“Chasing Sound. Technology, Culture & the Art of Studio Recording from Edison to the LP” is Susan Schmidt Horning’s dissertation published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2013. As the subtitle indicates it is not only a book on the history of recording technology, but of the evolving recording culture from the early beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century until the advent of multitrack recording in the 1960s. In her book, Schmidt Horning highlights the change from capturing live performances by acoustic and electrical recording devices to music production using recording equipment and the recording studio as integral part of the artistic process. The book focuses on those involved in the recording process: engineers, record producers, arrangers, session musicians and performers, songwriters, studio owners and managers and tells the history of sound recording from their perspectives. Therefore, the author conducted in-depths interviews with contemporary witnesses to catch-up the tacit knowledge embodied in the recording profession and the overall change of the recording culture. In the following, I summarize the seven chapters of the book.
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