The Art and Science of Sound Recording – The Book

More than simply the book of the award-winning DVD set,  Art & Science of Sound Recording, the Book takes legendary engineer, producer, and artist Alan Parsons’ approaches to sound recording to the next level. In book form, Parsons has the space to include more technical background information, more detailed diagrams, plus a complete set of course notes on each of the 24 topics, from “The Brief History of Recording” to the now-classic “Dealing with Disasters.” Get a taste for what Parsons is all about in the excerpt below!

Hello there!
 Is this hello for the very first time, or have you got the video series as well? If the former, we also produced a video series entitled Alan Parsons’ Art & Science of Sound Recording, and this book is both based upon and an extension of territory we covered in the videos. We hope you will find one to be a good companion to the other. Alan Parsons’ Art & 00333735Science of Sound Recording—The Book is a complete rewrite and reappraisal of the original video version. Because it is a book and not an audio-visual experience, we’ve been able to examine all of the topics in greater detail. With the videos we strove to keep you visually and aurally entertained. Now, you can be reading this at home, or in a busy Starbucks, or on a plane . . . you can read one page at a sitting, or one chapter, or just dive in here and there using the index or the glossary. Ingest the words, look at the pictures and diagrams, and if something is not clear first time around, well, read it again. It’ll make sense eventually; promise.
 The great thing about a book is that you can go at your own pace. Plus it’s the ultimate in nonlinear formatting. You can flip from here to page 145 in less than a heartbeat. Eat your heart out, modern media! (Readers of the ebook version possibly have the best of all worlds, of course.)

For the book, we have kept the same basic tone as the video. We hope it is both intriguing for the new- comer to recording and interesting to the seasoned professional. We’ve dug a little deeper into all aspects of recording technology. Chapter 1, “A Brief History of Recording,” may still be a relatively brief version, but it’s now not quite so “on a pinhead.”

A question that often cropped up on the video series was, “How do I use the videos? What order should I view them in?” Sensing potential for the same line of enquiry here, here’s what we recommend you do.

This book does have a logical flow of chapters. First we look at how sound is created and how it behaves, before moving onto the different sources, components, and equipment involved in making and reproducing sound recordings. With these pieces of the puzzle in play, we then look at all the processes involved in manipulating sound recordings, such as EQ, reverbs, delays, compression, and so on. Then we look at how the various types of sound sources respond to the various processes and how they are best applied for particular sonic needs.

The rubber truly hits the road when human beings are tossed into the mix and we actually have to record real live musicians sitting there right in front of us. We look at drummers, guitarists, bass players, singers, choirs, keyboard players . . . all of whom can have very different mindsets, roles, temperaments, and functionalities.

Finally, even though the word “mix” is now more of a formality than the “performance” process it used to be in the days of analog technology, the mix is still the point where decisions and choices have to be made. And that, in itself, is an art and a science.

So if you can, read this book from here . . . right through to the end—at least once.

Learning anything—especially something as nuanced as sound recording—is a journey, and that journey is half the fun. You can fly from Paris to Istanbul, or you could take in the delights of Lausanne, Milan, Venice, Belgrade, and Sofia along the way by traveling on the Orient Express—same destination, but a very different experience.

As with the Orient Express, a top-to-toe read of this book will introduce you to topics you may not fully appreciate the first time around. But you can always come back to Venice and look at its sights and virtues. Although we will try not to dazzle you with clever-sounding words and concepts, important messages can be missed if you speed by too quickly.

Finally, a great debt of gratitude is owed to the many engineers, producers, and artists we interviewed for the video series, whose words of wisdom are included here. Music is so often best when it’s a team sport, and although there are actually some incontrovertibly bad ideas (e.g., don’t try recording a kick drum with a ribbon mic), sound recording is definitely NOT a place for closed minds.

Experimentation—within some context of tried and tested sound practices—should always be on the menu.

You’re in good company. So enjoy your journey.

Q & A with Bobby Borg

Bobby Borg recently met with Tom Lohrmann of Tom Lohrmann Music, a  musician, writer and marketing consultant from Washington DC. Here, Bobby answers some key questions about his brand new book from Hal Leonard, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician. Click here for the rest of the interview!

00124611Tell us about Music Marketing For the DIY Musician. Where is the book available?

