Recording Studios Without Walls:

Geographically Unrestricted Music Collaboration

Nyssim Lefford


Music production fuses the technical requirements of the recording process with the aesthetic imperative of music creation and performance. The producer is an advocate for both technical and artistic excellence. It is the collaboration, or co-performance, of the recording engineer, producer and performer that generates music recordings and it is the role of the producer to intermediate between the worlds of technology and art. The psychological and social details of the interaction between these collaborators are numerous and complex and they are essential to the production process.

Music producers and recording musicians move from city to city and one recording facility to another in order to expand the their options for collaboration with other musicians or technicians. This examines the development of an Internet-based, music recording system that will enlarge the pool of potential collaborators without requiring physically movement from location to location. The Internet provides a medium through which recorded performances can be transmitted from performer to producer in (near) real-time over great distances. This research investigates the design of a system that will make optimal use of available bandwidth during transmission while retaining the artistic dialogue between collaborators that is central to the music production process.

To envision an expanded music production paradigm that takes advantage of the opportunities presented by networked collaboration it is necessary to thoroughly comprehend the production process. Production can be analyzed as a set of tasks that support collaboration. These tasks can be examined independently of the technology that supports them. This thesis begins with a detailed analysis of the cognitive, psychological and social aspects of artistic collaboration that underpin the behaviors observed during the production process. This foundation provides the basis for the design criteria of a networked collaborative system presented later in this thesis.

Readers who are interested only in the specifics of the proposed system may wish to skip the introductory material. However, the later material presumes a deep understanding of music production process, and the system s design is integrally hinged on the elements of production process essential to music collaboration.