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Understanding Records: A Field Guide To Recording Practice [Paperback]

Jay Hodgson

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Book Description

Aug. 19 2010

Recording Practice is musical practice, a technical but artistic affair. Understanding Records explains the musical language of Recording Practice in a way that any interested reader can understand. Drawing on readily available hit records produced since 1945, each section of this book explains a handful of core production and engineering techniques in chronological record-making sequence, elucidating how those techniques work, what they sound like, how they function musically, where listeners can hear those techniques at work in the broader Top 40 soundscape, and where they fit in the broader record-making process at large.

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Product Description


"A lucid digest of the vast technical literature that documents the past fifty-odd years of sound recording practices. Hodgson explains how equipment choices and processing techniques relate to the musical goals and meanings they serve, illuminating for popular music studies the arcane complexities of how records are crafted." - Robert Walser, Case Western Reserve University

About the Author

Jay Hodgson currently teaches popular music practice and history, and the 'project' paradigm of production and engineering, at the University of Western Ontario, as part of North America's first (and only) Bachelor of Arts in Popular Music Studies and Master of Arts in Popular Music &Culture programs. He received the Governor General's Gold Medal at the University of Alberta in 2006, partially in recognition of his research on recording practice.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Oct. 31 2012
By Keith D. Spicknell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For people who are interested in music recording, but are not experts at it, this is an excellent guide. (It would be a good refresher for those who have spent time in professional or home studios, too.) Before reading this book, I didn't appreciate how complex it is to make a great recording. The audio examples on Hodgson's website are instructive; the albums and songs he references are ones I actually like, such as Radiohead's, The Beatles', and David Bowie's "Heroes".

I want to read the book a second time (at least) and try more things based on what I learned from it. (It's lucky that Hodgson uses Logic software in his examples, because that's what I have.) The recommended reading and bibliography sections contain great tips for digging further into the art of recording practice (I read a bunch of stuff on Sound On Sound's website after getting to the end of this book). This text is a great leaping-off point for learning all about recording, mixing, mastering and so on, but it's also just a great tool for better appreciating what one hears in different recorded songs. I loved reading about the recording of "Heroes" and learning to pick out the distortion pedal triggering in "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".

This title by Jay Hodgson is an excellent treatise, and it even helps me hold my own in conversations with people who have lots of experience and degrees in audio engineering. This could be the only book you need to satisfy an interest in learning about recording practice, or it could be the beginning of a life of learning and becoming involved in the process yourself!

P.S. Recommended even more if you, like me, enjoy the 33 1/3 series of books (which I believe are from the same publisher).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty on-par with what is expected of sound recording books June 7 2013
By Peter "Lone Wolf" Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While I already had a good feel for sound tool utilization in various recording programs, this book made me feel like I was handling this information at a more professional music level. Definitely recommend to other music artists out there.

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