylor 2014). These technologies have become intertwined with commercial and contemporary arts practices, shaping the formation of new aesthetics, giving rise to diverse new creativities and essential emerging literacies. This paper will consider examples of such practices to inform a strategy for developing better, more effective curricula for higher music education where (1) fluency in digital, analog and musical literacies is promoted through practice­led enquiry, (2) traditional music and technology streams are considered important parts of a larger whole, (3) technical learning is designed to be flexible and adaptable to future technologies, where (4) excellence of execution is upheld as a priority and (5) learners are encouraged to be active in and contribute knowledge to communities of knowledge and practice.

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Adam Kielman, Columbia University, USA

Track: A - Agency

Creating the Local and Sounding Global in China’s Evolving Music Industry

Abstract: Tracing creativity in record production as a collaborative process that occurs at various intersections between musicians, corporate executives, recording engineers, audiences and many other players, this paper explores a Chinese music industry in transition through close ethnographic analysis of two bands in southern China and their relationships to China’s largest record company. Wanju Chuanzhang performs a self­described “island mix” of poppy, Latin­infused music sung in the Min subdialect spoken on Nan’ao Dao, a small island off of the east coast of China. Mabang performs a blend of folk, rock, and reggae, peppered with elements from folk musics of southern China and caidiao opera from Guangxi province. I focus on the six­month process of recording and mixing Mabang’s debut album, produced in Starsing Record’s studio in Guangzhou. Understanding “recording and mixing [as] a dramatized struggle over signs embodying values, identities, and aspirations” (Meintjes 2003, 9), I investigate the ways in which multiple actors work together to craft not only a recording, but also a blueprint for future performances. Drawing on approaches from both the anthropology of the media and the anthropology of institutions (Born 1995; Ginsberg et al 2002), I also explore some of the ways in which creative processes are embedded in corporate relationships and mediated circulations, guided by and catering to an evolving music market and listening public in contemporary China. I discuss the creative negotiations and compromises that occur while producing music meant to appeal to both listeners in the lead singer’s home province, as well as to a broader and more affluent emerging urban cosmopolitan audience eager for nostalgic expressions of the local. I discuss the new ways that China’s music industry reflects and caters to both subnational and transnational markets and communities, and suggest that translocal media flows decenter traditional nation­centric approaches to the music industry.

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Emil Kraugerud, University of Oslo, Norway

Track: A – Agency

Sound­box as tool in record production

Abstract: In Rock: The Primary Text (2001), Allan Moore defines the sound­box as “a ’virtual textural space’, envisaged as an empty cube of finite dimensions, changing with respect to real time (almost like an abstract, three­dimensional television screen)” (2001:121). The dimensions in question refer to listeners’ perceived illusions of depth, width and height in recordings, which in turn are affected by properties such as sound level, stereo placement, reverb and frequency range. In Moore’s definition, the sound­box represents a visual metaphor for what producers and engineers would often call ‘the mix’. Why, then, should we apply the term ‘sound­box’ when ‘the mix’ seems to be an adequate term in the context of record production?

In the proposed paper I seek to extend Moore’s (2001) definition of sound­box, to also encompass record production in a practical sense. Although the sound­box is intended as a model for music analysis, I believe it can be adequate also in record production. Certain models bare certain similarities with the sound­box, and are widely used in record production, e.g. William Moylan’s sound stage (2015) and David Gibson’s three­dimensional model (1997). However, as I will argue, while these models seem to be focused on mixing, the sound­box has the potential to be a tool embracing all parts of the production process. My overall argument in this paper, then, is that practical applications of the sound­box as a tool for record production, can contribute to an increased awareness of how producers and engineers work. Thus, it is my belief that an extended definition of the sound­ box as a unity can be a good tool for working with the ‘total balance’ of a mix, in which frequency balance, stereo balance, level balance and mix density is represented.

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Serge Lacasse, Université Laval, Canada

Track: A - Agency

Recorded Popular Music as (Trans)Fiction: The Case of Eminem

Abstract: In 2013, Eminem released the song "Bad Guy" featuring on The Marshall Mathers LP 2. "Bad Guy" is described as a sequel to "Stan," a song featuring on The Marshall Mathers LP launched in 2000. "Stan" relates the story of a disturbed fan of Slim Shady who murders his own (pregnant) wife in a way inspired by another story, this time related in Eminem's "97' Bonnie and Clyde" (from the 1999 The Slim Shady LP). Eminem's characters, such as Slim Shady, appear and interact in many other songs recorded by Eminem, of course, but also by other artists (such as Tori Amos). How can we account for the relationships within this network of songs? How recording practices can contribute to the cohesion of these related phonographic narratives?

Indeed, although popular music has sometimes been approached as narratives (e.g. Frith 1996, Sibilla 2003; Lacasse 2006), and despite the fact that most popular music is founded on a form or another of storytelling, it seems that no theoretical model has approached recorded popular music from the angle of fiction. Fiction theory is a vast domain that could help us better understand and reinterpret a lot of the practices (including practices of recording) observed in recorded music when considered from the perspective of fiction.

Using Richard St­Gelais’s concept of transfictionality (St­Gelais 2011) the paper will unpack and characterise the different ways in which a group of Eminem recorded songs relate to each other on the level of fiction: “captures,” “sequels/prequels,” “interpolations,” or “systems,” these transfictional practices shed an alternative and revealing light on a corpus that is in need of a theoretical model for better analysing its effects on us. Moreover, recording technologies directly contribute to the establishment of these transfictional relationships, notably in terms of phonographic staging (Lacasse 2000; Zagorski­Thomas 2014).

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M. Nyssim Lefford, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Berk Sirman, Dalarna University, Sweden

Track: B - Multipolarities

Coherence in Produced Music Recordings, An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Abstract: Our sensory systems evolved to make sense of sound in natural environments (Gibson: 1979). However, produced music recordings do not always depict realistic sonic events. Technology makes it possible to create, juxtapose, balance, mix, and alter recorded sounds— musical and non­musical, real, acoustic and synthesized— in ways that render sonic events that are impossible in natural environments. And yet, listeners do make sense of them as coherent events. This study seeks explanations for what constitutes coherence in produced music recordings through an approach that integrates concepts from psychoacoustics, music cognition and music theory. Both observations and methods for integrating approaches are discussed.

As listeners detect relationships among the properties of distinct sounds in a recording and clear patterns arise, mixes cohere. Production involves intentionally manipulating sonic properties to influence listeners’ abilities to   infer these structured relationships. Understanding which properties and patterns lend to coherence requires integrating varied approaches. Because recordings are virtualized events, often overtly contrived, applying models of real­world listening requires factoring in how listeners’ perceptions are affected by recording’s inherent unnaturalness. Theories about musical structure are similarly incomplete since recordings do have physical, acoustic, if not wholly realistic, properties too.

