Today I will be analysing three tracks in terms of sound quality such as texture and timbre as well as what stylistic and rhythmic elements are being used to determine which decade each recording belongs to which relates to my previous blog on how technology has affected modern music.
The first track I’ll be looking at is “Gloomy Sunday” by Billie Holiday which from the beginning is very apparent that it is not a recording from within the last 60 years because the sound quality isn’t as good as multi track recording which came about in 1955 where the overall tone is a lot more clearer and there’s no background noise which is what’s absent from this recording, also you should be able to distinguish that all of the instruments in the song are being recorded in the same room using one microphone which is what jazz big bands are synonymous for monopolising as multi track hadn’t been invented yet which means you can record everybody in the room in a single take but also be susceptible to hiss in the background that can be heard in this recording. The rhythm of the track is swung on the drum kit which is a musical device mainly utilised in the genre of the same name “Swing” which was at it’s peak of popularity between the early 1930’s to the late 1940’s which coincides with the song being pre multi track, as well as taking the instrumentation into account which is primarily brass we can safely assume that the recording takes place in this time frame. And lo and behold the song “Gloomy Sunday” was recorded in 1941.
The next track I’ll be analysing is “I’m So Glad” by Cream which demonstrates a clear improvement is sound quality when compared to the Billie Holiday track as all of the instruments come across clearly in the mix which could be achieved through multi track recording and computer based recording which places this track post 1955, however the sound quality still isn’t quite up to the standards of modern recording as the vocals sound as though they are recorded separately from the rest of the band and the guitar solo has been overdubbed which gives of the effect that there are four musicians playing whereas in reality there are only three. Knowing this allows us to cast aside the idea of computer based recording and instead focus on multi track which gives us a range from 1955 onwards which brings us to the overall instrumentation and style of this piece of music, the instruments used are: vocals, electric guitar, electric bass and drums which are is a really common combination of instruments and therefore doesn’t really give us much of a clue in regards to dating the track although the style of music does as it is in the style of psychedelic rock that was at the peak of popularity between the mid 1950’s and late 1970’s. The actual year for the release of this recording was 1966.
The final recording I will be analysing shows how a huge development in sound quality when compared to the other to recordings as every instrument can be heard clearly and there is no background hum as a result of using the previous recording technologies which has led me to deduce that the recording is dated from the 1980’s onwards. The track uses instrumentation mostly sourced from virtual instrument plugins which in some cases are sampled sounds taken from real instruments that can be manipulated in order to create compositions without the need to session in a multitude of musicians which only strengthens my deduction, and judging by the quality of the plugins used in this track we can assume that this is a fairly recent recording and if I were to hazard a guess this track about when this track was recorded I would say it would definitely be within the last 15 years. This track was recorded in 2001.