Book Description

Recording Analysis: How the Record Shapes the Song identifies and explains how the sounds imparted by recording processes enhance the artistry and expression of recorded songs.

Moylan investigates how the process of recording a song transforms it into a richer experience and articulates how the unique elements of recorded sound provide essential substance and expression to recorded music. This book explores a broad array of records, evaluating the music, lyrics, social context, literary content and meaning, and offers detailed analyses of recording elements as they appear in a wide variety of tracks.

Accompanied by a range of online resources, Recording Analysis is an essential read for students and academics, as well as practitioners, in the fields of record production, song-writing and popular music.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. List of Figures
  8. List of Tables
  9. List of Praxis Studies
  10. Preface
  11. Introduction
    1. Some Preliminary Definitions: Song, Record, Recording, Tracks and Domains
    2. Book Organization
    3. Supporting Materials
    4. Establishing an Accurate Playback of Tracks
  12. PART ONE
    1. 1 Recording Analysis: Domains, Disciplines, Approaches
      1. Records and Recorded Music
      2. Analyzing the Record's Domains
        1. Popular Music Analysis
        2. Lyrics in Popular Music Analysis
        3. Analyzing the Recording
      3. Outside Disciplines in Popular Music Analysis
        1. Sociology and Cultural Studies
        2. Philosophy and Psychology
        3. English Literature/Poetry Studies and Communications
        4. Semiotics and Hermeneutics
        5. Affects: Emotion, Energy, Expression
        6. Incorporating Other Disciplines Within an Analysis
      4. Framework and Process
        1. Framework's Analysis Sequence
        2. Framework Principles and Concepts
      5. Closing Thoughts on Analysis
    2. 2 Overview of Framework: Principles and Concepts, Materials and Organization
      1. The Three Domains: Music, Lyrics and Recording
        1. Elements of Music
        2. Lyrics and Text
        3. Elements of Recording
      2. The Languages of Domains
        1. Syntax in Each Domain
        2. Syntax of Music
        3. Syntax of Recording
      3. Functions and Materials of Domains and their Elements
        1. Functions
        2. Inside the Elements and the Materials of the Song
      4. Form, Structure and Perspective
        1. Time Perception and Pattern Perception
        2. Hierarchies and Structure
        3. Dimensions of Structure
        4. Perspective
        5. Form: Shape and Stilled Time
        6. Song Structure
      5. Listening with Intention and Attention
        1. Listening is Personal
        2. Modes of Listening
        3. Listening Deeply
        4. Listening with Intention
        5. Listening Without Expectations
        6. Cultivating Attention
    3. 3 Domain and Elements of Music
      1. Rhythm and Time
        1. Pulse, Rhythmic Layers and Metric Grid
      2. Tonality, Harmony and Melody
        1. Tonality
        2. Modes and Scales
        3. Chords and Progressions
        4. Characteristics of Harmony
        5. Characteristics of Melody
      3. The Remaining Elements: Dynamics, Timbre and Arrangement
        1. Dynamics
        2. Timbre and Performance
        3. Arrangement and Texture
      4. Interplay of Lead Vocal and Accompaniment
      5. Functions and Relationships of Lead Vocal and Accompaniment
      6. Conclusion
    4. 4 Domain of Lyrics: The Voice of the Song
      1. Lyrics: Message, Story and Structure
        1. Structure of Lyrics
        2. Message and Meaning
        3. Dimensions of the Story
        4. Persona: The Messenger, Story Teller, Narrator
        5. Sounds of Language
      2. Lyrics in Performance: Giving Voice to the Song
        1. Alchemy of Lyrics and Melody
        2. Sound Qualities of Sung Lyrics
        3. Lyrics as Mosaics of Moments and Tone, and Unintelligible Lyrics
        4. Paralanguage and Nonverbal Vocal Sounds
        5. Vocal Style
        6. Examining Lyrics Within the Track
      3. Lyrics in Recorded Song
      4. Conclusion
    5. 5 Observing Elements of Music and Lyrics in Records
      1. The Processes of Recording Analysis
        1. Overview of the Framework
        2. First Step of Process: Observations
          1. Observation, Interpretation and Bias
          2. Outside Sources
      2. Listening, Transcription and Description
        1. Transcribing Lyrics
        2. Music Transcription
        3. Perils
        4. Tools and Devices, and Inventing Notations
        5. Descriptions
        6. Linked to Analysis Goals
      3. Collecting Observations
        1. Constructing Timelines
        2. Adapting Timelines for Each Dimension
        3. Identifying Sound Sources and Materials
      4. Observations of Music Elements
        1. Melody
        2. Harmony
        3. Arrangement and Texture
        4. Dynamics
        5. Character, Timbre and Performance Qualities
          1. Describing the Character of Sound Qualities
          2. Recognizing the Content of Timbre
        6. Rhythm, Gesture and Groove
      5. Observations of Lyrics and Vocal Lines
        1. Literary Analysis of Lyrics