Perception and cognition offer much insight into how structure in complex auditory scenes is perceived (Bregman: 1994), although few of these findings have been connected directly to the practice of producing music recordings in the literature to date. Musicology also provides several ways to define coherence in compositions and explain what leads to coherent structure (Cook: 1987), though again, only recently have these ideas started to be connected to producing. To gain new insight, we developed an approach, integrating cognitive and musicological views, that enables us to begin to unpack relationships between producing, its impact on audible features in recordings, and subsequent experiences of coherence while listening.

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Peter Leonard, University of Michigan, USA

Asaf Peres, University of Michigan, USA

Track: C - Education

Critical Listening and the Analysis of Popular Music

Abstract: The advent of ever­expanding studio production techniques and the transition to disseminating music quickly and easily through digital interfaces have brought about a distinct shift in the musical aspects that drive the creation of popular music. Whereas tension and release in a piece was once primarily dictated by pitch relationships, music creators now largely control both with texture and layering—items easily governed in a Digital Audio Workstation. A listener today is exposed to popular music that uses ‘risers’ and dense instrumentation to steer their emotional response.

The primary product of a song once was its sheet music. Now, the primary product of a song is a recording (or a digital file), so much so that when we talk about ‘having’ a song, we are almost exclusively referring to having a file. Since sheet music cannot wholly represent all the musical aspects that go into the electronically produced music of today, how can we analyze this music? One of the keys lies in critical listening, which is pushing aside value judgment in listening for sonic nuance and detail. The aim of critical listening is to think like the many production personnel who have worked to make a song compelling. It is all about picking up on subtle texture or sounds that affect the listener subconsciously, and evaluating their attempt to drive the listener’s response. Through this presentation, we wish to bring to light some examples of songs that employ texture and layering effectively to control a listener’s emotional response. We would like to guide our audience to listen to these examples critically, and pick apart what production elements in the song make it compelling or underscore its intent. We hope to draw the parallel between the production techniques of today and the harmony and melody of earlier popular music.

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Aaron Liu ­Rosenbaum, Université Laval, Canada

Track: A - Agency

Rehumanising the Posthuman: Resilient Practices in Contemporary Record Production

Abstract: At the 8th Art of Record Production conference, I spoke about situating agency in contemporary music production practices against the larger backdrop of Posthumanist theory, using specific examples from the morphology of musical instruments to evolving DJ practices. For this 10th ARP conference, I would like to pick up from where that paper left off in order to explore in depth one way of responding to the question, "Who are the future agents in record production?" (thematic area A). By "who", I mean, "who or what", as developments in software and hardware over the past decade have enabled a remarkable level of human­machine collaboration, down to the very act of conceiving a musical idea, such as in the notion of "artificial" (i.e., computer­made) music.

As our technological tools are elevated to the rank of co­creator in our musical productions, the subsequent decentring of the role of the human has likewise encouraged a rethinking of agency.

Drawing on somewhat intertwined strands from Posthumanist theory (Braidotti, Ferrando), Transhumanist theory (Bostrom) and Embodiment theory (Leman), among others, I will first lay out some of the principal issues with regard to agency from a socio­technological position, then offer a portrait of the resultant praxis based on my experiences as a musician and educator in record production. I will argue that humans have responded to their newfound status with a resilience that bodes well for the human imprint in creative music practices, especially when one considers the multifarious means by which the body has been reintegrated into music production practices. The point is not only to reaffirm the relevance of human agency in record production, but to highlight the importance of reformulating questions about agency that force us to reconsider and, thereby, better adapt to our post­anthropocentric environment.

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Sara McGuinness, University of West London, UK

Andrew Bourbon, University of West London, UK

Track: A - Agency

The Creative Negotiation Of A Trans­National Recorded Sound: Grupo Lokito as a Congolese­Latin Collaboration Case Study

Abstract: Grupo Lokito is a collaboration between Congolese and Latin musicians, which grew out of my experience as a Latin musician entering the world of Congolese music. The musicians found that, when placed in a cross­cultural setting we had to negotiate ways of working. These included reflecting on how we communicated about music, methods of rehearsing and performance practice.

Whilst, in my experience, Latin bands have a variety of ways of recording, Congolese have a formula for working in the studio, overdubbing instruments one at a time over a pre­sequenced track. I have observed this to be the model used in studios both in Kinshasa and throughout the Congolese Diaspora. Grupo Lokito has until now self­ produced all recordings, working to the Congolese model of record production. We are now extending the process of cross-cultural collaboration into the studio, adding another dimension, namely a producer from outside the two traditions. This paper will explore how working with a producer enabled us to observe how our methods of communication about and creation of music translated from performance to studio and how roles within the studio were negotiated.

In addition to the details of the production process there is also the target sound: there is a chasm between the contemporary production values in Congolese music produced for the home­Congolese and wider African­ audience, who favour a 'modern' sound, and the nostalgic and somewhat stereotypical sound favoured by the ‘world music’ audience. This brings up issues of authenticity, tradition and ownership of the music. In addition, Congolese and Cuban musicians are usually limited by the availability of instruments and tone manipulation tools. Another aspect will be exploring the influence and impact of a broader palette of sound on the recording and creation process.

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Phillip McIntyre, University of Newcastle, Australia

Track: A - Agency

Accounting for Agency and Structure in the Creative System: Bringing an Album of Pop/Rock Songs to Completion.

Abstract: This conference paper is based on research undertaken for a forthcoming book chapter. The analysis is premised on the idea that research into the phenomenon of creativity has grown methodologically and theoretically sophisticated as more evidence mounts refuting romanticist and inspirationist understandings (e.g. Alexander 2003, Negus & Pickering 2004, Pope 2005, Kaufman & Sternberg 2010, Sawyer 2011). From this research literature a number of confluence models have been proposed, in particular Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (1988, 1997, 1999) systems based approach to creativity, complemented by Pierre Bourdieu’s (1977, 1990, 1993, 1996) systematizing of cultural production. Both approaches indicate that agency, the ability to act and make choice, is dependent on structures, those things that are seen to determine action. Creative agents, who may be singular individuals or collective entities such as groups or institutions, form part of the system of creativity along with the structures of a musical and technical knowledge system, or domain, and a social organisation, or field, which affords the emergence of creative product from a recording studio environment. This system both constrains and enables creative action in the studio at one and the same time. In this case agency and structure are interdependent. To demonstrate these ideas a single case of studio practice has been documented. The case study (Yin 2009, Robson 2011) analyses the recording of an album with a pop/rock band and follows not only production but also documents the pre and post­production processes that occur prior to and after the production period. In doing so this study investigates the agency of songwriters and musicians as well as producer, engineer, mastering engineer and management, and their contribution to creative production in relation to the structures they engage with, in an attempt to cast light on the systems based nature of creative practice in the studio.

