72 terms

N5 Music Technology

All concepts, controls, effects and processes
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reel to reel magnetic tape
A medium used to store audio in the earliest tape recorders, developed in the 1930's. It was subsequently used for data storage in early computers and video recording in the early 1950's.
stereo LPs
An analogue sound storage medium made from vinyl (polyvinyl chloride, PVC, the 3rd most produced plastic, generally used in construction). Stereo LP records became commercially available in 1958.
guitar pick-up
A pickup device acts as a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations (between the magnet in the pickup and the strings) and converts them to an electrical signal, which can be amplified and recorded.
eight-track recording/multi-track recording (analogue and digital)
Multi-track recording devices have two or more tracks with the ability to monitor or cue one track while recording on the other.
This allows the process known as overdubbing whereby a single musician can build up a song by performing each of the parts one after the other. Recording each instrument onto its own track also
allows the sound engineer a great deal of control over each track. An equalisation setting, for example, can be added to one track and
another setting to another track and so on. Multi-track recorders come in many formats these days from 4-track devices to 24-track devices and computer-based hardware and software systems that feature almost infinite multi-track recording capabilities.
audio/MIDI interface
An interface designed to allow audio, or MIDI data, to be recorded and/or played back in various ways from a computer.
virtual instruments
A virtual instrument (or software instrument) is a software application that enables the user to produce or play sounds on a computer. Programs of this kind can be run on the computer as plug-ins hosted by DAW's (Cubase, GarageBand, etc.) or as stand-alone applications.
performance software
Software, such as Ableton Live, developed for performing which lets users record and edit without stopping playback; allowing musicians to use the software as their 'instrument'.
glitch
A short and nasty 'click' in digital audio. This may be caused by a corruption of the digital information or a poor edit of the sound file. A fault or defect in a system or machine
hum
Electronically generated low-frequency noise. Hum is usually the result of interference from mains cables or poorly earthed or grounded equipment. It is worth noting that only faulty or
incorrectly wired equipment will generate hum.
cyclical/loop
Originally referring to a segment of magnetic tape whose ends are joined making a strip that can be continuously replayed. In modern terms, a loop is a short repeating section of sound material, commonly used in hip-hip and soundtracks.
play list
A list of previously edited files, usually in a DAW, upon which the engineer can draw to create a final version of a piece of music
sampler
An electronic device used to copy and digitally manipulate a segment from an audio recording for use in a new recording.
sound card
An internal computer expansion card that facilitates the input and output of audio signals to and from a computer under control of computer programs.
spillage/leakage
The overspill from one instrument into another instrument's microphone. This will only occur where more than one instrument is being simultaneously miked up in the same room. Leakage can be minimised by using directional microphones and acoustic screens; but it is difficult to totally eradicate it. There may also be leakage from a pair of headphones if the monitoring or foldback volume is turned up particularly high. It is not unusual, for instance, for a click track monitored through headphones to leak into one or more of the
drum microphones.
toolbox
The collection of effects, processes and functions available within the DAW software you are using.
transpose
The process of manipulating a recording in to a key other than the original. On 'tape recording' devices this could be done by increasing the playback speed.
rock 'n' roll
1950s American music which grew from the combined styles of jazz, blues, gospel and country.
Scottish/Celtic rock
A style of music that mixes Celtic folk music and rock together.
60s pop
In the 1960's Pop music in the USA and UK gradually became controlled by new young vocal-groups, taking their power from a combination of the performer's charisma and great songwriters. Artists include: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and Diana Ross.
punk
Punk is a music genre that developed in the USA, UK and Australia in the mid-1970's. Punk bands created fast, hard-edged music, typically with short songs, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics.
country music
Country music is a genre of American popular music that originated in the rural regions of the Southern United States in the 1920's. Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, fiddles, and harmonicas.
hip hop
A style of music formed in 1970's New York consisting of stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping - although rapping is not a required component of hip-hop music. The genre may also incorporate other elements of the wider "hip-hop culture", including
DJ-ing, scratching, beat-boxing, and sampling.
musical
A musical play which has speaking, singing and dancing and is performed on a stage
atonal
Atonal music has no feeling of key, major or minor. It is very dissonant and lacks a 'nice' melody and accompaniment.
cluster
A term used to describe a group of notes, which clash, played together.
inverted pedal
A note which is held on or repeated continuously at a high pitch.
chromatic
Notes which move by the interval of a semitone.
whole tone scale
A scale containing no semitones but built entirely on whole tones.
glissando
Sliding from one note to another, taking in all the notes in between where possible.
modulation
A change of key.
countermelody
A melody played against the main melody.
pitch bend
Describes the pitch sliding from one note to another. Sometimes called "glide" or "portamento" on Synthesisers.
tone/semitone
The distance between two notes, equivalent to two semitones (for example, two frets on a guitar).
ritardando (rit)
The music slows down.
cross rhythms
Contrasting rhythms played at the same time or played with unusual emphasis on notes.
strophic
A song which has music repeated for verses/choruses, therefore the same music will be heard repeating throughout the song.
walking bass
A bass line (low notes) often featured in a variety of jazz styles. It goes for a walk, up and down a pattern of notes, and is often played on a double bass.
homophonic
Texture where you hear melody with accompaniment or where all the parts play a similar rhythm at the same time.
polyphonic
Texture which consists of two or more melodic lines, possibly of equal importance, which weave independently of each other.
coda
A passage at the end of a piece of music which rounds it off effectively.
bridge/link passage
A contrasting section of music often used to prepare for the return of the verse and the chorus.
instrumental break
An instrumental or percussion section during a song being a "break" from the main parts of the song or piece.
arco
Instruction given to string players to use a bow.
pizzicato
Abbreviation pizz. An instruction given to string players to pluck the strings instead of using the bow.
rolls
A very fast repetition of a note on a percussion instrument, eg: on a snare drum or timpani.
voices — mezzo soprano
A female singer whose voice range lies between that of a soprano and an alto.
