ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context : MusicalStuff

Quora Answer : What is the difference between a music composer & a music producer?

Oct 23, 2019

Today, they are increasingly blurred.

Previously ...

composers created the music. Wrote the scores or chord-charts etc.

musicians played that music on instruments

the producer in the studio had the job of capturing that performance as accurately as possible and transforming it into something that sounded good when reproduced on record.

But, naturally, the moment this system was established, people began to hack / subvert it.

Multiple takes in the studio were pieced together to create "better" performances than any musician ever played.

Or to create new performances that never occurred and couldn't have. Perhaps because an orchestra recorded on a large sound stage in Abbey Road was mixed together with a vocal performance recorded in a small sound-proof booth; allowing two qualities of sound, based on different spaces, to coexist in a way that would be geometrically impossible.

Cuts and juxtapositions, as in cinema, were used to tell new stories. On Sgt. Pepper's, a guitar turns into a chicken.

Composers also started taking advantage of later editing. Beach Boy Brian Wilson started writing and recording lots of vocal fragments and then assembling them later (ie. composing after recording). In the 70s, dub reggae producers took the drum and bass backing tracks of reggae and made new music by putting their own sound effects (echoed fragments of vocals or guitars) over the top of them. BrianEno declared that "the studio was the instrument". The studio became a place for creatively working with and transforming recordings. Allowing the producer to both compose new music, or tweak / fake new performances.

Now the studio is in software and runs on commodity personal computers. Anyone with the interest can easily start doing the kinds of composing that studio producers used to.

Meanwhile, professional composers, increasingly use exactly the same tools to help them capture and render their works. Yes, sometimes, composers with the resources available, actually go to a real orchestra to get that quality of sound. But many composers work now with samples of orchestras which are, themselves, recorded at high quality and increasingly expressive. And so, increasingly, even commercially released music just uses samples if it isn't considered artistically or commercially justifiable / possible to pay for real musicians.

See also :

Backlinks (1 items)