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Sean McLaughlin, University of the Highlands and Islands, UK

Track: C - Education

Musician?: The ideology of creative industrial roles and vocational popular music pedagogy

Abstract: It is not uncommon for popular musicians to move between the of roles of writer/performer and record producer, but how are these roles understood and acted out, and are the lines of distinction still being drawn? This paper will focus on the results of case­study interviews with professional musician­producers resident in Scotland and will look at the ideological interpretations of these roles, giving a snapshot of some contemporary understandings of this negotiable terminology. Lastly, this paper will consider the possible pedagogical implications for the design and delivery of University/College (Higher and Further Education [UK]) qualifications in practical/vocational popular music. What should we teach about the intersection between these roles? When is a musician a producer and are these terms still useful?

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Kirk McNally, University of Victoria, Canada

Track: C - Education

What the masters teach us: Resources and approaches in multi­track audio archives

Abstract: 36.6 million videos are available today to anyone who searches the Internet using the term “music production.” This is, of course, a sensational view of the available resources, but it highlights the volume of activity in this field. How does a fledgling student make sense of this overwhelming body of resources and how do we, as educators, utilize these same resources in a meaningful and critical manner? Though less prevalent than the video example, digital archives of audio multi­tracks are an emergent sub­set of the resources available to students and educators of music production and technology (De Man & Reiss 2014; R. M. Bittner, et.al 2014). In this paper, an annotated bibliography of existing public multi­track audio archives is used to illustrate both the potential and the pitfalls associated with these types of resources. The University of Victoria recently acquired the multi­track audio master tapes by the Canadian rock band KLÖ. The subsequent digitization and archival process of this collection, affords further discussion around educational opportunities and approaches. Using the KLÖ tapes as the primary resource, a digital archive model is presented which draws inspiration from research in the digital humanities (Jensted 2011, Thomas 2013) and music technology (Seay 2011, Buffa et al. 2013).

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Anthony Meynell, London College of Music UWL, UK

Track: B - Multipolarities

Recreation of The Byrds “Eight Miles High”. Using re­enactment to recapture historical recording practices.

Abstract: Whereas current cultural etiquette promotes the revealing and sharing of recording techniques, sound engineers in the 1960s tended to keep their ‘professional secrets’ to themselves and thus our understanding of these recording methods is seeded in retrospective anecdotal evidence, written descriptions and investigations into the technology or personalities of the time.

History focuses on the musicians or recordings that utilized the techniques rather than the engineers that developed the practice. Each engineer developed his own method to push equipment beyond specification parameters, and ‘Do unorthodox things to get to the sound in your head’ (Blackham 2015). But this knowledge was rarely credited because the culture and structure of large corporations often created constraints to absorbing innovation into established working practices and was compounded by an institutionalized hierarchical deference, which tended to play down the role of support staff in the creative process, with tacit knowledge deemed common practice.

This paper analyses an historical recording by recreating the closed environment of the 1960’s recording studio. Through re­enactment of The Byrds' “Eight Miles High” January 1966 session, we can better understand how the social construction of the everyday working practices shaped the sounds we hear on the record. By following a similar structure to the original session, and interacting with historical technology we are able to pose specific questions and investigate how the methodology was influenced by collaborative actions, situational awareness and the demarcation of roles. We can also appreciate how the session adapted to the tensions between musicians demanding innovation and experimentalism and the constraints of Unionized methodologies and established methods. Post session video analysis reveals the flow of decision­making as the session unfolds, and how interaction with the technological constraints recreates ‘forgotten’ techniques that were deemed everyday practice at the time and were vital to the outcome of the soundscape.

*****

Alexei Michailowsky, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

Track: A - Agency

Shaping the "pancadão": improvisation and studio creativity on Rio Funk independent recordings from the early 1990s

Abstract: The Rio Funk movement emerged from the hands of disc jockeys who worked on a thriving dance scene in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1989, when freestyle and Miami Bass were the dominant genres in the bailes, some people decided to try producing original tracks instead of merely spinning foreign music. Whilst Marlboro DJ, one of the movement pioneers, moved towards the big national media and the mainstream record industry and collaborated with outsider professionals to produce the Funk Brasil series, a group of Rio Funk DJs chose to go independent. Angelo “Grandmaster” Raphael, Amazing Clay and Nazz counted on a network of sound systems and radio stations for promotion, while their direct connections to fans allowed them to distribute and sell their releases without the help of third­party companies. Having built their own recording studio and with no previous experience on record production, they taught themselves the basics of their work – synthesizer and computer programming, digital sampling, audio tracking, mixing, editing, mastering and vinyl cutting – while making records. This paper explores the making of the tracks included in the Beats, funks e raps compilation series (1993­1995), focusing on the original techniques and solutions developed out of improvisation and creativity in the studio and on their contribution to establish Rio Funk as an independent underground recording scene and shape its distinctive pancadão sound. It is based on interviews conducted by the author with the two remaining members of the record production team (Raphael and Nazz) as well as on track listening and software­ based analysis.

*****

William Moylan, University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA

Track: B - Multipolarities

How the Record Shapes the Song: A Confluence of the Art of Record Production and Music Analysis

Abstract: This paper will bring together fundamental sonic elements of recordings with music analysis techniques to provide entry into a greater understanding of how the record shapes the song.

We know recordings shape music; That the mix crafts the music and its message. The record creates and establishes the context for the song, with its array of sound characteristics and relationships, and enhances and adds substance to the song’s materials and meaning. These qualities and relationships are unique to each piece of music’s recording, just as each song is an entity onto itself.

There are questions that remain largely un­asked, and thus unanswered:

What might the sonic elements of recordings contribute to the music, and how? Or more specifically: how do specific elements support and contribute to the structure, shape and directed movement of the song? How do these elements enhance the song’s ability to communicate its materials, musical expression, and its message? Music analysis processes can be applied to these elements to achieve entry into this information. Through style analysis concepts and by adapting related analysis techniques we are able to explore these questions with considerable depth.

We will explore the elements of timbral balance, sound staging, and incongruences of performance intensity and actual loudness level, and examine how they provide substance to the musical fabric, and sound characteristics that support more traditional musical materials, as they:

  • Create context or inherent qualities,
  • Enhance musical materials ornamentally,
  • Contribute variety and directed motion,
  • Generate musical ideas consisting of patterns with time relationships,
  • Provide added substance to materials and the song.

By exploring these areas, this paper will assert that the confluence of music analysis and those sonic dimensions that define the art of record production can bring greater understanding to how the record shapes the song.

