Playing tape: creative record production approaches of contemporary singer-songwriters
LE3 .A278 2020
Bachelor of Arts
The advent of recording technology has had a drastic yet often unseen influence on music in all its forms. It has changed the way musicians compose, perform, and listen, and has influenced how the world at large perceives and consumes music. However, musicians in turn have exerted influence over the medium itself, manipulating the various editing and enhancing functions of the record production process to create new musical material. This mutually influential relationship between the musician and record production has evolved with each new advancement in audio recording technology, and is becoming increasingly accessible with the development of affordable digital recording devices and software. As a result, more musicians are exploring creative production methods and incorporating them into their music. In some cases, songwriters and composers are using the production process to bring new depth and meaning to their works by reflecting those ideas in the music recordings themselves. This thesis explores this phenomenon through a combined approach of research and auditory analysis. Firstly, it establishes a basis for the claim that music production is itself a creative field alongside music composition through research on the process of music recording. Secondly, it examines three case studies each consisting of an album by a contemporary singer-songwriter: The Bearer of Bad News by Andy Shauf; 22, A Million by Bon Iver; and Introduce Yerself by Gord Downie. Each case study consists of an overview of the artist’s career and general style established through research, followed by an in-depth analysis of select tracks from each album that showcase creative production technique, and an argument based on the production of the entire album.
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