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A glossary of music technology and recording by Gordic Wilkie

Clear explanations of over 1700 essential terms, concepts and processes for all aspects of studio music, from ADAT to Aria, MIDI to Mixing Desks, Harmonics to Heavy Metal. The Studio Musician's JargonBuster is fully cross-referenced and illustrated and is the essential reference book for music technology.

The studio musician's jargonbuster. a glossary of music technology and recording. by Godric Wilkie , author Wilkie. Godric ,  Subject: Music. Terminology, use of computers,  London, Musonix,  111p. ill. music. 31cm. pbk,   ISBN0951721429 , shelf mark YK.1994.b.14448
large image for catalogues

This wins our Book of the Month Award because it has the best cover. Actually, it looks good on the inside too, and when you've been wallowing in nostalgia there's nothing like browsing through a dictionary of hi-tech terms to alleviate those feelings of future shock.

It's a glossary of 1500 terms intended to cover the area where music, technology, and recording meet. What exactly is House Music, Hip Hop, Ska and New Age? The book tells you. Fractal Music? That's here too.

Puzzled over Insert Points, Balanced Lines and Busses? Wondered about Waveforms and Wavelengths? It's here. Want to know what Oversampling is, how Aliasing is caused and the effects of Quantisation Error? You know where to look.

What's the difference between a Daisy Chain and Star Network and what are Running Status and Active Sensing used for? The Jargonbuster puts facts like these at your fingertips.

It's dotted with illustrations and includes a 'route map' of words by topic - musical styles, music, electricity, recording, Sound, Synthesis, MIDI, digital audio, and computing.

In all, a usefull book to have to hand when you read an article and see a word which you don't understand. Of course, that doesn't happen often at Keyboard Player...

Keyboard Player

Music Technology is an ever-developing area which comes with a language of its own. And it can often be the case that the words in this "language" sound a darn sight more complicated than that which they describe.

Enter glossaries - although as we knowm some soerve to confuse matters even further. In fact, The Studio Musician's Jargonbuster begins with a quote about dictionaries and watches: "The wordst is better than none", it says, "and the best cannot be expected to go quite true".

So where does this leave us, the users? I don't know about you, but my preferred response to a writtern explanation is "So that's what it means. Why on earth didn't I understand it better before?" And I found myself saying that a number of times as I ventured through Jargonbuster. The book is very readable and, actually, very interesting.

As you would expect, definitions are arranged in strict alphabetical order with comprehensive cross-references, whilst a number of diagrams and charts carry explanations yet further. The words themselves surprised me. Amongst the 1500 definitions I was expecting to come accross the Envelope Generator / Multisync / Impedence / Channel Message type words - and I did. But it was a refreshing change to find interspersed things like Copyright, Ragtime, circle of fifths, lyp sync, World music, Vocal score, Musical periods, Engineer... I could go on.

To quote the author, this book "is not a glossary of music nor is it a glossary of technbology or recording. It is a guide to the twisting pathways through the territory where these disciplines meet."

The 111-page volume concludes with a "route map" which links key entries for a number of important topics. Actuallym although it's at the end of the book, it's an idea starting point for helping newcomers place the words into some sort of context, rather than enthusiastically attacking the book at A and hoping to have understood evrything by Z.

The author's criterion for selection has been to define terms most likely to be encountered by a studio musician. Whilst "studio musician" may sound like the professional end of the market, bear in mind that as captain of your own simple set up at home (particularly if used to record an end result) you, too, can justifiably award yourself the same title and benefit from what this book has to offer. My copy will certainly stay close at hand.

Distributed by, The Studio Musician's Jargonbuster should be available through all good book shops.

Keyboard Review

With each new field of expertise a form of newspeak evolves; a secret club language known only to the initiated. While doctors may have had a monopoly on spurting non-sensical jargon, the music technology profession has its fair share too. The Studio Musician's Jargonbuster contains more than a thousand of these words, each clearly and concisely explained, and listed alphabetically for easy reference.

Many different subjects are encompassed in the book; things that you might not have expected, like musical styles, electricity, and computing terminology, partner with the more familiar themes of sound recording, synthesis, MIDI, and digital audio. A 'route map' is included on the last pages so all the definitions relating to a certain theme can be cross-referenced without having to sift through the whole book, which is useful. The book also unravels the mysteries of the millions of acronymns that are constantly used without knowing exactly what they stand for.

Musical entries inlclude translations if Italian phrase markings, scale types, musical devices such as phrasing and inversions, as well as descriptions of conventional notation. Digital Audio covers things like sampling, and digital recording formats such as DCC, ADAT, and DASH. Usefully, a table of SI units is included as part of the elctric entries, all of which are things we ought to know as part of the EU.

Amongst the more mundane factual information (which is the essential part of any bookm really) there are some quite interesting facts. For example, the definition of the term 'Gamut' (an archaic term, circa. 11th century, meaning the lower G note), or the principles of the Teremin, are guaranteed to impress folk at dinner partiesm or for capturing wedges in Trivial Persuit.

Of course, none of the entries are definitive; it would take an awful lot of paper to compile a book such as that. But where it is necessary, greater depth has been afforded, as has the occasional diagram, thus making the Jargonbuster much more than simply a dictionary.

A few of the entries are certainly questionable in terms of relevance (few engineers will loose sleep not knowing what the acronymn CAD means...), although no-one could possibly discredit the inclusion of the abstractly amusing definitions of 'the cocktail party effect' or 'tautology'. For the most part the Jargonbuster delivers itself with entertaining and inderstandable prose, and is worthwile if you need all your information compressed into memorable sound bites.
The Mix

Recommended on the Manchester day (November 2006) was a website called The Electronica Primer

It looks like a really good free resource, but be careful that its definitions match with the expectations of Edexcel!

I was also recommended a book in the Jargon Busters series about Music Technology but have been unable to track this one down (Any help gratefully received).

Chris Pettit's web site includes free resources for teaching
Edexcel GCSE Music 2006 - 2008: BRITPOP & DANCE

studio musicians jargonbuster - order for £12.95 including UK or surface postage; discounts available to bookshops

order for £12.95 ($)


studio musician's jargonbuster - a glossary of music technology and recording by godrick wilkie - free sample pages of definitions - ISBN 0951721429




catalogue information:
ISBN: 0951721429
Dewey class. no.780.14 20
TI- The studio musician's jargonbuster : a glossary of music technology and recording
AU- Wilkie Godric
PU- London : Musonix
PY- 1993
PD- 111p : ill : music ; 31cm, pbk
IS- 0951721429
NT- First published 1993
KW- Musicians - Effect of technological innovations on - Encyclopedias
KW- Sound recording industry - Technological innovations - Encyclopedias
KW- Music. Use of, Computers
KW- Music, Terminology

common spellings:
common spellings
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