Friday, 25 December 2015


as used in the contemporary recording & music production studios

In this article, the focus is on certain words that are basically used in the contemporary audio recording/music production studio. The words are not scholarly defined from the view point of a musicologist. Instead, they are locally explained in accordance with the way they are used in the contemporary music studios.
In the music studios, there is a greater percentage of the non musicologists in attendance, hence, the musical language of the music scholars doesn't seem to make much impact in their communication. Alternatively, altered version of such a language has emerged for the music scholars and the non music scholars to aid their communication in production.
Therefore, the altered version, invariably has some alteration especially in their meanings (when a music scholar mentions a word, the non music scholar may understand it differently, hence a new meaning of the word is formed).

weight: this refers to how bold, deep and heavy that any given sound feels. It tends to describe audio power as per balanced frequency material with partially squashed and smeared wave form.

beat: Beat here refers to the instrumental part of a song (unvoiced musical sound track) Hence, you may hear someone say "I made this beat myself". It may not be necessarily limited to percussive instrumental part alone.

attack: Vocal parts (esp homophonic) added to an already recorded line of vocal track to add more strength to it
2: to add attack.
3: It also retains it's other meaning; the time it take for a given sound unit to emerge from silence and attain the peak.
4 the force with which a vocal part pronounces any musical phrase.

punch this is the same as attack 1 & 2

pad: (1) a device that produces soft tone usually a MIDI device that has it's own internal tone generator. It is similar to a drum machine.

(2) to sing and record exactly the same part that has been recorded (that is a sort of double tracking) in order to add weight and effects to the vocal material. (this is similar to attack but while attack seeks to double some parts of the take, pad doubles the entire take)

pitching to transpose or to make sound shift from the original pitch. It is mostly used on individual notes to correct wrongly rendered pitches or in a phrase to achieve modulation. It's also used in parts to achieve harmony and effects.

demo a recorded sketch work of a musical composition. It can be referred to as a music compositional jot down. Whether instrumental, vocal or the combination of both.

master a musical track or album that has received final torch from the studio and it's ready for publishing.
This word also means to finalise a song and get it ready for publishing by making sure that all the necessary editing, processing, and corrections are made.

remix a different version of a completed or published work. It may only have a little change from the original version.

chorus: the refrain of a song is regarded as a chorus in the studio setting. Here, it is not necessarily the chorused part of a song. Instead, it is that part of a song that repeats often after some sort of variations. It means that in studios, even a solo voice can be regarded as a chorus once it sings the musical part known here as a chorus.

solo: solo here has two meanings
1 it refers to a part taken by a single performer. It also refers to the taking of a part by a single performer.
2 On the other hand, solo in a studio setting means verse. That is those other parts of a song outside the chorus.

verse those major parts of a song outside the chorus usually sung.

rap the vocal works consisting of spoken words that has certain rhythmical flow. These days, it may not necessarily be in a fast speed but it must be rhythmical. Though the rhythmical pattern could be indicated by the instrumental. The instrumental doesn't define the rhythmical pattern of the accompanying rap. Hence, raps can be independent of it's accompanying instrumental part.

producer: the person who directs the musical production processes. He may not only do the work of a music director in the studio but also crowns it with that of an audio engineer.

DJ the producer in a minor scale production where the instrumentals are majorly computer generated (sometimes with the help of MIDI keyboard and especially in hip hop or rap music). The producer here, with his computer and studio equipments, forms the entire instrumentalists.
(2) the original meaning of the word DJ (disk jockey) is still in the pipeline but the other one is speedily taking over in the studio arena.

(1) to balance the frequency of an audio material so that it sounds sharp without being hash.
(2)In the modern studio as it pertains to the communication between both the audio engineer and the novice artists, filter has come to mean not only the frequency based processes but also all the edits that a song or an audio material undergoes to sound perfect and sharp.

a ccapella vocal music without instrumental accompaniment.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015


This article is basically for those who have not been in the studio but aspire to. That being said, some others besides the novice may still gain some useful insight from this. So, you're encouraged to read on. In this article, I'm here to help out by providing some of the necessary pieces of information just to help you in making out the best that you can as you make your first trip to a recording studio for your musical track recording.
In the music recording studio, you have your music producer, the audio engineer, and the session men which may include the hired instrumentalists and vocalists depending on the very production that you are into. You may still come around with some dudes to contribute their own inputs into your new songs. All these sum up to a number of head counts, whose time value may be considered more precious than just yours alone. To waste this moment then means more than wasting just the duration of the studio session instead, that of the studio multiplied by the number of people in there for the recording. To help maximize your time utility in the studio, here are some tips.

Have a basic knowledge of music

By basic knowledge about music, I don't mean that you should enroll in a music school for definitions and rudiments of music. But if you have a lot of time at your disposal, with no other commitment, going for such is not bad but it's not encouraged as a requirement for a successful studio session. On the other hand, if singing is your profession and you hope to take it higher, such enrollment is a nice option but that is not the purpose of this write up.
Most of the things needed are natural instincts and they are readily available to those that really understand music. The extent to which it can be interpreted and expressed is what makes a good music. An understanding of rhythm will not only help to save you time in the studio but also helps you get the best out of your song.

Rhythm is an element of music that sees to the actual synchronization of both the instrumental arrangements and the vocal renditions in time-based patterns that define your song. Understand this and you will be able to flow in line with your song even when, in your song, the producer changes the pattern which you may have practiced with (for better output).