*****

Gayle Murchison, The College of William and Mary, USA

Track: A - Agency

Chicago Blues in the Studio: Bill Putnam, Muddy Waters, “Still a Fool” and the Chess Sound

Abstract: Today hip­hop is the African American music genre most readily associated with music and recording technology, rather than the blues. In blues historiography, most scholars and critics generally characterize as hallmarks of early Chicago jazz the guitar­piano­drums of Big Bill Broonzy, the amplification of the acoustic guitar and adoption of the electric guitar by largely Delta blues musicians, and the use of distortion initially produced by overdriving the guitar amp. Blues scholarship, adopting methodology from jazz studies, tends to focus on discography, the development of musical style, and the history of record labels. The question of record production and studio techniques, problematically, are typically overlooked. The reissue of box sets of three major Chicago blues musicians, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter, who all recorded for Chess Records, provides documentary evidence that coupled with recent biographical studies problematizes the early historiography of Chicago blues, prompting new questions about mid­century blues and recording technology—and record producers and engineers. Analysis—musically and sonically—of two related recordings by Muddy Waters, provides insight into how recording technology and studio techniques, as well as the producer and engineer, can alter musical meaning. This paper focuses on two recordings by Muddy Waters, his classic “Rolling Stone” (1950) and the lesser known but more commercially successful 1951 “Still a Fool” (1951). Both share the same riff, and tune, and are derived from the same “Catfish Blues” tune family and tradition. Recorded at Chicago’s Universal Audio studio, Bill Putnam’s DIY approach to audio production in the early 1950s resulted in innovative and now­standard recording equipment and techniques. His choices about miking, recording level, reverberation, and mixing, as well as distortion shaped Waters’s vocal and Little Walter’s guitar performance, and resultant musical signification during the early 1950s, at the intersection of Chicago blues and rock’n’roll.

*****

Mark Mynett, University of Huddersfield, UK

Track: B - Multipolarities

Heaviness in Three Dimensions – The Use of Sonic Space in Contemporary Metal Music Production

Abstract: When listening to most music, there tends to be a perceived overall space in which the music appears to take place. For analysis purposes, it is helpful to analyze the relevant sounds within this space as existing in three dimensions.

This paper examines how the contemporary metal production style utilizes these dimensions for maximum sonic impact. In the height dimension, the signal modification provided by harmonic distortion emphasizes high frequency energy and low frequency density. A staple mix technique is to provide both the bass drums and bass guitar with a similar spectral balance. This means that these sound sources, and therefore the overall production, tend to be perceived as occupying considerable height in the vertical dimension.

However, the significant high frequency energy involved also impacts the listener’s perception of proximity. Higher frequencies diffuse at a faster rate than low frequencies as they propagate through air, and therefore sounds with significant high frequency content are perceived as being close to the listener. Proximity is also informed by ambience, which creates the perception of depth by putting up a slight barrier between the listener and the sound. Despite that ambience can enlarge how a sound is perceived; significant ambient qualities are directly contrary to the requirement of perceived proximity. Consequently, to place sounds very up front and close to the listener, the production style tends to make minimal use of ambient microphone techniques, and reverb. This is also reflective of minimal space being available for ambience due to the music’s frequent fast subdivisions.

The rhythm guitars in contemporary metal productions heavily impact the width dimension, due to usually being hard panned, however from most other perspectives, the stereo image cannot be significantly differentiated from other forms of rock music with similar instrumentation.

*****

Tiffany Naiman, UCLA, USA

Track: A - Agency

One Voice or Another: The Re­recording of Blondie’s Hits

Abstract: This talk considers the nuances of Debbie Harry’s aging vocal identity on the re­recordings of Blondie’s works “Atomic,” “Rapture,” and “Heart of Glass” that the band recorded for their 2014 box set, Blondie 4(0)­Ever: Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux/Ghosts of Download. Chris Stein, guitarist and co­founder of Blondie, stated that the band re­recorded eleven of their best­known hits, “partially as an exercise, but also for sync rights.” The band was not working to add something creatively new to their songs, aiming to maintain a close fidelity to the originals so that when film and commercial producers approached them for their classic music, the band could offer new recordings for which they owned both the publishing and sync rights.

At the age of 69, Debbie Harry’s voice has changed since her early recordings in the late 70s and early 80s and the listener can hear her physical limitations. Though there are aesthetic choices made both musically and in the studio in order to manage Harry’s voice, her aging voice is not always consistent or coherent and these inconsistencies, these failures, open the door for my analysis of Harry’s vocality on these new recordings as compared to the originals. Questions surrounding the organization of musical sounds and the presentation of vocal identities provide an opportunity to consider structures of value within the vocal performances of aging popular music artists such as Debbie Harry. By analyzing Harry’s vocals and examining the journalistic and audience receptions of the new re­recorded tracks, I attend to the ways in which the aging female voice is situated within structures of value and authenticity in popular music.

*****

Matthew Ord, Newcastle University, UK

Track: B - Multipolarities

Translating tradition: Topic Records and the place of record production in the British folksong revival

Abstract: Despite the crucial importance of sound recording in developing and disseminating the music of the post­war British folk revival, the recording process and its place within the cultural politics of the revival remain largely unexamined by folk music scholars. An ongoing tendency within revival studies to conceptualise recording as a straightforward process of capture has obscured both the varied and innovative character of revivalist approaches to recording, and the contribution of recording techniques to the experience of meaning in folk recordings as multimodal texts.

This paper identifies sound recording as a key component of the revival’s cultural­political project, using the recordings of Topic Records, a revivalist institution whose emergence as a commercial entity coincided with the advent of affordable tape­recording in the 1950s, to illustrate the range of revivalist approaches to recording traditional music in a commercial setting. Focussing on the various ways in which Topic releases of the 1950s and ‘60s represented the pub­based ‘session’ culture of London’s Irish migrant community, this paper explores how producer Bill Leader exploited the technologies at hand in his recordings of traditional performance, moving away from a fairly conventional studio practice towards strategies more attuned to traditional performance and its unique connection to specific social contexts and communities of practice. Reconstructing the recording process through a combination of interviews with Leader and textual analysis of his recordings, it draws on work by Lacasse, Moore, and Zagorski­Thomas to explore how the recordings as multimodal texts manage notions of authentic performance, social distance and agency in ways that reflect the ideological concerns of the revival as cultural­political movement.

Situating commercial folk recording in the context of mid­20th century mass­culture debates, this paper offers an example of how counter hegemonic values are mediated in musical, technological and commercial practices.

*****

Marcia Ostashewski, Cape Breton University, Canada

Track: C - Education

Record Production as Research Method: Singing stories and Songs of Truth

Abstract: While singing storytellers, or bards, and their practices have long been the focus of ethnomusicology, more recent studies are scarce. A current collaborative, community­engaged research and public outreach project in Canada – Singing Storytellers (singingstorytellers.ca) ­ explores bards and their practices through such means as public presentations, workshops, film screenings, exhibits, concerts and conferences, as well as publications and digital media. Research­creation is one method employed in Singing Storytellers. (The Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada describes ‘research­creation’ as combined creative and academic research practices that support the development of knowledge and innovation through artistic expression, scholarly investigation and experimentation… a creative process situated within the research activity, producing critically informed work in a variety of media/art) One project outcome is Songs of Truth, a CD and accompanying songsoftruth.ca website. Singing Storytellers is exploring different ways of investigating and different kinds of knowledge that can be generated by various means – and that can be supported by digital media, including recordings. (The latter point is integral to the creation, preservation, documentation and dissemination of the knowledge we co­create.) Singing Storytellers has facilitated reciprocal relationships between social sciences and humanities researchers and cross­sector partners: artist­practitioners and communities, industry and government. Among the issues we explore is creative agency, such as those involved in the creation and dissemination of recordings and related knowledge (toward educational and other aims). Employing both research­creation (including record production) and conventional academic research, we engage collaboratively in creatively (re)conceptualizing the study of contemporary bards and their practice – reflecting upon and innovating the means and outcomes of knowledge creation and dissemination. This paper describes the process, challenges and outcomes of Singing Storytellers’ process, focusing on the Songs of Truth production, as well as subsequent collaborations and new research opportunities resulting from the initial project.