Voices - Soprano
Highest female voice
auxiliary in(put)/out(put) (Aux)
The AUX port is typically used for audio equipment to receive peripheral sound sources. Auxiliary inputs include digital music players and returns from effects units. Auxiliary outputs could be effects units and speakers.
auxiliary send/return
A mixing desk function that allows a signal or
group of signals to be sent to a separate output - an auxiliary output- for either monitoring or processing. In the case of monitoring a pre-fade send will be used. For effects processing a post-fade send will be used and the signal with the process added to it will then be returned to the mixing desk.
boost EQ/cut EQ
When adjusting the balance of a recording using Equalisation you can either Boost - strengthen, or Cut - weaken, the desired frequencies. For example, an engineer would use a High-Cut Filter to eliminate the 'hiss' from a recording.
chorus effect and depth
An effect whereby short delays and slight modulations are added to a signal to make it sound as if there is more than one
player. It therefore applies a detuning effect which can be detrimental to some instruments (for example, the acoustic piano) but can be very effective on others (for example, the electric guitar).
close mic'd
When a microphone is positioned between 2 cm and about 30 cm from an instrument, it is said to be close miked. Close mic'ing helps to reduce problems with leakage from other instruments in the proximity, but can lead to other problems related to sound level and the proximity effect. It can also mean that performers may hit the microphone or that the microphone will also pick up the sounds of the instrument being played (keys on a flute moving, for example). As with all microphone techniques, the potential problems have to be weighed up against the benefits.
dB (decibels),
Decibel. The unit of measurement for audio.
gated reverberation (reverb)
An effect whereby a noise gate is applied to the output of a reverb processor. The natural decay of the reverb is therefore cut off sharply resulting in a rather startling unfinished sound. The effect
is most often used on drums and gives a powerful, if slightly obvious, sound. Nowadays, effects processors tend to have gated reverb
settings pre-set.
LFO
Low Frequency Oscillator. An oscillator used as a low-frequency modulation source; for example in the chorus effect, whereby the delayed signal is detuned by LFO modulation.
noise gate
A signal-activated switch. If a signal reaches a pre-set threshold, the noise gate opens and allows the signal to pass through.
If the threshold is not met, the gate stays shut eliminating any lower level noise or hiss. Gates are very effective and useful devices in the
studio, operating as automatic mutes or cuts to reduce low-level background noise while recording using microphones
pitch bend
Changing the pitch of a note, for example by pushing a guitar string upwards.
punch in/out
A technique in multi-track recording that lets a performer record over mistakes or change parts previously recorded by punching or dropping in and out of record mode while the machine is in playback. Punching or dropping in can be performed by an engineer pushing the right buttons at the right time, the performer hitting a foot switch at the required point, or by advanced use of the machines auto-locate functions whereby the multi-track recorder can be programmed to drop in and out of record mode automatically.
beat-matching
Originally a DJ technique of pitch shifting or time-stretching an upcoming track to match its tempo to that of the currently playing track. Beat-matching can now be done with software plugins - where the audio is processed and the BPM is worked out - or manually by listening to the audio and looking for peaks in the wave-file.
digital processor
A specialised microprocessor optimized for the operational needs of digital signal processing.
drop in/out
See punch in/out
fade in/out
Fade in - When a track or piece of music increases in volume gradually from silence.
Fade out - the opposite of a fade in - when a track or piece of music decreases in volume gradually to silence.
This has become a widespread practice in mixdown technique as a tidy way of ending a song.
import/export
To bring data into one application program from another, for example, inserting an MP3 file into Audacity to create a sample/loop.
latency
The delay between a signal going into a processor and coming back out again. While latency may occur to a small degree in most audio devices where what is being input is being simultaneously monitored, it predominates in A/D converters and D/A converters in computer-based recording set-ups. This is due to the time it takes forthe computer to digitise and then un-digitise the audio information
locators
Left/Right-locators are used to set the boundaries for recording (or a playback loop) in a DAW.
markers
Used to easily find your place in the Arrange window, markers are usually navigable to using the controls in the Transport window. The Marker Track is commonly found at the top of the window. When adding markers you can sometimes include a small amount of information, such as: Verse, Chorus, Solo, Break, etc...
multi effects processor
A multi-effects device (multi-FX device) is a single electronics effects pedal or standalone device that contains many different electronic effects including: reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, etc... Multi-FX devices allow users to "pre-set" combinations of different effects; allowing musicians and sound engineers quick access to different effects combinations.
quantisation
Rounding up or down. In digital audio, waveforms are measured within pre-set ranges, if the waveform being recorded doesn't fit exactly into one of these ranges, then it is either increased or decreased to the closest value to fit neatly. While in general A/D converters do this extremely well and without any noticeable degradation of the original waveform, occasionally there can be a problem in the rounding up or down and digital noise may occur. This is known as quantisation noise or error.
vocal enhancer
A software plugin used to process raw vocal takes that is designed to make vocals clear, crisp and more defined by boosting the desired characteristics of the recording.
Export
To save data in a format usable by another application program, such as exporting a GarageBand project into MP3 format.
Recording (analogue and digital)
Analogue - A device that utilises a changing voltage or current to
represent an acoustic signal.
Digital - An electronic representation of analogue sounds that utilises 1's and 0's.
Voices - baritone
Male voice - range lies between a bass and a tenor