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6 Sessions
Audit (Free)
Certificate (Incl. w/ Premium)
Columbia University
Music, History and Culture, Music Technology
Skill Level
DAW, Music Production, Recording Techniques, EQ, Reverb, Psychoacoustics
Course Description

Over the past fifteen years, many of the music industry’s greatest artists have made public valuable information about how they created their iconic sounds. Through the release of memoirs and interviews, their techniques—once considered closely-guarded industry secrets and the keys to their success—are now available to anyone who wants to use them. The information, however, is scattered amongst hundreds of sources. This class strives to gather up that information and assemble it in a way that allows the student to witness the historical evolution of the industry and, even more importantly, make immediate use of each technique as it is presented.


This course is in scheduled mode "." Learn more about scheduled courses here.

Session 1: Overview
We begin by focusing on the earliest recorded works and the characteristics of those recordings. An examination of how recording changed music. An overview of the Edison and Victor record companies. This class will focus on several of the most prominent aesthetic debates that surrounded early recording efforts and provide context for the study of music production techniques.
Session 2: New Electrical Recording Techniques
This session will cover the shift from Cylinders to Discs and the impact of the new electrical recording techniques. How innovators possess the ability to “see through” the technology and discover new methods of using the technology to their creative advantage. The difference between early Film and Music recording aesthetics.
Session 3: Reverb and Ambience
This session will focus on natural reverb and room ambience. It will also introduce the concepts of volume, basic mixing and panning, and it will explore equalization. An overview of the groundbreaking work of Leopold Stokowski and Harvey Fletcher. How to use psychoacoustics creatively in the production process. Understanding how volume, reverb and frequency can be altered to create a dynamic movement
Session 4: Musique Concrète
This session will focus on the techniques used to edit magnetic tape and the creation of the first Sound Art Movement – Musique Concrète. Examination and analysis of several early experiments with phonographs and tape. The influence of film editing techniques. A look at Bing Crosby and his role in bringing tape to radio broadcasts.
Session 5: The Rise of the Producer
The rise of the producer: Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller (Elvis, The Coasters), Bill Putnam (Universal Audio), Phil Spector (Wall of Sound), Sam Phillips (Sun Records), Tom Dowd, Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic Records), Barry Gordy (Motown), Leonard Chess (Chess Records), Phil Ramone (A&R), Quincy Jones (Mercury Records), Cossima Mattasa (J&M Records), George Martin (The Beatles).
Session 6: Artificial Reverb
This session focuses on a deeper exploration of reverb and echo, specifically addressing types of artificial reverb. Discussion of slapback tape echo and the dramatic use of echo on recordings by Bill Putnam at Universal Audio and Sam Phillips at Sun Records that were vital in the sonic creation of Rock & Roll.
Instructors & Guests
What You Need to Take This Course

Equipment: Audio Editor & Audio Sequencer. Most exercises can be accomplished with the standard plug-ins that come with contemporary sequencers and editors.

Software: Some advanced techniques (FFT manipulation and analysis and comb filtering) may require specialized software.

Additional Information

Please note: Taking part in a Kadenze course as a Premium Member, does not affirm that the student has been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by Columbia University.

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