“Thanks for asking, I’m really proud of the new book. It took years to write it. Essentially, the book is a step-by-step guide to producing a fully integrated, customized, low-budget plan of attack for artists marketing their own music. The goal is to help artists take control of their own destinies, save money and time, and eventually draw the full attention of top music industry professionals. It’s ultimately about making music that matters and gets heard! Right now Music Marketing For The DIY Musician is available at Hal Leonard’s website under “Trade Books”. Eventually it will be on Amazon in both physical and digital form and on my website. ”

How is Music Marketing For The DIY Musician different from other industry books?

“The biggest difference is that it is written specifically for DIY musicians by a musician with DIY, indie, and major label success, making it a more credible, focused, practical, and relatable resource for artists. It also covers the complete marketing process—from vision through execution—with handy templates and samples in each chapter to help artists create fully-customized marketing plans. Finally, it introduces sophisticated business and research tools (SWOT, SMART, AIDA, and PFB Charts) not found in most music marketing books, enabling artists to choose confidently and even scientifically the right strategies for their own career path.”

Could you provide one crucial tip from the book?

“Do not create music in a vacuum with the intention of just throwing it out there and hoping for success. Hope is not a strategy! Instead, have a clear sense of what you stand for, while also trying to uncover where the world is going. Look for ways where you can be unique and do something that has never been done before. As hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, “The key to success is to skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.””

Hal Leonard and Groove3 Announce Strategic Partnership

Music Industry Leaders Team Up to Create and Deliver the Future of Online Tutorials

 

MONTCLAIR, N.J., and AUSTIN, Texas – Hal Leonard Books, a division of Hal Leonard Corporation, Milwaukee, the leading publisher of books and digital content on the music business, audio technology, and instrument history, and Groove3, the audio community’s best source for informative and effective online tutorials, announced today a long-term strategic partnership to develop and deliver authoritative content to the world.

This collaboration will transform Hal Leonard’s industry leading content, including series such as Music Pro Guides and Quick Pro Guides, using Groove3’s proven online video delivery system and subscription model, while expanding Groove3’s reach beyond the robust community the company has built over the last 10 years, addressing all aspects of the music-making process, including recording, production, engineering, mixing, songwriting, DAW guides and more.

“Groove3 has always had the end user’s best interest in mind and is dedicated to delivering the best tutorials about today’s audio tools and recording and production techniques. Now having the opportunity to partner with Hal Leonard and offer their first-class content along side ours, it’s a match made in heaven for all audio professionals and hobbyists alike around the world,” said Groove3 Vice President Antony Livoti.

“Groove3 is the most trusted and time-tested online quality resource for training videos for musicians, and bringing Hal Leonard’s reputable brands and content into their community will be a huge benefit to all musicians interested in learning online,” said John Cerullo, Group Publisher of Hal Leonard Books.

“Hal Leonard has been a pioneer in offering digital content to active music makers for decades, and the Groove3 partnership, along with our many other recent digital and web based initiatives, will allow us to continue to offer the best in music instruction for years to come,” added Hal Leonard Corporation President Larry Morton.

Groove3 currently offers more the 850 hours of top-notch online training. The new, exclusive content from Hal Leonard will include product by world-renowned recording, audio, and music experts from many fields, including the Hal Leonard Recording Method by Bill Gibson, the Bruce Swedien Recording Method, Rikki Rooksby’s series of books on songwriting, and much more. Additional courses and products will be announced and released in the coming weeks.

In addition, the partnership allows for the development and offering of customized online programs for traditional resellers, such as musical instrument dealers, and licensing programs to audio-trade outlets, secondary and higher educational institutions, and industry organizations.

 

 

The Future of the Music Business

In December, Hal Leonard Books will release the fourth edition of The Future of the Music Business by Steve Gordon, an invaluable guide on how to succeed in the ever-changing music industry. Here’s a look at what’s new in the fourth edition.

The Future of the Music Business

4th Edition

Similar to prior editions, the purpose of the fourth edition of the FUTURE OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS, which is scheduled to be published in December 2014, is to provide a roadmap for success in the music business – not only for musicians, songwriters and producers – but also for entrepreneurs and industry professionals. Technology has profoundly changed the recording industry and the music publishing business.  Entirely new rules, business practices and  models have emerged at breathtaking speed including in the several years since the publication of the third edition in 2008. The fourth edition explains the most recent rules,  business practices and models, and offers insights into how to take advantage of them.

Part I provides an overview of the basic rules and business practices that apply to the record and music publishing business today. We discuss how copyright law protects  songs and recordings, standard contracts including management, label and producer deals and the most recent rules and business practices that apply to the new means of distributing music, that is, downloading, streaming and webcasting, and how those rules differ in foreign countries.

