Recording and Music Terminology

Your Home Studio - a basic tutorial on home recording studio setup, including building a home recording studio, digital recording techniques, computer recording information, recording software information, how to buy equipment for a home recording studio and operating an audio recording studio at home

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      Here’s Part 4—One more after this


Monophonic—sound recorded using one microphone or input. After the sound is recorded, it can be placed in a stereo or  surround field by using the panning control. Also refers to synthesizers, though rarely used that can only produce one sound at a time. 
the method of recording where several tracks are recorded at once. Also involves the playback of multiple tracks while recording one or more tracks
Nearfield monitors–
monitors used in mixing and mastering that are designed so that the listener is very close to the speakers. This allows the mixing or mastering engineer to listen at a lower volume.
Non-linear Editing–
A method of editing audio only available since digital recording and producing have come into vogue. Basically it means that you can jump from one part of a track to another without having to let the track play through to the part you want to edit. Many editors and sequencers will preserve the original track and record the edits so that original source material remains untouched
a software applet included in most recording and sequencing programs that raises the volume of a whole segment or track so that the loudest part of the track is at 0db while the level of the rest of the track is raised accordingly.
– In classical music, it denoted a passage or melody that was to be played exactly as written. However, in more modern times, it has been used in exactly the opposite manner, meaning that a different arrangement could be substituted for what was originally written to fit different circumstances.
—Microphones, typically used when micing drum kits that are oriented about 3 feet or so above the cymbals. Can also be used to mic choirs, string sections or other acoustic ensembles. They are almost always used to produce a stereo image of what is being recorded
Pad –
This has two meanings—one in music production and the other in recording engineering. The first refers to a track which is usually a keyboard or string part that underlies the rhythm and lead parts to provide texture and fill in some if not all of the chordal structure of the song by playing extended chords and notes that extend from measure. It can also be vocal as well. In recording engineering, pad refers to a component of mixing boards and some microphones that allows the engineer to lower input volume in order to accommodate louder instruments.
The component on a mixing board or in the recording software that allows the user to locate the track in the stereo or surround field.
Patch bay –
a device used to reroute input and output signals and also to split the signals so that it can be sent to two different places.
Pedal Tone or Pedal Point –
typically a non chord tone played in the bass register that stays constant as the melody and other harmonics of the passage move against it. It is commonly used in introductions to songs and can be very useful to add tension
See my article on phase
A transducer that consists of magnetic poles pieces that are wound with many turns of copper or some other conductive wire. Also refers to pressure sensitive transducers such as piezo pickups used in acoustic guitars.
See my article
The section of the song that usually has repeated lyrics and musical arrangement. It states the main idea of the song
Response Curve—
The graph of a microphone or transducers response over the entire frequency spectrum.
a midi editing technique where the phrase selected is reversed from its original orientation
—Either natural or induced echoes and reflections intended to give a track (or tracks) the impression that they are in a particular space. Reverb is often used as an effect with one of the most notable practictioners being Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin.
Rhythm section–
Typically the drums and bass of a ensemble although rhythm guitar is sometimes included as well.
Ribbon Microphone–
A dynamic microphone that employs a thin sheet of aluminum stretched between two poles of a magnet. Early models were fragile but newer construction materials and techniques have improved their durability. Often noted for their exceptional high end detail.
Shout Section—
The section of the song where all the instruments build to a climax with each instrument playing within the key of the song but not necessarily in the same rhythm or of the same melody structure. Radiohead’s “Iron Lung” from “The Bends” and “We Suck Young Blood” from “Hail to the Thief” are prime examples in contemporary music.
Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers—Also denotes a timing standard used in recording music whereby different pieces of equipment can be synchronized.
—The section of a song where the lead instrument plays an improvised melody against the rhythm section. Also means to isolate a particular track or group of tracks so that only they can be heard.
Spectrum Analysis—
The real- representation of the frequency response of a particular track
the up or down strokes on musical notes other than whole notes. Generally used when more than one instrument is notated on one staff. The up stems are played by one instrument and the down stems by another.
A sound having the quality of being located in binaural space.

Continued next month