Aleia HollandsMrs. CorbettAP Literature09 April 2012 Have you ever listened to your favorite song and wondered what exactly went intomaking it? I can assure you that the making of a CD involves more than just a band playingmusic. An album includes more than just a few musicians, but an entire staff of record producers,editors, mixers, and technicians that all ensure the sound and quality of the music. For myproject, I decided to immerse myself in the job of a record producer and produce an album formyself. One of the most controversial issues in the recording industry is the infringement ofmusical copyrights set in place by the recording companies. Therefore, I addressed this issue formy research paper. Stealing music takes profit away from both the recording artist and therecording company. Royalties paid when a copyrighted song is downloaded or played directlycontribute to the income of the record producers. When records and songs are illegallydownloaded, the record companies’ employees get paid less. Thus copyright infringement iscausing a decrease in record sales, a decrease in record producers’ incomes, and an overalldecrease in jobs in the recording industry. Therefore, when I was recording my CD, I made surethat all of the songs were original. For one of the songs, the lyrics include some quotes from anursery rhyme. This involved some research, but ultimately the writer of the rhyme isquestionable and thus is not copyrighted to any person or company. For my product, I created a CD consisting of four songs that I recorded, mixed, andedited. I recorded a local alternative rock band named Anonymous.
Hollands 2I decided to do this because since I was young, I had decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian.However, if I could do anything with my life, I would want to be a part of creating music.Therefore, for my senior project I decided that I wanted to record music. It was a completely newconcept for me. In the past the only background I had in the technical side of sound was beingtaught to operate the soundboard for one of the school plays. Since my first experience with technical sound was in play, I met with Mr. Tamanini, theschool’s drama teacher. He is my official project facilitator. However, he told me that while heknew the soundboard, he did not know much about recording. He suggested I talk to one of hisformer students, Giovanni Laucella. I already knew him through my mother. She often organizesevents and Giovanni would work the live sound and lighting. One of the first steps in creating a CD of a band was taking the time to listen to the bandplay and talk to them about what kind of sound they wanted to achieve. Anonymous is a newlycreated band consisting of young boys and had never been recorded. From our meetings, Igathered that they were a simplistic rock band and so not many special effects were needed. Theband also used a harsher sound instead of a melodic sound, eliminating too much use of autotuning. The next thing that I did was meet with Giovanni Laucella, my project facilitator. Hetaught me some of the key features of the band’s soundboard that I would need to use and how toset up the band’s instruments and amps to the soundboard. I then used this knowledge to equalizeand mix the band while they played live. Once I felt comfortable with the live mixing, I met withGiovanni again to learn how to use some of the more simplistic recording software that isavailable. He taught me to use Logic Pro to record. However, I used the free version of thesoftware, which is also more user friendly for those who are new to recording. The software isknown as Garage Band and is often used by bands that make their own demos.
Hollands 3 Once I was ready to record, I talked to the lead singer of the band about when the bandcould meet. The band has a practice room set up with a Yamaha soundboard and their equipmentfor live performances. Setting up before recording was very important in the quality of therecording. I set up the room by putting up the Plexiglas sound shield and putting the microphoneinside the shield. This helps quality by keeping the sound waves in an enclosed area andpreventing external sounds from being recorded. The band and I decided to use an acoustic guitarfor the recording because it has more of a contained sound whereas an electric guitar can causemore static in the recording and more easily can bust the preamp. I also used a higher qualitymicrophone to record the instruments versus a direct input from the instrument. I had to use anXLR extension to plug the microphone into the USB Yamaha mixing board. The mixing boardplugged directly into my computer. Once the setup was complete, I recorded first the guitarist who provides the basis of thesong. Then I fed an output through my computer so that as I recorded the lead singer, he couldlisten to the guitar. This helped him keep in time with the song. Then in some songs, we recordeda bass part. The bassist used a guitar that was retuned down a few octaves. This process wasrepeated for the four songs. After the recording was done, I went through and equalized thesongs. This entails going through and setting the appropriate volumes for each instrument. Forexample the high-pitched sounds should be more noticeable than the lows for the lead singer, butfor the bassist the low sounds should be more prevalent. After equalizing, I went through andadded some simple effects like reverb for the guitar and fade out when an instrument’s part ends.After all of the final touches were made, I exported the songs into iTunes and from there Iburned them onto a CD-R.
Hollands 4 During this process, I made many changes to my process in order to adapt to certainobstacles. One of the main changes I made in my project was the band. I originally wanted tocreate the music using a piano and effects in the recording software. However, when I wasworking with the pianist, some of the instruments sounded mechanical and didn’t have the sameeffect as a real instrument would sound. The pianist had never played a guitar or drums anddidn’t know how to create a natural sound. At this point I decided to work with a real banddespite the fact that it would be less precise and more difficult to control the sound. I also had issues with the USB soundboard. Usually the reason one uses a mixing board isbecause it creates separate channels for each instrument or each microphone. However, I foundout that when you use a USB soundboard as an input for recording, it does not separate thechannels, but instead records everything as one track. This makes it difficult to mix and equalizethe different aspects of the track. For example, I had originally planned on recording drums.Usually when someone records drums, there are two microphones on the cymbals, onemicrophone on the bass drum, one microphone on the snare drum, and one microphone on thetoms. This makes it easier to equalize the volume of each drum. However, since the board inputsevery channel as one track, I could not mix the drums separately. For example, the bass drumshould be louder than the other drums, and the cymbals are very loud naturally, but shouldn’t belouder than the bass or the snare. Ultimately because of this, I decided not to record the drums.The quality would have suffered if I had recorded the drums but not been able to mix them. Another issue was keeping the band members together and focused. The bassist wasunable to attend most of the meetings and ultimately had to quit the band halfway through theproject. Another band member could play the bass and so for the songs where bass was essential,he filled in. In addition, I had to remind the band many times that we were there to record and
Hollands 5had to keep them focused. Keeping focused and quiet during recording was essential because ofthe microphone’s sensitivity. If another band member was even whispering or put their fingerson the guitar, it could be heard in the recording. Ultimately though, all of these obstacles helped me learn the most efficient way to recordand how to overcome the difficulties. I’ve learned management from having to lead the band andkeep them motivated and concentrated on the recording. I’ve learned perseverance from havingto find solutions to the technical issues of recording. I’ve also learned social skills from having tomeet new people and using their equipment and their music space. By having to communicate with multiple different people, I’ve learned that each person isdifferent and their preferred method of communication is also different. For example, when Ineeded to speak with Mr. Tamanini, I had to set up a meeting with him after school or I had toemail him because he was busy with classes and play. However, if I tried to email Giovanni, itwould take a while for him to receive the email and respond, so it was easier for me to call orsend him a text message. With the band, neither of those things worked simply because I neededto talk with all of them at once. So it was easier for me to talk with the lead singer and tell himthat we needed to record or practice, and he would discuss with his band and let me know a goodmeeting time for all of them. Overall, I found that while all of this was a good experience and I enjoyed working withthe band and being a part of making music, I would not want to do this everyday for a living. Forme, this seems more like a hobby to do every once in a while than a career. This just assured methat the decision to go into veterinary college is the right decision for me. I plan on attending theUniversity of Georgia in the fall under the intended major of animal health. After I earn my
Hollands 6Bachelor’s degree, I will enroll in the University of Georgia’s Veterinary Program to become acertified veterinarian. Thank you for your time. Do you have any questions?