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You, as the engineer, have to share in the painting with the artist.
In transforming musical thought and action into sound recordings, sounds are converted into electric current and sent along a signal path to a storage medium from which they can be reconstituted at the push of a button. This bit of technological magic has introduced a new figure into the music-making process – not a musician, nor a composer, arranger or songwriter, but one who nonetheless exerts a measure of influence over a listener's musical experience: the recording engineer. The tasks performed by engineers, while practical, have an aesthetic dimension as well, which amounts to an expressive voice in the sound-recording project, an example of what Hans-Joachim Braun calls the ‘technologization of musical aesthetics’. The voices of recording engineers, always present though historically ‘silent’, have long influenced the ways in which we perceive musical sound. Indeed, their accumulated work has shaped essential contours of our recorded musical landscape. Sound recordings are renderings of sound events and, like any rendering, they embody the attitudes, skills, habits and aesthetic stances of those who make them. Some renderings aspire to acoustic realism, others to fantasy, but whatever the case, the sound of a recording has much to do with the technical abilities and aesthetic choices of those whose hands control the signal path.
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