*****

Michael Palm, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

Andrew Davis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

Track: B - Multipolarities

The New Old: Independent Labels and the Contemporary Market in Reissued Records

Abstract: Reissues of classic albums comprise a substantial portion of vinyl sales today. In the US, the second­ highest selling LP in 2012 was Abbey Road; in 2014, it was fourth. Reissues are a growing market in terms of range as well as volume, as independent and niche labels compete to secure the rights to curiosities and overlooked gems alongside still­coveted classics. In this paper we survey independent labels reissuing records from an expanding array of genres and periods. Some — such as Numero Group based in Chicago and Superior Viaduct in Oakland — are archival curators finding audiences for music underappreciated upon its initial release. The catalogs of other labels — such as Fat Possum in Oxford, Mississippi, and Paradise of Bachelors in Chapel Hill, North Carolina — feature similar reissues alongside new records by experimental and traditional artists.

Reissues have become a double­edged sword. Classics and curiosities both sell well but at high prices, thereby reinforcing vinyl’s well­deserved reputation as an exclusionary (boys’) club with significant economic as well as cultural and technological barriers to entry. The average price of a reissued record is nearly $25 in the U.S., a figure inflated by deluxe versions and box sets featuring all sorts of bells and whistles. Of course, the deluxe and the standard are not mutually exclusive; proceeds from the box sets could help subsidize more reasonably priced reissues. The fear among vinyl enthusiasts, however, is that the former is crowding out the latter, and with it many of the people who buy records or would like to begin. Marshaling ethnographic and political­economic research, we map the current market(s) in reissues and draw lessons from some of today’s leading independent labels, who would like to continue expanding their catalogs without popping what Numero Group has dubbed “the vinyl bubble.”

*****

Shara Rambarran, BISC, Queen's University, Canada

Track: D – Ten Years On

‘‘99 Problems’ but Danger Mouse IS one’: The evolution of the producer Brian Burton

Abstract: Ten years ago, I presented a paper at the first ARP conference in London on Danger Mouse’s mash up, The Grey Album (2004). The presentation resulted in a heated discussion between the panel, audience and myself. Today, the virtual album is still championed by academics, musicians and fans. While Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) will always be associated with the cultural shift in ‘disrupting’ the practices in popular music creativity and digital technology, this paper will explore the aftermath of The Grey Album event.

The paper will argue that since the event, there have been digital developments that have concerned the musicians/producers, industry and consumers. Music consumption, distribution, copyright, streaming, remixing, production etc. are on­going themes at ARP conferences, and these topics still involve Burton. Since the paper presentation in 2005, Burton has become a successful producer working with the likes of Damon Albarn, Cee­Lo Green, and Jack White. Despite the success, there have been events that have (un)intentionally involved Burton. An overview of such events will be examined such as Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ (another leaked project on the Internet); Sparklehorse’s blank CDR release (Burton’s protest to EMI); and more recently, the U2 album that was pre­loaded on iPhones. Whether these episodes are either a coincidence or not, the paper will examine on how Burton’s music production has resulted in such events. I will consider Burton an auteur: despite his hip­hop background, he has produced a genre­blended catalogue that carries his own musical ingredients in record production. While his projects have contributed in the way music is produced, consumed and distributed in the digital age, the paper will argue on why it is likely that his works will still be discussed at future ARP conferences: is Burton a secret musical activist, or an ultramodernist in record production?

*****

Dean Reynolds, CUNY Graduate Center, USA

Track: B - Multipolarities

Jazz and Mediatized Performance in the Digital Age

Abstract: Contemporary jazz musicians and their audiences are mobilizing recording and playback technologies and new media to create and share music, adapt to changing marketplaces for both recorded and live performances, innovate stylistically within and beyond the genre, and build communities and participate in sociopolitical actions. This runs contrary to some popular, critical, and scholarly discourses in which jazz recordings are disregarded or devalued artistically or sociopolitically; such claims typically issue from (1) the presumption that recordings are necessarily inadequate reproductions or representations of “authentic” or “real” live jazz performances, which are regarded as the quintessential spaces of musical creativity, community formation, and political participation, or (2) the conviction that the institutionalization and corporatization of jazz and an   associated stylistic stagnation or corruption by popular aesthetics have exhausted jazz of its artistic vitality and political urgency. Drawing together theories and methods from performance studies, sound studies, recording studies, and my home discipline of ethnomusicology, I theorize jazz recordings as “mediatized performances” to claim their creative and social distinction, and I argue that the musical integrity, affective power, and social significance of jazz is not circumscribed by recording but rather accrues through the often entwined processes of record production, circulation, listening, and remediation. Such processes include the creation of crowdfunding campaigns to finance recordings, the use of advanced production and post­production techniques in professional and home studios, the development of social media brands and web profiles, the capitalization on diverse media and formats—including lossless audio and HD video—for disseminating and listening to recordings, and the crafting of playlists and remixes. I draw from my interviews with jazz musicians, producers, and others in New York as well as my participant­observations at recording sessions and in online jazz communities.

*****

Jacob Robbins, Drexel University, USA

Track: C - Education

Sloppy Stiches: The Problem of DAW Agency in Amateur Electronic Music Composition

Abstract: Electronic music production makes abundantly clear the agential complexities of the DIY ecosystem. By approaching composition and agency from a theoretical, historical, self­reflexive and performative lens, this examination of Ableton Live will trace relationships between the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), the MIDI controller and the performer with an eye for networks of agency in amateur production. Most professional content, whether produced through major studios or by skilled arrangers with their own portable studios, is not a process that relies on the MIDI controller; however, this tool and the sketches that it helps produce teach some novices limitations that are inherent in the system. These limitations are odd “phonograph effects” that impact how users conceptualize music and the creative process (Katz, 2010). It is primary to recognize DIY electronic music pedagogy as its proliferation and popularity has already risen inside and outside of the academy. This essay surveys topics related to: the theoretical abstractions that are concretized by the visual semiotics of the Live platform; modularity as a historical affordance; what I have experienced practicing and performing with an Ableton Push; how repetition, linearity, obscurity, opacity and other metaphors are dramatized in the phenomenology of the MIDI controller.

From this survey, support will be given for a networked, ecological approach to agency in amateur production. Agency is linked to metaphor through interdisciplinary theoretical scholarship (Hayles, 2001; Butler, 2014; Latour, 2005; Postman, 1985; Deleuze and Guattari, 1987) that emphasize a relational and conditional assembling of agency between technology and the creative user.

