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Title: The influence of the audio engineer on the development of Jamaican popular music
Author: Hitchins, Raymond A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 5648
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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This ethnomusicology-based study investigates the influence of audio engineers on the development of Jamaican popular music. An analysis of audio engineering practice from Jamaica's earliest recording studios to present day has shown how audio engineers have understood and used new technologies, adapting and applying them on their own terms, and how this has had a profound impact on the development of Jamaican music. The thesis provides a new perspective and significant additional information and insights on the formative years of the Jamaican recording industry. This includes the way in which music was consumed, the role of recording studios, the way in which they were accessed and the significance of the first post-mento recordings, categorised into two distinct recorded products of exclusive sound-system acetates and commercial records. Analysis of these products includes the first detailed description of a seminal 1958 recording session that marked a major transition in Jamaican recording models. This thesis demonstrates how emphasised bass and the riddlrn- production method emerged as audio-engineered elements in the Jamaican music-production system. The thesis introduces a new graphical mixing- analysis tool that demonstrates how engineered sounds, rhythms and performance-mixing, based on spontaneity, groove and vibe, became integral parts of that system. This thesis argues that audio engineers and musicians often play the role of producer, but also demonstrates the way in which audio engineering practice became integrated into the work of the multi-role producer. This thesis questions prevalent themes in the literature, such as t~e concept of a 'digital revolution' and argues that this and other claims are not supported by the analysis of actual recording practice, especially when considered in the context of the social, political and economic forces that characterise the music industry in Jamaica. Finally, an ethnographic study and analysis of a recording session, demonstrates how the audio engineer continues to have a profound influence on Jamaican popular music today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available