Calls for Contributions

Perspectives on Music Production Call for Monographs

We are pleased to announce an open call for proposals for individual monographs for inclusion in the recently launched Routledge series, Perspectives on Music Production. The series rationale is provided below and is intended to provide guidance as to the scope of the series. Interested parties should email: perspectives@hepworthhodgson.com

This series collects detailed and experientially informed considerations of record production from a multitude of perspectives, by authors working in a wide array of academic, creative and professional contexts. We solicit the perspectives of scholars of every disciplinary stripe, alongside recordists and recording musicians themselves, to provide a fully comprehensive analytic point of view on each component stage of music production. Each volume in the series thus focuses directly on an aspect of music production, from pre-production through recording (audio engineering), mixing and mastering to marketing and promotions.

As a series, Perspectives on Music Production was designed to serve a twofold purpose. Situated within the emerging field of music production studies, Perspectives on Music Production aims to specify what exactly scholars and recordists alike mean by the term ‘record production’. In recent research, the term is often used in simply too nebulous a manner to provide any substantive, concrete utility for researchers interested in studying specific details of the production process. In fact, both tacit and explicit definitions of ‘music production’ offered in recent research often bear a certain tautological resonance: record production is everything done to produce a recording of music, or so the argument usually seems to run. But this overly inclusive approach to defining the object of study simply doesn’t withstand sustained analytic scrutiny. The production process is broad, to be sure, but it is rationalised into numerous component procedures, each of which, while holistically related, nonetheless requires its own specialized expertise(s). And this is true whether that expertise is located in a team of people or in one single individual, as the ‘project’ paradigm would demand. Every record production, regardless of genre and circumstance, requires at least the following procedures: pre-production (conception vis-à-vis available technology), engineering (recording and/ or sequencing), mixing and mastering (even if only bouncing without any further processing) and distribution of some sort (lest the recording remains inaudible data). While record producers are indeed responsible for overseeing a project through each of these component phases—and, thus, while it may seem fair to simply refer to the totality of these phases as ‘record production’—every phase has its own unique aesthetic priorities and requirements, and each of these reacts back on, and (re)shapes, the musical object being produced in turn. Ultimately, it is uncovering and understanding the broader musical ramifications of these priorities and biases that comprises this series’ primary analytic concern.

Perspectives on Music Production also looks to broaden methodological approaches that currently prevail in music production studies. The place of traditional academic and scholarly work on record production remains clear in the field. However, the place of research and reflection by professional recordists themselves remains less obvious. Though music production studies tend to include professional perspectives far more conscientiously than other areas of musical study, their contributions nonetheless are often bracketed in quiet ways. Producers, engineers and recording musicians are often invited to participate in scholarly discussions about their work only through the medium of interviews, and those interviews typically follow more ‘trade’ oriented than straightforwardly academic lines of inquiry. We thus invite contributions from professional recordists which elucidate their own creative practice, and in whichever ways they deem most relevant to scholarly considerations of their work. Similarly, we hope the series will encourage greater collaboration between professional recordists and the researchers who study their work. As such, we invite contributions that model novel and inclusive methodological approaches to the study of record production, encompassing professional, creative, interpretive and analytic interests. It is our sincere hope that Perspectives on Music Production provides a timely and useful intervention within the emerging field of music production studies. We hope each volume in the series will spur growth in music production studies at large, a more detailed and comprehensive scholarly picture of each particular procedure in a record production, as well as a general space for researchers to pause and reflect back on their and their peers’ work in this exciting new area.

Jay Hodgson, Russ Hepworth-Sawyer and Mark Marrington (Series editors).