Presentation on theme: "The Influence of Technology on Popular Music A huge and complex subject - but well covered in the literature e.g.Shuker chp.3 Raises economic issues Raises."— Presentation transcript:
The Influence of Technology on Popular Music A huge and complex subject - but well covered in the literature e.g.Shuker chp.3 Raises economic issues Raises creative issues Touches on developments in recording technology, formats and modes of dissemination
Phonograph (wax) to Shellac (78s) to Vinyl (45s and 33s) Crucial part played by the 45 vinyl single in the 50s 70s album sales increasingly important 80s 12 inch singles and cd singles introduced as the importance of the single declines Formats
Recording Phonograph Electronic mics - 1920s Electro-magnetic tape - commercially available from the late 40s Stereo sound developed from cinema first available with tape in the 50s - by 60s home stereo record players become available - records increasingly in stereo
Cassettes and CDs 70s saw compact cassettes widely available for home taping - particularly of radio - in- car radio/cassette players and hifidelity home stereos now easily affordable. Dolby enhanced appeal By end of 80s cassettes outselling other formats three to one Digital age and CDs from 1982. CD-Roms by 1990s. MP3s and Internet late by 1990s
Recording The sound engineer/mixer `represents the point where music and technology meet sound mixers initially technicians now artists 70s and 80s opened up the creative possibilities of new technology and the musician/sound engineer/mixer could be one
Consumer Playback Gramophone, Radio, Reel to reel, Stereo hifi, in-car sound systems, compact cassette and radio, walkman, Ghetto-blaster (boom boxes), CD players, portable digital recorders, mini-disc players, home computers - all have influenced the industry in various ways.
Multitracking Les Paul and the 2-track recording. Tape Delay. Close mic-ing Late 50s slapback delay - Sam Philips Over-dubs - e.g.- Good Vibrations 2-track to 8-track - Sargeant Pepper and Pet Sounds 32-tracks and more
Electric Guitar Grows out of hawaiian guitar by Leo Feder 1936 Acoustic guitars with amplifiers in the 1940s - Charlie Christian a pioneer Les Paul and `the log. The Les Paul Gibson 1948 Fender Broadcaster and 1954 Stratocaster - humbucking pickups
Guitar distortions Distortion as loudness - You really got me, Satisfaction, Keep on Running - the energy for rock Appears to be loud although it is not necessarily so. Add-ons - Fuzz-boxes, Pedals, Midi etc Use of feed back and turning up the volume
Synths Analogue (subtractive) synths from the mid- 50s Commercially available from late 60s - Here Comes the Sun - switched on Bach (Moog IIIc) 1970s affordable but still monophonic
Polyphonic Synths Opened up many new possibilities Kraftwerk (Autobahm first all-pop hit) Other forms of synths mid 80s then - MIDI - digital revolution 90s manufacturers trying to use digital technology to emulate classic early synths
Other Instruments Hammond Organ (Doors) Fender Rhodes Theremin Mellotron (precursor to the Fairlight) - Strawberry Fields and Stairway to Heaven
Sampling The Australian produced Fairlight - £50,000 but could do it all and was an instrument that could be played Buggles - Video killed the radio star - Trevor Horn/Art of Noise Sampler allowed non-instrument sounds to be used musically - Kate Bush - Baboushka. Sampling could do away with live musicians
Sequencing and more Sequencing, sampling and multi-tracking together on Michael Jacksons Triller (1984) All digital recording (DDD) Dire Straits Brothers in Arms 1985 Cut and Paste audio/sampling Fatboy Slims Praise and Paul Hardcastles Nineteen
Economics of Technology It gets cheaper. Early Moogs £10,000 now £200 Early 60s multi-tracks could only be done by pro studios - all all digital 8-track costs around £400 with effects. Its possible to but all the tech to do Sargeant Pepper for less that £1000
Musical Marxism Means of production in the hands of the people - but now they seldom have the skills to use it! Previous generations would have filtered out poor musicians/singers and amateur music would never have got to the public - now they can
Talent? Anyone can make a CD-quality 16-bit digital recording - there is no talent filter but the listeners ear. Also technology can correct anything! Musicians/singers do not need to be trained - is this good or bad?
Creative Questions Push the technology as far as its limitations - and the music changes to accommodate it. E.g. drum loops of late 80s based on the short loops that computer memories could handle Monophonic synths create the dark sparse single note sounds of early synth artists
New ways of making music Using technologys strengths to inspire new developments Machine-like timbre of analogue synths developed into experimental pop that was deliberated mechanical - Tangerine Dream Software sequencers encouraged coping chunks of music - repetitive dance music where special effects had to maintain the interest - filters, etc
Pitch-Quantising and Bedroom Passions Bringing the voice up or down to the nearest semitone - led to special effects on voices- pitch quantising on Chers Believe Bedroom recordings - CD quality but with home-made charm. `Your Woman by White Town was recorded on a bedreeom 8- track by Jyoti Mishra and debuted at no.1 in 1997 UK charts. Mobys `Play went platinum
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