*****

Bjørnar Sandvik, University of Oslo, Norway

Track: A - Agency

On interface­designs and technological remediation: Digital samplers in contemporary music production

Abstract: Scholars who draw attention to aesthetic choices made when utilizing sampling techniques (Rose 1994; Schloss 2004; and Harkins 2010) usually neglect that musicians/producers often have different musical approaches to different kinds of samplers. There is not one single user­interface interaction available for sampling that feels intuitive in the same manner that for example a keyboard­interface does for digital synthesizers. Digital samplers have always been multifunctional meta­instruments: different interfaces provide different interactional approaches to manipulating, replaying and sequencing audio­segments. Addressing the need for thinking more plural about samplers, this paper explores how different interfaces influence creative processes and musical content in sample­based productions, and how the music conversely impact upon the development of new interfaces. It explores, in other words, the ways in which different types of sampler­interfaces have been stabilized through a social negotiation between users and manufacturers, focusing in particular on how traditional sampler­ designs have been remediated or “reinvented” as plug­ins or MIDI­controllers in today’s era of DAWs.

After the laptop’s emergence, stand­alone samplers have lost its appeal. However, the ever­increasing popularity of both “old” and new interfaces used to control DAWs shows that the sampler­designs and the user­interface interactions associated with them live on due to our preference of immediacy and physical interaction. A laptop together with a software­controlling interface is thus perhaps the closest we get to the conventional concept of “a sampler” today, as it occupies and complements the role samplers had in the 1980s and 1990s. This paper will be theoretically underpinned by STS perspectives on technological development (Pinch, Oudshoorn 2005); Butler’s (2014) notion of affordances (Gibson 1977) between users and objects when conceptualizing user­interface interaction; and, when exploring how we desire immediate and intuitive technological mediation to feel that we are in charge of our creative agency, Bolter and Grusin’s concept of remediation (2000).

*****

Laura Schnitker, University of Maryland, USA

Track: B - Multipolarities

Independence through Independents: Indie Labels, Record Production and the Evolution of Modern Alterities

Abstract: In ethnomusicology, the study of record production offers unique lines of inquiry into the intersection of art and commerce. The interdisciplinary nature of the field lends itself well to understanding the production of recorded music as a process of negotiation in which sociology, musicology, gender studies, race studies, anthropology and even journalism can help to interpret the sociocultural dynamics that influence this process, and the ways in which musicians, producers, mediators and audiences shape both the creation and meaning of sound objects as cultural forms. The study of record production was a major focal point in my dissertation on independence as social practice in American popular music. My fieldwork, which included interviews with   musicians, fans, DJs and label owners, as well as primary­source research in the archival collections of former record labels, led me to trace independence further back than previous studies. I discovered that as early as the 1920s, independent record labels established a tradition of filling musical chasms left by major labels’ large­scale commercial goals, and subsequently played a vital role in broadening and preserving the spectrum of American popular music. Whereas most ethnographic studies of independent or “indie” music tend to focus on a single era in which these labels rose to prominence, my study examined independence as an ongoing tradition of creative resistance to the centralized, homogenous nature of the modern recording industry.

In this paper, I examine how American independent record labels in the first half of the twentieth century responded to the limited market of popular recordings, demonstrating how they established models of practical and ideological resistance that subverted the cultural hierarchies created by the major­label dominated industry. I argue that through these models, the independent label became a symbol of economic and cultural empowerment through which modern “alternative” music communities would define themselves.

*****

Whitney Slaten, Columbia University, USA

Track: A - Agency

Liveness, Sonic Color, and Transparency: The Creative Agency of Mixing Recorded and Live Broadway Productions of Porgy and Bess

Abstract: How do sound engineers’ consideration of social and technological transparency both clarify and obfuscate colorations of musical sound in the process of recording or amplifying popular music? In addition to engineering musical sound to intelligible sound levels for listeners, engineers also assert their hidden sound art, working to sonically and visually mask themselves and their equipment. Transparency is an industrial ideology that outlines methods of faithfully reproducing sounds without coloring or obscuring an original quality. Engineers use the term “transparency” in their discourse to describe this hidden mode of labor and the functionality of sound reproduction technologies. However, these production workers, in both live and recording studio contexts, inevitably and strategically resist this ideology by creatively coloring musical sound. These colorations not only occur technologically, but through the cultural expectations and musicality of the engineer who mixes. The practice of sound engineering involves negotiating a series of sonic colorations that engineers associate to the visuality of computer­based graphic equalizer settings. These sonic colorations or resonances describe acoustic dimensions of a musical performance environment, resonance expectations of musical genres, as well as the resonances of human hearing. Thus, the practice of transparency entails engineers’ faithful adherence to fulfilling these resonance expectations, as well as a faith in their own expectations for sonic qualities of musical color. Drawing on recent ethnographic fieldwork at the 2012 Broadway production of Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess,” this paper analyzes the mixing practice of a live sound engineer in relation to the cast album recording, as well as the social science of sound engineering and studies of creative labor.

*****

Alex Stevenson, Leeds Beckett University, UK

Track: A - Agency

Funky Drummer? The use of Micro­Rhythmic Gestures in Live Hip Hop Performance

Abstract: The proliferation of digital sampling technology had a significant impact on the establishment of a hip-hop aesthetic. These tools allowed producers to manipulate existing rhythmic performances to achieve complex grooves that would have been significantly challenging for musicians to perform live. Micro­rhythmic gestures emerged though this process, with specific grooves characterising the genre and creating sonic signatures for hip hop producers. However, alongside this sample­based approach, a significant number of hip hop producers and artists utilised live musicians both in the recording and performance of their music. These musicians therefor faced significant challenges to be able to perform music that conformed to a sample­based aesthetic, without the use of the sampling process and tools implicit in the creation of the aesthetic.

This paper therefore explores the impact of sample­based hip hop aesthetic on the practice of live hip hop musicians using rhythmic analysis of live hip hop performances, drawing on Greenwold’s (2002) analysis of hip   hop drumming styles and Danielsen (2013; 2006) and Pedersen’s (2009) notion of micro­rhythmic gestures within hip hop. This analysis will be further supported by semi­structured interviews with hip hop musicians and producers, to gain a deeper understanding of their complex interpretation of the sample­based aesthetic in live music performance.

Bibliography: Danielsen, Anne. 2006. Presence and Pleasure: The Funk Grooves of James Brown and Parliament. Wesleyan University Press. ———. 2013. “Here, There and Everywhere: Three Accounts of Pulse in D’Angelo’s ‘Left and Right.’” In Musical Rhythm in the Age of Digital Reproduction, edited by Anne Danielsen, 19–35. Surrey, England: Ashgate. Greenwald, Jeff. 2002. “Hip­Hop Drumming: The Rhyme May Define, but the Groove Makes You Move.” Black Music Research Journal 22 (2): 259–71. Pedersen, Birgitte Stougaard. 2009. “Anticipation and Delay as Micro­Rhythm and Gesture in Hip Hop Aesthetics.” Journal of Music & Meaning 8 (2): 1–22.

