Today in my musicology session – we discussed a few ways in which a musical mix can be analyzed. It started by suggesting the following factors as a way to consider recorded sound.
- ¨Listen closely for the relationships between instruments in terms of:
- ¨Frequency (High – Low)
- ¨Depth/Distance (amount of ambiance)
- ¨Stereo Spectrum (Left – Right). Does it change? Do these changes help evoke the mood of the music?
- ¨General Volume
- ¨Is there any double tracking?
- ¨Use of effects) (compression, delay, chorus, etc)
- ¨Use of EQ?
- ¨Is the texture homophonic or Polyphonic?
After briefly discussing the ‘layers’ of a mix (beat, harmonic, melodic etc) we spent some time discussing the ‘Soundbox’, considering Allan Moore’s typology of mixes as a starting point
- ¨Cluster: Where all instruments are grouped together in a cluster.
- ¨Triangular: Bass, Drums and Vocals spread across the stereo spectrum – or two one side – one the other
- ¨Diagonal: Bass, Drums and Vocals in centre – with other instruments around them
- ¨Dynamic: A mix that changes through time.
After listening to a number of musical examples which considered all of these factors (in particular how the ‘Dynamic’ mix has emerged from the early 70s as been dominant) – we began to consider the prevalence of these ‘older’ mix types (Triangular and Cluster) in modern music.
The question I am asking is this – in order to make a modern mix sound ‘authentic’ (for example if a band was attempting to sound like early Hendrix) – are there any examples of contemporary music that uses Triangular mixes?
I would be interested in any observations. For anyone interested in reading Moore and Ruth Dockaway’s paper on the Soundbox – click here.