Pitch is another necessity. This deals with the frequency at which a unit of sound vibrates or the height or depth of a given sound unit. When you understand pitches as they relate to songs, you stand a better chance of improving your song. Your producer invariably directs you on how to render your song but if you are not pitch conscious, you may find it difficult to get what he wants in that regard and he'll lose patience. This in turn may limit your outcome.

Pitch having been discussed, another is harmony. This is no other thing rather than the togetherness of sounds that occur at the same time. The knowledge of harmony helps you to colour your songs properly but without that, you may end up rendering the melodic line of your song in another key when there is need for harmony. It then makes a mess of your song.

Melody can not be left out. Melody seems to have been the first thing to consider but then it is taken for granted that any person that sings has the melodic understanding of songs. Good sense of melody will not only help you make a good composition but above all, it will inspire your producer and induce others to contribute positively to your music. It's therefore beneficial to develop thorough melodic sense before going for recording.

There are a lot that a singer should consider like musical expressions using ornaments that help to convey moods, but for the purpose of this write up, I won't be going further.

Get prepared before going to studio for the session

Studio recording session is not actually a time to compose and arrange your songs rather, a time to render what had been composed, arranged and thoroughly rehearsed over time. Doing the composition right in the recording session will not only waste your time, but it may also make your composition less than ideal as you rush it. It doesn't provide you with relaxed mind set for composition. You won't like to go back from the studio without a copy of your recorded material either on CD or mp3. As such, you may rush the composition so as to make the recording (for which you are there) and probably go with a copy even when it's not yet properly mixed.

Know exactly how the studio operates (different studios operate differently)

While making the choice of which studio to spend your session in, it is very important to find out exactly how that your prospective studio operates. You may have asked around. You may have also formed certain inclination over how a studio should operate based on the answers you got. But then, remember that every studio must not do what you expect. Besides, there's no general constitution that defines how each business unit must run. There are different standards to which each company and or business outfit tries to maintain.
You may enquire about their strictness to time, as it regards the session duration. While some studios run session booking, others prefer contract-based operation and some still combine the two. It then comes down to the choice of the client. While some studios may offer to work on your song after you are gone (outside the session paid for), I bet you, other studios will be very strict and won't even allow you to burn out a disk outside your paid session.
The knowledge of how the studio operates will eventually help you to achieve the best in your recording. Take for instance that one of your new songs is required to go on air by 10 AM tomorrow and you are in the studio this day to make the song. To maximize your time utility, you decide to record two songs within the session bearing in mind that the studio will edit the work and get it ready while you are at home. You can then come back and pick it up around 8.AM for submission. At the end of the session, you find out that you've eventually succeeded in recording two songs but they are not yet mixed. You ask the producer to get it ready, that you'll like to collect it around 8AM next day. He then replies that your session is over and can't just work on your song outside your paid session. There's no other budget for further spending on this recording. You might have spent first half of the session to record the very song needed on air and left the second half of the session for the producer with the audio engineer to get your work ready. You now lose the airing opportunity because of lack of understanding of the studio's mode of operation. Plan your self especially with enough information and you make out the best for yourself.

Choose the right people to work with

Studio is a unit, set of producers is another unit and audio engineers yet another. The studio's mode of operation, to an extent, determines how your work may be handled but you can make a better choice if you are informed. In a typical commercial studio, there may be different producers with varying levels of production skills. Some may as well be equiped with audio engineering skills. Some may be better at certain types of music than other types of music. Some may as well have some genres of interest. Understanding the diversity of options you have can help you to make a better choice. If you care, it is a good practice to make inquiries about the producer who can give you a better service. Once you get one, either you contract the producer or you contract the studio with the agreement that your song will be handled by the said producer. A producer that has passion for your type of music, with higher level of production and audio engineering skills may (if not certainly) help you get a better output. Contracting the studio without defining who handles the job on the other hand gives the studio the right to choose a producer for you and the studio may not choose the right one for you. You may not like a situation where the studio assigns a novice producer to handle your work but this is possible if you allow the studio to make the choice for you.

Be ready to pay the price

Having been preparing for your studio session, it is the time to consider the studio budget to make for the success of your recording session but I must state it clearly here; to a great extent, the price you pay, determines what you get. A high end studio session price won't be the same with that of the mid-range studio. A studio may pride herself on the amount of gears and equipments available in there, as well as the studio's acoustic treatments. The studio's location and environment still add to her worth. Her connections (links to celebrities and big names of the industries both artists and producers) and fame cannot be left out. All these, and many more, add up to define the expected output as well as the session price of the studio.
Still talking about price, remember that studio is a workshop for your recording task while the producer and the audio engineer are the workers to do your work. Even with a high end studio, an inexperienced producer or novice audio engineer may make a mess of your song. But I bet you; the novice will ever place a smile on your face when it come to price.
Never make the mistake of asking a pro to reduce his price without inquiring from him whether the price is fixed or not. Here is why; when a pro tells you his (fixed) price, you price down, (being in the need of that your money,) he accepts the new price tag and attaches value to it (a value which is less than his ideal value). He'll render his service in accordance to the value attached to the new price tag which is ever less than his ideal service. He won't tell you this because he really needs that your money, and he won't like the work not to hold. While doing your work, I bet you, he'll certainly leave some stones unturned with a mindset that goes thus "why should I even disturb myself when he/she didn't pay what he/she's supposed to pay? Mehn! I won't overwork myself"
Moreover, if the price is not fixed, you may then bargain but
please don't over do. This is to avoid that same kind of problem.
Having said that, if you don't have enough money, there are still some less experienced producers who may give you a nice service with excellent output at a lower price range. All you've got to do is make enquiries. Be informed.

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