*****

Andy Stuhl, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Track: D – Ten Years On

Active Listeners: The Sound, Software and Politics of Interactive Musical Works

Abstract: While generative pieces have long characterized sonic experimentation, new platforms such as tablets have allowed such pieces to shed their avant­garde trappings and take up close quarters with listeners’ music collections. This type of piece—activated by the listener’s input, yet conceived much more as a song than as an instrument—is exemplified by Morgan Packard’s and Joshue Ott’s Thicket, Jorge Drexler’s n (both iOS applications), and the pieces crafted by Halsey Burgund using his Roundware platform. Embedded in these pieces is their authors’ challenge to the record as a musical format: that the digital interfaces through which we often experience music offer new avenues for musical exchange with the listener, and that musicians can transcend limitations of the recorded song by exploring this frontier. This challenge points to software­dependent music as an increasingly close and contentious neighbor to the digital recording, and highlights its importance in the future of what will be conceived of as a record and what kind of work will fall under the umbrella of record production. This study examines these works and their authors as inhabiting both musical and software worlds, and traces how values migrate between the two intersected domains as these works take shape—for example, how the cultures of open source software development and electronic music exchange principles through the work of an artist participating in both. Accordingly, the research puts software studies in conversation with musicology and other methods in the sound studies family, helping to project a future for methodologies by which the study of record production accounts for software­based works.

*****

Robert Taylor, University of Newcastle, Australia

Track: A - Agency

Hyper­compression in Music Production: Agency, Structure and the Myth that ‘Louder is Better’

Abstract: Achieving ‘loud’ recordings is a prevailing expectation within the creative system of music production. This is supported by the process known as hyper­compression and has resulted from the ‘louder is better’ paradigm; “the established assumption that a ‘louder’ recording will invariably, by comparison, be preferable to most listeners” (Taylor and Martens, 2014). Once one artist, seen here as a creative agent, had reached a new level of loudness all other creative agents had to follow so when comparisons were made between recordings, one was not seen as softer and in a sense, inferior (Weymouth, 2012). The existence and persistence of the myth surrounding the loudness of recordings, despite the accumulated scientific evidence regarding the deleterious effects of hyper­compression, has been largely overlooked within an examination the creative system of audio production. There is a distinct tension between the empirical evidence of applied science and the subjective interpretation of creative agents in that the practical use of hyper­compression continues unabated. As part of a larger research study, this paper examines these tensions from a systemic perspective where agency and the symbolic and social structures they engage with, operate within what Williamson and Cloonan define as the music ‘industries’. These industry sectors, or industries, operate as discrete systems themselves and also act, at the   same time, as part of a larger scalable system centered around the production and distribution of music recordings (artefacts). A synthesis of both objective and subjective viewpoints will be used to examine these creative systems (Csikszentmilhalyi 1998, 1999), coupled with Bourdieu’s theories of habitus and capital (1993, 1996), to expose the relationship between agency and structure in the use of hyper­compression as a creative tool.

*****

Paul Thompson, Leeds Beckett University, UK

Phillip McIntyre, Newcastle University NSW, Australia

Track: A - Agency

Creativity, Agency and Structure inside the Recording Studio

Abstract: Popular accounts of creativity inside the recording studio tend to romanticise and mythologise the record production process (Williams, 2008). These accounts present the artist as the sole creative entity during the recording process, thus endorsing the romantic ideal of a musical ‘genius’ whose artistic expressions are free from any constraint and even somewhat mystical (Zolberg 1990, Petrie 1991, Watson 2005, Sawyer 2006). However, it has been acknowledged that the production of art is always, to some degree, both constrained and enabled by the structures creative agents engage with (Giddens 1976; Becker 1982; Wolff, 1981; Bourdieu 1993). Furthermore, rather than placing the artist at the centre of the creative process there is growing evidence that creativity occurs through the convergence of multiple elements; an agent, a knowledge system (the domain) and a social organisation that holds the domain knowledge (the field), through a dynamic system of interaction (Csikszentmihalyi: 1988, 1997, 1999 & 2004).

Drawing upon current literature, interviews, case studies and data gathered from an extended ethnographic study in the recording studio, this paper explores the interrelated aspects of agency and structure as they apply to the record production process and illustrates their influence on the decision­making process with a group of musicians, an engineer and record producer as they collaborate inside the recording studio.

*****

Mark Thorley, Coventry University, UK

Track: C - Education

Global collaboration and industry­orientated assessment – project commissioned by the UK Higher Education Academy

Abstract: At the Art of Record Production conference in Quebec in 2013, a three­way project involving Coventry University, New York University and JAMES was launched. The project was funded by the UK’s Higher Education Academy and sought to address the fact that emerging technology was breaking down the traditional barriers of geography, organization and culture (Levy 1997). Though this concept is relevant to a range of industries, it is particularly pertinent for audio professionals and music producers who, by working with global collaborators in a variety of digital formats, are effectively engaged in what Tapscott and Williams (2006) refer to as ‘peer production’. In reflection of this real­world, technology­mediated collaborative approach, the project sought to connect international Higher Education Institutions and industry professionals through innovative collaborations and assessment.

As the project approaches its end point, this paper will outline and reflect upon the key outcomes of the project beyond that already published (Thorley 2014). It will look at the type of activities undertaken, the technical and organisational approaches applied before finally summarising the key benefits and risks to such an approach. For delegates, it will offer a model for the future development of global audio and music professionals.

References: Levy, Pierre (1997). Collective Intelligence: Mankind’s emerging world in cyberspace. Perseus. Tapscott, Don and Williams, Anthony (2006). Wikinomics. Altlantic books. Thorley, Mark (2014)‘Responding to the global challenge through innovative three­way collaboration’ in A Handbook of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Eds Heather Fry, Steve Ketteridge and Stephanie Marshall.

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Mikkel Vad, University of Minnesota, USA

Track: B – Multipolarities

What kind of space is space in recorded music?

Abstract: One of the most significant and distinctive new ways of analyzing music developed during the past thirty years has been to consider space in recorded music by developing concepts such as spatial staging, the sound box, phonographic staging, virtual space, or functional staging. This form of musical analysis has proved to be a valuable tool in considering technical and historical aspects of recordings and giving hermeneutical interpretations of music.

As such, this form of analysis by now stands on firm methodological ground. However, little attention has been paid to theories of space, or at least it is fair to say that the theoretical concepts of space that might underpin such methodologies and analyses have seldom been very explicit and have rarely been related to broader theories of space.

This paper will be based in close readings of the literature in the field of record production dealing with the analysis of space and staging in recorded music with special attention to seminal books and articles by scholars such as Moylan, Tagg, Moore, Lacasse, and Zagorski­Thomas, without being restricted to these. The aim is, firstly, to identify the theoretical conceptions of space that are present in the literature (mainly semiotics, cognitive science, and hermeneutics), and secondly, to compare this with concepts of space in cultural studies, philosophy, geography, architecture and art history, and sound studies to suggest where the analysis of space in recorded music might benefit from further interdisciplinary cross­fertilization. Thus, the paper will not provide a definitive answer to the question in its title, but rather suggest multiple ways in which the question can be framed by theorizing it in different ways.

