Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rough to the board: Creating performance in American recording studios
by Krieger, Janet Meryl, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2009, 236; 3390320
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the dynamics between performers in the process of creating popular music recordings as they emerge in recording studios, using the synergy created by the blending of two approaches: the traditional model, followed by major labels and larger independent labels, and the do-it-yourself (DIY) model, followed by individual performers and smaller independent labels. Taking a participant-observational approach in fieldwork done from 2002 to 2006, this project presents two case studies that focus on two women singer-songwriters, who differ by age, region, and ethnicity. The case studies chronicle these women’s first recorded CD projects as they composed, rehearsed, performed, and recorded in two mid-sized professional studios in Bloomington, Indiana. The two models, traditional and DIY, intersect in the recording studio, creating a synergy that allows performers to realize their artistic ideals on a recorded CD. The intersection of these two models in the recording studio has not to date ever been taken as a framework for the ethnographic study of popular music production.

The dissertation roughly divides into two sections. The first lays out the theoretical and ethnographic frame, situating the data within several fields: ethnomusicology and musicology, new media research, performance studies, and gender scholarship. The second section examines specific recording sessions and interviews to highlight issues raised by the intersection of traditional and DIY modes of music production. It then examines the issues themselves, framing them within the larger concerns of gender, age and race; power dynamics, authority, and the role of expertise; technology and its mediation; and the negotiating role of humor. It then explores how the role of genre reframes during postproduction the music produced in recording sessions, particularly when performers begin touring to market their recordings.

Methodology for data collection included observation of a range of recording sessions, from initial rough tracks through final mixes, and observation of performances preceding and separating recording sessions. Formal and informal interviews were conducted with the principals, their recording engineer-producers, and most of their bandmates.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Maultsby, Portia K.
Commitee: Bauman, Richard, Stone, Ruth M., Sykes, Charles
School: Indiana University
Department: Folklore and Ethnomusicology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: American studies, Cultural anthropology, Music
Keywords: Ethnomusicology, Music and gender, Music and technology, Performance studies, Popular music, Recording studios
Publication Number: 3390320
ISBN: 978-1-109-58720-3
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