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ARSCLIST  June 2009

ARSCLIST June 2009

Subject:

Recording Innovations (was: take numbers on emerson records)

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 24 Jun 2009 09:59:34 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (40 lines)

From: Aaron Levinson <[log in to unmask]>
> I for one am not at all surprised by numerous alternate
> takes in the 78 era, it makes perfect sense. Anyone that
> makes records, and Tom will back me up on this, knows that
> even in the era of multi-tracking takes can have a very
> different feel if not outright errors. Everything was 
> live pre-Les Paul so no "punching" was possible.

I wish people would stop giving Les Paul more credit than he is due.  He
was not the first to do overdubbing, he was not the first to do
multi-tracking, and punch-in editing was not one of his things in the
early years.  He is an extraordinarily talented musician with a
fantastically innovative mind, but his knack is to adapt new technology
and expand on past techniques.

It is not true that everything was live before Les Paul.  Even Edison
did overdubbing on tinfoil!!!!!!!  I am not kidding.  This is the
absolute, well documented, truth.  Just this weekend Dave Weiner showed
a film at the Jazz Bash that showed a violinist playing a trio with
himself in the 1930s -- both sound and picture.  Voice over-dubbing was
common.  Adding instrumental tracks was common.  Editing in and out of
music -- punch-ins -- was common.  I challenge you to show me anything
Les Paul did that had not been done before.  And you have to realize
that by the late 1930s even many 78s by companies beyond Edison and
Pathe (who had done it back to the turn of the century) were dubs, not
recorded direct-to-disc.  

> The players wanted it to be right and at that time the only way
> to insure that was to play it again Sam.  AA

It was not the ONLY way, it was just the usual way.  I have been playing
records for sixty years and have been researching the technology of
recording for fifty, and one thing I have learned is to never think that
something had never been done before.  I am still constantly surprised
by discoveries of earlier technologies.  All too often when a statement
is made "This is the first time . . ." it really should have been a
question "Was this the first time . . . ?"  

Mike Biel

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