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Bernt Isak Wærstad, Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet, Norway

Bjørnar Bruket, Rockheim, Norway

Vigdis Sjelmo, Rockheim, Norway

Track: B – Multipolarities

The Sound of an Icon?

Abstract: Within the museum field, there is a lack of documented established practices when it comes to documenting objects in terms of sound. This paper investigates methods for conserving the sound of physical objects in general and musical instruments in particular based on both technical theories and empirical findings. It presents some technical and theoretical background and also discusses the methods in use in relation to   traditional studio recording conventions.

This paper is based on findings from the project "The Sound of an Icon?" (conducted at Rockheim, the Norwegian national museum for popular music) where the goal was to capture the sound of two electric guitars; a Fender Stratocaster '63 and a Gibson Les Paul '69. The purpose was to find a pragmatic method for capturing the audible essence of these instruments. Both guitar models where well documented with contextual sound (released recordings), but this project tried to get as close to the pure sound of the instrument as possible. The biggest and most difficult questions this paper and project seek to answer is how do you capture the sound an instrument that doesn't have a "natural" sound?

We also argue that it's equally important for musical instrument museums to document the sound of the object, as it is to document the visual appearance through word, numbers and photography. One might even ask if you really document the musical instrument at all if you don't document the sound it's making?

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Mads Walther­Hansen, Aalborg University, Denmark

Track: B - Multipolarities

The Balance Metaphor in Music Production

Abstract: Balance is one of the most central conceptual representations in the art of music and sound production. A sound engineer may, for instance, refer to ‘dynamic balance,’ ‘spectral balance,’ ‘color balance’, ‘wet/dry balance’ or ‘pan balance’ when describing sonic qualities of a mix. However, few attempts have been made to understand how the concept of balance functions at the level of thought as an aesthetic ideal, and how one may respond meaningfully to an imbalanced mix.

In this presentation conceptual metaphor theory and corpus linguistics serve as a theoretical framework to understand the relation between how music producers and sound engineers imagine their mix, how they conceptualize it, and the operations they perform to achieve it. The concept of balance is treated as an embodied cognitive structure that gives rise to concrete actions in the act of recording, mixing, and mastering music. Previous studies have tested intuitive bodily responses to auditory balance. These studies have shown a link between body movements and perceived balanced/unbalanced audio stimuli. This suggests a relationship between physical structures of balance and more abstract notions of auditory balance. This study is based on an exploration of a specialized linguistic corpus of sound engineering literature. Using this corpus I show how balanced is typically conceptualized. I conclude by suggesting how linguistic corpus data may contribute to better understand the relation between embodied patterns of experience and hands­on interaction with sound.

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Gregory Weinstein, Davidson College, USA

Track: A - Agency

Recording Bodies: Economics and Embodiment in Classical Music Recording

Abstract: Recordings of classical music represent idealized forms of musicking bodies. The process of making a classical music record—complete with patching, tracking, and editing—is necessarily the process of removing bodily imperfections: cracked notes, technical mistakes, the sonic detritus of coughs, chair creaks, and so forth. Consequently, there exists a dissonance between how musicians experience their own performing bodies and how those bodies are sonically and technologically represented in the context of a recording studio.

In this presentation, I will explore the gap between the embodied presence of classical musicians on recordings and in the studio, and I will argue that by empowering recordists to participate in the construction of their physical presence, musicians are engaging in one of the few forms of creative commercial control afforded them by the contemporary recording industry. I begin by describing the post­Fordist organization of the classical recording business, with a particular focus on how record labels have effectively shifted financial burdens for sessions onto recordists and musicians. I then suggest that within this late capitalist context, vertically disintegrated record labels have divested control of musicians, and as a result, musicians have strong investments in their own musical bodies as commodities. Consequently, classical musicians have both financial and artistic motivation to enlist the skills of professional recordists to construct their embodied sonic presence on recordings, even at considerable financial cost.

This presentation will draw on my ethnographic data from British classical recording studios to illuminate some of the common technical­rhetorical moves made by recordists to construct an idealized musical body. Ultimately, while the attribution of agency is quite complex, we might best understand the ownership claims of various parties through their investments in the ways that recordings represent the embodied processes of musicking.

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Hans T. Zeiner­Henriksen, University of Oslo, Norway

Track: B - Multipolarities

Questioning How Music Works: the role of cognitive musicology in the study of music production

Abstract: Situated largely within the hard sciences, the study of perception and cognition is seen by most musicologists as existing outside the bounds of their field. Popular music scholars in particular are more often trained in methodologies developed within the social sciences, while the more rigid methods of the hard sciences may be considered inappropriate for studying phenomena that occur within a complex cultural context. The study of music production is more often directly concerned with the actual sounding musical product; several scholars (Lacasse 2000, Moore 2012, Zagorski­Thomas 2014) deal also with problems related to cognitive musicology. Nevertheless, insights in cognitive musicology are mostly absent in studies dealing with music production, and its role in this new field of study is yet to be explored.

Standard cognitive science has since the 1990s been challenged by scholars promoting a larger focus on the role of the body in cognition (embodied cognition). This direction has encouraged ecological approaches and a theoretical framework that has been embraced by several musicologists. In this paper I will suggest how embodied cognition opens a path for the study of music production within the field of cognitive musicology (and vice versa). I will use examples from a study of skin conductance measurements in music listening to show the relevance of insights in theoretical problems and methodological approaches from cognitive science. These examples will also underline the question of how music works, and how production techniques bring forward (or conceal) musical elements that are significant for a corporeal engagement with the music. Using this as a point of departure, I will discuss the role of cognitive musicology in the study of music production more broadly.

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Xuefeng Zhou, Southwest University, China

Track: B - Multipolarities

Discussion Performers’ Choice: A Case Study on Pitch Accent

Abstract: Pitch accent, the series of rises and falls in pitch over time, is an important perceptual and performing feature. This paper aims to explore how singers from different backgrounds handle pitch accent.

Morphological analysis is the base method. Using one Chinese folk sung of Jasmine Flower, six different singers’ recordings ­ Celine Dion (Canadian), two Taiwan singers, one Hong Kong singer and two Mainland singers ­ are compared and analyzed note/sound by note/sound. The Sonic Visualiser provides onset times and global dynamic values (Cook& Leech­Wilkinson, 2009); and a professional listening ­­ Extended Self Introspection (Zhou, 2013) – is employed as a manual way of determing.

This study got two inspects of findings as following: When fluctuant pitch occurs in vowel of /ou/ or /ɑu/, the difference relates to their stylistic backgrounds. Glide is salience in pitch accent, which shows many types, e.g. (1) as one’s creative way, (2) as a national style with symmetrical features, and (3) as an individual style using upward glides. The conclusion is that, in the creation of some accent, singers from different backgrounds handle the accent according to their backgrounds.