Cover image for The art of recording : understanding and crafting the mix
The art of recording : understanding and crafting the mix
Moylan, William.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amsterdam ; Boston : Focal Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 336 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TK7881.4 .M69 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Art of Recording articulates and explores the ways recorded sound is different from live sound, and how those differences can enhance music, including surround sound. It presents a system for developing the critical and analytical listening skills necessary to recognize and understand these sound characteristics--the same skills necessary to create quality recordings-- and for talking about or describing sound. The Art of Recording also considers audio recording as a creative process. The reader will learn to guide the artistry of music recording from its beginning as an idea, through its development during the many stages of the recording sequence, to its final form. Take a new and detailed look at many of the greatest recordings of The Beatles, offering insights into how the recording process shaped their music, and how you can gain control over the craft of making great recordings.

Author Notes

Dr. William Moylan is currently Chairperson of the Department of Music and Coordinator of Sound Recording Technology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell

Table of Contents

Rupert Neve
List of Exercisesp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Introductionp. xx
Part 1 Understanding Sound and the Aesthetic Qualities of Audio Recordings
Chapter 1 The Elements of Sound and Audio Recordingp. 3
The States of Soundp. 3
Physical Dimensions of Soundp. 5
Perceived Parameters of Soundp. 15
Summaryp. 33
Chapter 2 The Aesthetic and Artistic Elements of Sound in Audio Recordingsp. 35
The States of Sound and the Aesthetic/Artistic Elementsp. 36
Pitch Levels and Relationshipsp. 37
Dynamic Levels and Relationshipsp. 41
Rhythmic Patterns and Rates of Activitiesp. 44
Sound Sources and Sound Qualityp. 45
Spatial Properties: Stereo and Surround Soundp. 48
Conclusionp. 58
Exercisesp. 59
Chapter 3 The Musical Message and the Listenerp. 61
The Musical Messagep. 61
Musical Form and Structurep. 63
Musical Materialsp. 65
The Relationships of Artistic Elements and Musical Materialsp. 66
Equivalence and the Expression of Musical Ideasp. 68
Text as Song Lyricsp. 70
The Listenerp. 74
Conclusionp. 80
Exercisesp. 81
Part 2 Developing Listening and Sound Evaluation Skills
Chapter 4 Listening and Evaluating Sound for the Audio Professionalp. 85
Why Audio Professionals Need to Evaluate Soundp. 86
Talking About Soundp. 87
The Listening Processp. 89
Personal Development for Listening and Sound Evaluationp. 95
Summaryp. 98
Exercisesp. 99
Chapter 5 A System for Evaluating Soundp. 101
System Overviewp. 101
Sound Evaluation Sequencep. 104
Graphing the States and Activity of Sound Componentsp. 107
Plotting Sources Against a Time Linep. 113
Summaryp. 115
Exercisesp. 116
Chapter 6 Evaluating Pitch in Audio and Music Recordingsp. 119
Analytical Systemsp. 120
Realizing a Sense of Pitchp. 120
Recognizing Pitch Levelsp. 121
Pitch Area and Frequency Band Recognitionp. 124
Melodic Contourp. 129
Exercisesp. 132
Chapter 7 Evaluating Loudness in Audio and Music Recordingsp. 137
Reference Levels and the Hierarchy of Dynamicsp. 138
Program Dynamic Contourp. 145
Musical Balancep. 147
Performance Intensity versus Musical Balancep. 149
Exercisesp. 150
Chapter 8 Evaluating Sound Qualityp. 157
Sound Quality in Critical Listening and Analytical Listening Contextsp. 158
Sound Quality and Perspectivep. 159
Evaluating the Characteristics of Sound Quality and Timbrep. 161
Summaryp. 168
Exercisesp. 171
Chapter 9 Evaluating the Spatial Elements of Reproduced Soundp. 173
Understanding Space as an Artistic Elementp. 174
Stereo Sound Locationp. 181
Distance Localizationp. 184
Environmental Characteristicsp. 191
Space Within Spacep. 200
Surround Soundp. 202
Exercisesp. 210
Chapter 10 Complete Evaluations and Understanding Observationsp. 221
The Overall Texturep. 221
Relationships of the Individual Sound Sources and the Overall Texturep. 227
The Complete Evaluationp. 234
Summaryp. 238
Exercisesp. 239
Part 3 Shaping Music and Sound, and Controlling the Recording Process
Chapter 11 Bringing Artistic Judgment to the Recording Processp. 243
Part 3 Overviewp. 243
The Signal Chainp. 244
Guiding the Creation of Musicp. 246
Summaryp. 247
Chapter 12 The Aesthetics of Recording Productionp. 249
The Artistic Roles of the Recordistp. 250
The Recording and Reality: Shaping the Recording Aestheticp. 251
The Recording Aesthetic in Relation to the Performance Eventp. 254
Altered Realities of Music Performancep. 258
Summaryp. 261
Chapter 13 Preliminary Stages: Defining the Materials of the Projectp. 263
Sound Sources as Artistic Resources and the Choice of Timbresp. 264
Microphones: The Aesthetic Decisions of Capturing Timbresp. 267
Equipment Selection: Application of Inherent Sound Qualityp. 280
Monitoring: The Sound Quality of Playbackp. 283
Summaryp. 290
Chapter 14 Capturing, Shaping, and Creating the Performancep. 291
Recording and Tracking Sessions: Shifting of Focus and Perspectivesp. 292
Signal Processing: Shifting of Perspective to Reshape Sounds and Musicp. 296
The Mix: Performing the Recordingp. 298
Summaryp. 306
Chapter 15 The Final Artistic Processes and an Overview of Music Production Sequencesp. 307
An Overview of Two Sequences for Creating a Music Recordingp. 307
Editing: Rearranging and Suspending Timep. 312
Mastering: The Final Artistic Decisionsp. 317
The Listener's Alterations to the Recordingp. 319
Concluding Remarksp. 320
Bibliographyp. 321
Discographyp. 329
Indexp. 331