Part II is intended for producers of audiovisual works such as films, documentaries, and television. This section includes information on audio-only projects such as compilations and music sampling, special projects such as musical theatre and fashion shows, and stand-alone digital projects such as web series and digital sheet music. The emphasis is on how producers seeking music for their projects can save money.

Part III offers a history of the recording industry’s struggle to come to grips with the digital era,  analyzes the current state of music piracy, explores various current  controversies, and provides some hope for the recovery of the record business.

Part IV provides a “how to” in the digital age on topics ranging from ranging from how to write hit songs in the digital era to using digital tools such as YouTube to succeed to how to use a music education to succeed as a creator or music business professional.

DVD and two free CLE credits: Attorneys will be able to obtain two free CLE credits by viewing the DVD included in the 4th edition. The DVD contains a conversation between myself and Bob Clarida, a leading copyright litigation lawyer and adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, about Robin Thicke’s copyright infringement case involving his monster hit “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s song “Got to Give It Up.”
00123126

LISTEN: Bobby Owsinski and the Flo Guitar Enthusiasts

Jeff and Scott of the Flo Guitar Enthusiasts brought on Bobby Owsinski to talk about his latest book, Music 4.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age. The guys discuss innovations in the music industry, the evolution of record labels, and give away copies of the book to two lucky winners!

00122318>>LISTEN HERE<<

Featuring the latest music business and social media concepts as well as brand-new interviews with a variety of the industry’s top movers and shakers, Music 4.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age is a completely updated version of the previous best-selling editions!

How has streaming music impacted the artist and the industry? Who are the new industry players? Why do traditional record labels, television, and radio have increasingly less influence in an artist’s success? How should music be marketed and distributed in this new world? How do you make money when listeners stream your music? What’s the best way to develop your brand? How are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube best used as marketing tools? What are the new technologies being introduced that will influence how we sell and market our work? All these questions are answered in this updated version of Music 4.0, along with some new high- and low-tech tips for inexpensive marketing and promotion.

Tip Jar: Beat Songwriter’s Block

Beating Songwriter’s Block is specifically designed to address the devastating phenomenon that every songwriter faces at one time or another. This book helps the reader develop a songwriting schedule, set songwriting targets that make sense, and deal with debilitating fear. Check out an excerpt from Music ConnectioSong Block covern Magazine!

 

 

Improve Your Audio for Video!

As a musical exercise, nothing beats improvising. It doesn’t just improve your playing chops – it’s a great generator of songwriting ideas. While it’s often thought of as a group activity, there are ways to improvise on your own––just you and your instrumen––that can provide you with great material for your next song. Many of the ideas listed below come from Chapter 3 of Gary Ewer’s new book, Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music. The first five activities will help you create melodies, and the next five pertain to creating lyrics. Some involve singing, others will use guitar or keyboards. Most of them work as solo activities, but are fun to try with a fellow songwriter. Feel free to modify them to suit your purposes.


SOLO IDEAS

1. Play the following 4-chord turn-around: C F Dm G, or invent your own. Now… start singing––anything. Keep in mind that most good song melodies are comprised of repeating ideas, so try singing the same short fragment repeatedly as you change chords. The key to generating ideas is to keep things simple.

2. Detune your guitar to something other than the standard E-A-D-G-B-E. Move your B up to C, your G down to F#… that sort of thing. Now start improvising chords and melodic shapes as if you were playing a standard tuning. Why? The odd tuning will give you melodic and harmonic ideas you’d probably not have found otherwise. The best results happen when you detune your guitar randomly. Be prepared for weird sounds, but you’ll probably stumble on something that’ll get the creative juices flowing.

3. Dial up a short rhythmic/chord loop on your synthesizer and sing or play improvised melodies. Handing over part of the musical job to a synth frees you up to create ideas, both vocal and instrumental.

4. Sing a note that works. A song like Jack Johnson’s “Don’t Believe a Thing I Say,” or the verse of Maroon 5’s “One More Night” show us that melodies can do quite well sitting in and around one pitch. So give it a try: invent a short 3- or 4-chord progression (Am F G  C, for example). Play it several times to get it in your ear. Now, start by scat singing rhythmically on one note that works with the first chord. As much as possible, keep that note as you cycle through the chords. When a chord doesn’t support the note, switch to singing a note that works.

5. Create new melodies by borrowing from old ones. Take an old hit (“Hound Dog”, for example), and write down the all the notes used in that melody. (“Hound Dog” uses G-A-C-D-D#-E, listed from low to high.) Now put “Hound Dog” completely out of your mind and use that tone set to create an entirely new melody. As with our first idea, use lots of repeating patterns, but use only those six notes.

