Recording Orchestra and Other Classical Music Ensembles  book cover
1st Edition

Recording Orchestra and Other Classical Music Ensembles

ISBN 9781138854543
Published December 8, 2016 by Routledge
268 Pages

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Book Description

Recording Orchestra and Other Classical Music Ensembles explores techniques and methodologies specific to recording classical music. Whether a newcomer or a seasoned engineer looking to refine their skills, this book speaks to all levels of expertise and covers every aspect of recording symphonic and concerto repertoire, opera, chamber music, and solo piano.

With a focus on the orchestra as an instrument and sound source, this book features sections on how to listen, understanding microphones, concert halls, orchestra seating arrangements, how to set up the monitoring environment, and how to approach recording each section of the orchestra. Recording Orchestra provides concise information on preparing for a recording session, the role of the producer, mixing techniques, and includes a "quick-start" reference guide with suggested setups aimed at helping introduce the reader to the recording process.

A companion website, featuring audio examples of various techniques, reinforces concepts discussed throughout the book.

The content of the book includes:

  • Clear, practical advice in plain language from an expert in classical music recording, multiple Grammy award winning recording engineer, and university professor
  • The "secret of recording": a collection of practical recording techniques that have been proven to be highly successful in the field, on many occasions
  • Never before published information written by an industry veteran with over twenty five-years of experience in classical music recording
  • Specific techniques and strategies for recording orchestra, opera, wind symphony, chorus, string quartet, and other common classical music ensembles.

Table of Contents



Part 1: Getting Started

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 How to Listen: Loudspeakers, headphones, and listening environment

Chapter 3 Understanding Microphones

Part 2: Recording Orchestra

Chapter 4 The Orchestra and its various iterations

Chapter 5 The Hall, and how to deal with it

Chapter 6 Main microphone systems – How to record it

Chapter 7 – Recording Strings

Chapter 8 Recording Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion

Chapter 9 – Recording Harp, Piano, Celeste and Organ

Chapter 10 Recording Orchestra and Chorus

Part 3: Variations on a Theme

Chapter 11 Recording Concertos - balancing solo instruments with orchestra

Chapter 12 Recording Solo Voice and Orchestra

Part 4: The Recording Session

Chapter 13 The Role of the producer in classical music recording

Chapter 14 How to carry out a successful recording session

Chapter 15 Live Concerts, Live Opera and productions with Video

Part 5: Other Challenges in Classical Recording

Chapter 16 Recording Chamber Orchestra

Chapter 17 Recording String Quartet

Chapter 18 Recording piano with other instruments - violin, cello, voice, etc.

Chapter 19 Recording solo piano

Part 6: Post Production

Chapter 20 Editing

Chapter 21 Mixing

Chapter 22 Final assembly and Mastering

Part 7: Multi-channel Recording and Mixing

Chapter 23 Multi-channel recording: How to listen in surround

Chapter 24 How to record and mix for surround sound

Appendix A: Quick Start Guides, by ensemble

A.1 Orchestra Quick Start guide

A.2 Chorus Quick Start guide

A.3 Chamber Orchestra Quick Start guide

A.4 String Quartet Quick Start guide

A.5 Piano and Other Instruments Quick Start guide

A.6 Solo Piano Quick Start guide


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A multiple Grammy award winner, Richard King specializes in recording classical, jazz, and film score music. He is Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montréal, where he teaches in the Sound Recording area. A long-standing member of the Audio Engineering Society, Richard is a regular convention presenter and panelist, and he is frequently invited to speak at various university level recording programs around the world.