        2. Qualities of Performed Lyrics and the Vocal Performance
        3. Transcribing Vocal Lines and Performed Lyrics
        4. Observing the Relationship of Vocal and Lyrics to the Musical Fabric
      6. Closing Remarks
  13. PART TWO
    1. 6 The Recording Domain: Elements, Listening, Notation, Rhythm
      1. The Interconnectedness of Chapter Topics, and Intersubjectivity
      2. Engaging the Elements of Recording
        1. The Elements of Recording
          1. Common Traits of Timbre and Space
          2. Pitch, Dynamics and Rhythm Reframed as Recording Elements
          3. Interdependence of Elements
        2. Recording's Elements and the Multi-Domain Texture
      3. Rhythm and Time Within Recording Elements
        1. Surface Rhythms
        2. Microrhythms
        3. Macrorhythms
        4. Typology of Rhythm and Rhythmic Patterns
      4. Data Collection and Transcription of Recording Elements
        1. Notating Recording's Elements
        2. Collecting Information in X-Y Graphs
      5. Typology and Syntax of Recording Elements
        1. Typology Tables
        2. Syntax, Structure and Style
      6. Hearing the Elements of Recording
        1. Describing Sounds and Sound Qualities
        2. Finding Common Ground: A Shared Vantage for Talking About Sound
      7. Listening to Records and Recording Elements
        1. Analysis Goals and Listening to the Track
        2. Playback Variables: Reproducing the Track
          1. Digital Source Files
          2. Loudspeakers, Amplifiers and Listening Room Considerations
          3. Headphones
          4. Headphones Conclusion and Consistency Between Listening Sessions
        3. Playback Systems Used by the Author for Observations and Analyses
    2. 7 Timbre and Pitch in the Recording Domain
      1. The Linkage of Pitch/Frequency and Timbre as Recording Elements
        1. Pitch Becomes Timbre, Timbre Becomes Pitch
        2. Timbre Defined
        3. Components of Timbre and Clarifying Related Definitions
        4. Acousmatic Listening and Timbre as Sound Object
          1. Acousmatic Listening
      2. Pitch/Frequency as an Element of Recording
        1. Pitch/Frequency Registers
        2. Pitch Areas
          1. Representing Pitch Areas of Unpitched Sounds
          2. Pitch Area Graph
        3. Pitch Density
          1. Pitch Density and Timbral Balance Graph
        4. Timbral Balance
      3. Timbre in the Recording Domain
        1. Everyday Timbre
        2. The Duality of Timbre
        3. Timbre as a Recording Element
          1. Large Dimension
          2. Small Dimensions
          3. Middle Dimensions
          4. Linkage with Other Domains and Other Elements
        4. Sound Source Timbre as a Recording Element
          1. Inherent Sound Quality
          2. Recording's Transformation of Sound Source Timbre
      4. Observing Timbre and Timbre Analysis
        1. General Issues of Timbre Analysis
        2. Character and Content
        3. Timbral Content Analysis Process
          1. Collecting Observations on Timbral Content
          2. Using Technology Tools
          3. Hearing into Timbre
          4. Defining a Timeline
        4. Defining the Four Tiers of the Timbre Analysis Graph
          1. Pitch Definition: Clarity of Pitch
          2. Dynamic Contour
          3. Spectral Content
          4. Spectral Envelope
        5. Timbre Analysis Graph
          1. Describing Timbral Content
        6. Defining, Observing and Describing Timbral Character
          1. Description as Interpretation
          2. Structural Levels and Time Spans
      5. Timbral Signatures and Concluding Remarks
    3. 8 The Illusion of Space as an Element of Recording
      1. Hearing Invisible Sounds in Virtual Space
        1. Listener Perspective and Track Playback Format
      2. Spatial Properties and Attributes
        1. Spatial Properties and Levels of Perspective
      3. Stereo Location: Angular Direction and Image Width
        1. Perception of Direction and Phantom Image Lateral Localization
        2. Image Width
        3. Sound Sources in Motion
        4. Observing Stereo Images
        5. Hearing Images
        6. Using the Stereo Image Graph
        7. Stereo Imaging Typology
      4. Distance and Source Positions in the Track
        1. Understanding Distance in the Track
        2. Perception of Distance
        3. Personal Space and Proxemics
        4. Distance Perception in Records
        5. Devising an Approach for Observing Distance
          1. Context
          2. Content
      5. Collecting Distance Observations
        1. Establishing a Content Reference for Timbral Detail
        2. Establishing a Context Reference of Personal Space
        3. The Continuum of Distance Zones
        4. Collecting Observations Using the Distance Location Graph
        5. Typology of Distance
      6. Spatial Staging and Source Imaging
        1. Track as Performance
        2. Staging and Listener Interpretation
        3. Sound Stage and Analysis
        4. Sound Stage Diagrams: Notating Image Positions
        5. Typology of Staging
      7. The Sound of Place
        1. Sound Source Host Environments
        2. Echo and Reverberation
        3. Holistic Environment of the Track
