Distortion in Music Production : The Soul of Sonics book cover
1st Edition

Distortion in Music Production
The Soul of Sonics

  • Available for pre-order on May 22, 2023. Item will ship after June 12, 2023
ISBN 9780367405854
June 12, 2023 Forthcoming by Focal Press
360 Pages 109 B/W Illustrations

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USD $56.95

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Book Description

Distortion in Music Production offers a range of valuable perspectives on how engineers and producers use distortion and colouration as production tools. Readers are provided with detailed and informed considerations on the use of non-linear signal processing, by authors working in a wide array of academic, creative, and professional contexts.

Including comprehensive coverage of the process, as well as historical perspectives and future innovations, this book features interviews and contributions from academics and industry practitioners. Distortion in Music Production also explores ways in which music producers can implement the process in their work and how the effect can be used and abused through examination from technical, practical, and musicological perspectives.

This text is one of the first to offer an extensive investigation of distortion in music production and constitutes essential reading for students and practitioners working in music production.

Table of Contents


List of Contributors


Part 1: Technology of Distortion

1. A History of Distortion in Music Production - Clive Mead, Gary Bromham and David Moffat

2. The Development of Audio Software with Distortion - Eric Tarr

3. A browser-based WebAudio ecosystem to dynamically play with real-time simulations of historic guitar tube amps and their typical distortions - Michel Buffa and Jerome Lebrun

4. Non-linearity and Dynamic Range Compressors - Dr Austin Moore

5. Low Order Distortion in Creative Recording and Mixing - Dr Andrew Bourbon

Part 2: Perception and Semantics of Distortion

6. Understanding the Semantics of Distortion - Dr. Gary Bromham

7. An Ecological Approach To Distortion In Mixing Audio: Is Distortion An Expected, Rather Than Unwanted Artefact? – Dr Lachlan Goold

8. Towards a Lexicon for Distortion Pedals - Tom Rice and Dr. Austin Moore

Part 3: Retrospective Perspectives of Distortion

9. Hit Hardware: Vintage Processing Technologies and the Modern Recordist - Niall Coghlan

10. Even Better than the Real Thing: A comparison of traditional and software emulated distortion in the contemporary audio production workflow - Dr. Doug Bielmeier

11. ‘It just is my Inner Refusal’: Innovation and Conservatism in Guitar Amplification Technology - Jan-Peter Herbst

12. A Saturated Market - Ask Kæreby

Part 4: Musicology of Distortion

13. The Studio’s Function in Creating Distortion Related Compositional Structures in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal - Ciro Scotto

14. The Distortion of Space in Music Production - Dr. Matthew Barnard

15. Distorting Jazz Guitar: Distortion as Effect, Creative Tool and Extension of the Instrument - Dr Tom Williams

16. 'Got a Flaming Heart': Vocal Climax in the Music of Led Zeppelin - Aaron Liu-Rosenbaum

17. The Aesthetics of Distortion – Dr Toby Young


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Gary Bromham completed his PhD at Queen Mary University London where he researched the role of retro aesthetics in music production and how some of these features are used in intelligent music production systems. He co-produced the 1988 Icelandic Eurovision entry, made an album with jazz-funk band Mezzoforte, and worked with progressive artist, Bjork. He also collaborated with Andrew Ridgeley, of Wham, on his solo album, and subsequently worked with George Michael on some of his album, Listen Without Prejudice. Gary has written with a variety of artists and songwriters including Sheryl Crow, U2, Bow Wow Wow, The Tubes, Robbie Neville, Eddie Money and The Fixx. He is also a frequent guest speaker and external advisor at several universities in the UK, Norway, and Sweden; speaking on songwriting, production, and mixing.

Austin Moore is a senior lecturer and course leader of sound engineering and music production courses at the University of Huddersfield, UK where he is also the Music and Audio Production (MAP) research group leader. He completed a PhD in music production and technology, which investigated the use of non-linearity in music production with a focus on dynamic range compression and the 1176 compressor. His research interests include music production sonic signatures, Atmos in music production, and semantic audio. He has a background in the music industry and spent many years producing and remixing various forms of electronic dance music under numerous artist names and working as an engineer in studios. He has recently become active in the electronic dance music scene and is putting the finishing touches on productions which will be released at the end of 2022.