Oct 2012: Music, Acoustics, and the Microphone


Glenn Gould’s Approach to an Old Problem: Paul Théberge with Lorne Tulk

The problem of how to capture and reproduce the acoustics of performance spaces is almost as old as the problem of capturing musical sounds themselves. Indeed, the relationship between these two forms of capture are deeply intertwined: the acoustics of physical spaces influence the timbre and temporal characteristics of musical sounds which occur within them and the balance between sound source and surrounding acoustics requires delicate adjustment and a finely tuned ear on the part of audio engineers.

In this presentation, Paul Theberge will briefly explore some of the ways in which we typically think about and mobilize acoustic information (real and artificial) in relation to various kinds of music (classical and popular). This exploration will serve as the context for a discussion of Glenn Gould’s experimental approach to the use of acoustic space in a series of 8-track solo piano recordings made during the 1970s.

Gould’s multi-track recordings are striking in their essential break with the static model of sound/space relations usually employed in music recording and his development of a more dynamic, cinematic approach. This part of the discussion will highlight Paul’s work in restoring and mixing Gould’s recording of the formidable Scriabin Sonata No. 5 for a recent release on Sony Classical.

Lorne Tulk will join Paul for the second half for a discussion, question and answer session.


Webcast meeting archive courtesy of Ryerson University.

Part One

Part Two

Archived Bulletin:

Toronto Audio Engineering Society Bulletin: Oct 2012 PDF


Posted on

October 30, 2012

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