        4. Multiple Spaces and a Hierarchy of Environments
        5. The Duality of Content and Character of Spaces
        6. The Sonic Content of Environments
          1. Direct Sound and Pre-Delay
          2. Early Reflections and Early Time Field
          3. Reverberation and Frequency Response
        7. Observing Acoustic Content of Environments
        8. Character of Environments
        9. Observing the Character of Environments
        10. Observing Holistic Environments
      8. Conclusion
    4. 9 Loudness, the Confluence of Domains and Deep Listening
      1. Loudness as a Recording Element
        1. Prominence and Loudness
        2. Measuring Loudness Perception
        3. Loudness in the Context of the Track
        4. Interpreting Reference Dynamic Level and Crystallized Form
        5. Overall Loudness Level of the Track
        6. Loudness Balance, Musical Balance
        7. Performance Intensity
        8. Performance Intensity and Loudness Balance Graph
      2. The Confluence of All the Track Contains
        1. Prominence Emerging from Confluence
        2. Confluence of Recording Elements
          1. Temporal Graphs for Comparing Recording Elements
          2. Non-Temporal Graphs and Diagrams for Comparing Recording Elements
          3. The Soundbox and Other Approaches to Observing Multiple Recording Elements
        3. The Mix as Metaphor: Confluence and Interdependence of Domains
          1. Observing the Confluence of the Track
      3. Timbre as Confluence
        1. The Confluence Within Sound Source Timbres
          1. The Continuing Quest to Describe Sound with Shared Meaning
          2. Typology of Timbre in Confluence
        2. The Timbre of the Track
        3. Timbre of the Track and the Dimensions and Domains of the Track
        4. Crystallized Form
          1. Intrinsic Nature of Crystallized Form
          2. Origin of the Term
          3. Aural Image and Memory
          4. Recognizing Crystallized Form
      4. Deep Listening
        1. A Tradition of Deep Listening
        2. Deep Listening for Recording Analysis
          1. Deep Listening and the Present
          2. Memory and Reflection
          3. Arresting Anticipation and Minimizing Bias
          4. Subjective Vantage of the Analyst Listener
        3. A Knowing of the Track
      5. Conclusion
    5. 10 Analyzing Recording Elements: Their Contributions to the Record
      1. A General Typology of Analysis
        1. Intention and Recording Analysis
      2. Analysis Process Overview and Analyzing Recording Elements
        1. Syntax of Recording Elements
        2. The Evaluation Stage
          1. Evaluating Observations of Recording Elements
          2. Sample Topics of Evaluations
        3. The Conclusions Stage
          1. Streams of Inquiry
        4. Final Consideration Before Beginning Analysis of Recording Elements
          1. Identifying Emotion and Affects
          2. Talking About Tracks
        5. Beginning Stages for Analyzing Recording Elements
          1. Structure and Form
          2. Timelines for Recording Elements
          3. The Context of the Timbre of the Track
      3. Analyzing and Describing Timbres
        1. Evaluating the Timbre of an Individual Sound
        2. Evaluating the Timbre of an Instrument Sound Source
        3. Evaluating Timbre and the Voice: Vocal Timbre, Lyrics and Performance
          1. Context
          2. Content: Voice Timbre
          3. Content: Timbre of Lyrics
          4. Performance
          5. Character
      4. Timbral Balance and Pitch Density
      5. Analyzing Loudness of the Track and of Sound Sources
        1. Program Dynamic Contour, Track Loudness Contour
          1. Tracks with Compressed, Minimal Program Dynamic Contour
        2. Loudness Levels, Loudness Relationships and Performance Intensity
          1. Loudness and Performance Intensity as Insight into the Mix
          2. Conflicting Impressions Between Loudness and Timbre of Performance Intensity
          3. Performance Intensity and Distance Position: A Different Reading of the Same Perception
      6. Analysis of Spatial Elements
        1. Distance Position
          1. Structural and Dramatic Use of Distance Positioning
          2. Interplay of Distance Position and Performance Intensity
          3. Distance Positions Within a Texture
          4. Distance Positioning of Lead Vocal Providing Shape to an Entire Album
        2. Stereo Location
          1. Image Widths and Positioning
        3. Interactions and Interrelations of Stereo Location and Timbral Balance
          1. Confluence and Recording Elements
        4. Analyzing the Sound Stage
          1. Sound Stage Boundaries
          2. Individual Sound Source Characteristics and Basic-Level Relationships
        5. Sound Stage and Lyrics
        6. Host Environments, Holistic Environment and Space Within Space
          1. Host Environments
          2. Space Within Space
          3. Holistic Environment
        7. Spatial Identity
      7. Recording Elements and the Timbre of the Track
        1. Timbre of the Track
      8. Concluding Remarks: Listening in the First Person
  14. Appendix A: Praxis Studies
  15. Bibliography
  16. Discography
  17. Acknowledgements
  18. Index