6. Choose a book from your bookshelf or from a blog or online news site. Open randomly to any page, or scroll to any random spot on a website, and point to the first word you see. With that word in your mind, point to a second word. Quickly invent a short line of lyric within five seconds that starts with your first chosen word and ends with the second one. Repeat. Example: You open a book and point to the word, “that,” and then you point to “more.” Possible lyric: “That is how I know I love you more.”

7. The best lyrics are not necessarily poems; they’re made of simple words whose main job is to stimulate the imagination of the listener. Take the following list of words and paraphrase them in as many different ways as you can that might work in a descriptive lyric. Work quickly. (The first one has been done to demonstrate.):
• Fog: The grey murkiness; through the misty haze; in the cloudy haze; the soup; etc.
• Happiness
• Anger
• Trust
• Held on
• Heartbroken

8. Lyrical clichés will kill a song faster than you can say Jack Robinson. (See what I did there?) “What goes around, comes around” is a cliché that’s not very interesting. But “What comes around is gone again” has potential. Or you might change “A friend in need is a friend indeed” to “A friend indeed, but what do I need?” Both of those examples turn the original expression around backwards, giving you something that’s a bit more creative. So for a fun improvising activity, Google “The Phrase Finder” website, have a songwriting partner read one of the sayings to a rhythmic beat, and try creating something spontaneously by reversing the order of some of the words. Another example: “Every cloud has a silver lining” might become “My silver lining turned a little cloudy.”

9. Bounce lyrical ideas off a songwriting partner. Sit facing each other, keep a beat by tapping your foot or dialing up a loop. Then one of you speaks out a line, and the other one has to immediately answer it with a line of their own. “I got you, and you got me”… “Anywhere I’m with you is where I wanna be…”

10. Try brainstorming titles. Work as quickly as you can. Don’t worry about clichés, just get a list of titles written that you can consider later. Some titles may just pop into your head with no story behind them at all: “That’s the Way To Do It.” Others may be a bit silly: “George is Going Crazy, and His World’s a Little Hazy.” Later, look through your list, strum a chord, and say the titles with a considerable amount of melodrama and vocal expression. See if melodic ideas pop into your mind.

The Pensado Awards

Last Saturday heralded the very first Pensado Awards show, a show designed to “acknowledge today’s emerging brand of music professionals.” Dave Pensado (a hugely recognized professional mixing engineer) and Herb Trawick, co-hosts of the popular youtube show Pensado’s Place created the event to “celebrate the uncelebrated”, or to acknowledge those in the music industry that go unthanked and unrecognized despite their skills. Nick Messite from Forbes wrote an impressive article about the event, which you can see an excerpt of below. Pensado and Trawick are also the authors of the upcoming publication, The Pensado Papers, coming from Hal Leonard this October. Read the rest of the article here!

How The Pensado Awards Leveled The Playing Field – And Spoke Truth To Power

Last Saturday night, in the ballroom of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, a few hundred people—some of them famous, others far more important than famous—gathered to acknowledge a truth in today’s music industry: the times, to misquote a modern day bard, have a-changed.

Yes, it’s a telling moment when Ron Fair (Chief Creative Officer/Executive Vice President Virgin Records/Capitol Music Group) steps to the podium and proudly proclaims, “This business belongs to the people who love it the most—to the kids not shackled by the old industry models.”

Such a statement—from such a key player—is a powerful validation to the as-of-yet nameless up-and-comers in the music industry; to employ a biblical simile, it’s tantamount to the lion lying down with the lamb.

The venue for this statement was the inaugural Pensado Awards, an event designed to put a public face on those who work behind the scenes in the music industry—men and women who toil in windowless caves for eighty hours a week, who make daily peace with the relative obscurity to which they’ve been relegated, who forego friends and family in favor of deadlines, tinnitus and carpal tunnel syndrome—and who do so, much of the time, to polish the products of pop superstars, many of them vapid and half-talented in nature (in my estimation; no mixing engineer has ever bashed his or her client to me, on or off the record).00120020

But unlike the vast majority of award shows, this ceremony wasn’t about honoring insipid quasi-talents. Instead, the Pensado Awards attempted to give a hand up to the people in this business without whom there would be no business at all: the songwriters, engineers, producers, educators, entrepreneurs, assistants, interns and runners of today and tomorrow (Kendrick Lamar might have been robbed of his Grammy, but he got his Pensado Award).