The State of the Art and the State of the Discipline

Seven years ago I traveled to London to speak at a conference convened by a couple of new outfits—one calling itself the Center for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM) and the other, simply, the Art of Record Production (ARP). Now called the Association for the Study of the Art of Record Production, ARP is concluding its seventh international conference, attended by scholars, musicians, songwriters, and record producers from around the world. I’d like to offer my congratulations and appreciation to the folks who have worked hard to get this organization off the ground and to sustain its early flight. Thanks this year in particular to our hosts here at San Francisco State University for their hospitality and hard work.

At that first conference in London I participated in a panel discussion framed as “the musicology of record production,” a term which is gaining traction, paraphrased variously as phonomusicology or, one of my favorites, petromusicology. I hadn’t heard the term before and I was glad to see it, lonesome as I was talking to myself about reverb and EQ as elements of musical composition. By now, we can see clear signs that the musicology of record production is taking its place as an academic discipline based on the idea that record production is in fact an art. What I want to talk about today is the state of that discipline and also the state of the art. And since I am both observer and participant, I’ll draw on historical observation and personal reflection. By the end we should have some questions to kick around.

First of all, a thumbnail sketch of the proposition that record production might constitute a creative project. As you know, this was a foreign concept for many decades during which recordists aimed for transparent renderings of live musical performances. The criteria for record production were indicated by the sound of music in the natural world. Electronic intervention, which was of course essential, was nonetheless to be disguised to the extent technology and skill would allow. Records, after all, were not music; they were representations of music.

The widespread rise of creative record production began after the second World War, primarily in the sphere of pop music. The work of Mitch Miller, Milt Gabler, Gordon Jenkins, Les Paul, and others at the major labels represented a new kind of recording, which used the medium for creative ends. Their records had no real-world counterpart. They were one-off musical artifacts, whimsical studio concoctions. In the indie universe, figures such as Sam Phillips, Lee Hazelwood, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and Phil Spector pursued their own novel ideas. Their records called into question fundamental conventions of musical meaning, especially the notion of stylistic authenticity and integrity. Furthermore, the sounds of their records often obscured the borderline between music and noise.

Serious-minded critics dismissed all such activity. The innovators at the major labels were seen as purveyors of tasteless pop kitsch. The inventors of rock and roll dabbled in musical absurdity. Underlying the various aesthetic critiques was a remarkable adherence to the primacy of live musical performance and a refusal to admit that record making might be something different. I say remarkable because the analogous and contemporary development in theatrical art—i.e., film making—was seen early on as a vital new form of artistic expression, not simply a novel means of recording and disseminating stage drama. The new medium aroused serious criticism, which included aesthetic and analytical argument. Record making, however, was seen not as an art but as a craft aimed at commercial distribution of existing music to a mass public. The chief focus of attention was not the record itself but the music—the piece, the song, the performance—that the record contained.

In the 1960s this critical intransigence was finally broken and the debate reframed. The change was spearheaded by the Beatles and George Martin. Their irresistible global impact impressed nearly everyone, and what they proposed—which looked and sounded like a new pop paradigm—simply could not be ignored. Such self-consciously artistic efforts as Rubber Soul and Revolver argued for the rock album as an artwork demanding and rewarding serious attention. With their retreat from the concert stage in 1966 the Beatles asserted that record making was their chief calling, the area of musical creativity where their artistic spirits had the freest rein.

The Beatles, of course, had lots of company. Consider a list of late sixties albums: the Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed, Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, The Doors’ first two albums, Led Zeppelin 1 and 2, The Band’s first two albums, Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s and White Album and Abbey Road, King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King, the Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed—a rich abundance of manifest artistic ambition. These records, of course, are only a representative few among the multitude constituting the rock music canon, to which the musicology of record production has, thus far, been chiefly devoted.

As the papers at this year’s conference demonstrate, the field is inherently multidisciplinary—incorporating such areas of study as ethno and historical musicology, music theory, critical theory, cognition studies, cultural studies, acoustics, psychoacoustics, electronic design and theory, and performance studies. In the past ten years scholarly output has increased steadily, mostly in the context of popular music studies programs, which have sprouted in many universities in many countries. The art of record production has become a familiar topic in journal articles, essay collections, monographs, and dissertations. I take it as a timely symbol that the American Musicological Society’s Ruth Solie Award went this year to Amanda Bayley, editor of Recorded Music: Performance, Culture and Technology from Cambridge University Press. According to the AMS description, the award “honors each year a collection of musicological essays of exceptional merit.” With the attention and imprimatur of the AMS, it would seem that the musicology of record production is firmly positioned on the scholarly map.

In fact, it may seem practically unnecessary at this point to assert that record production is an art—it sounds pedantic, for example, to say “the art of poetry” or “the art of film.” We know that poetry and film are arts; they need no qualifier. Do we still need reminding that record production, too, is an art? A good example of new attitudes and a new consciousness about records can be found in many recent music theory treatments of pop music. For a long time theorists working on pop music topics focused almost entirely on pitch-based analysis. But now such projects routinely engage sound as well as musical syntax, acknowledging that for rock music the two are inseparable and that a comprehensive interpretation cannot be limited to songs and arrangements.

But other evidence suggests that records have a ways to go before gaining full admission into the realm of the fine arts. Just as music itself had to fight its way into the fine arts establishment, succeeding only in the latter years of the 18th century, record production remains a field of creative activity that is hard-pressed to score, say, a Guggenheim or NEA grant.

The problem, I think, lies not with the quality of the artistic effort but the very nature of the project. In part, the difficulty lies in a lingering hangover from the old notion that records are not art works in themselves. Although this bias has been convincingly refuted for a long time now, it remains a stumbling block as songs and performances claim the lion’s share of critical attention. The attitude is evident, for example, in the term “over-produced,” which trumpets a critical fallacy, an aesthetic opinion framed as a critical standard suggesting that there is some kind of proper or authentic degree of production. What is actually being asserted is that the recording apparatus has meddled too much with the musical process, an old complaint implying, once again, that the record is not the music.

Another basic problem lies in perceptions and attitudes about the historical context of record production. Creative record making developed as an artistic language entirely within a commercial framework. The art of record production historically was inseparable from the commerce of record production. The price of entry was beyond the means of musicians and songwriters. The gatekeepers were those who owned the technology and employed the engineers who knew how to use it. Acquiring, using, and maintaining recording gear was an expensive proposition. Without attention to the bottom line no enterprise could survive for long. As Jerry Wexler put it in his autobiography, “We lusted for hits. Hits were the cash flow, the lifeblood, the heavenly ichor—the wherewithal of survival” (Ritz and Wexler: 1993, p. 91).

I view this historical dependence on the marketplace largely as a salutary circumstance, a kind of democratizing dynamic that balanced out the radical individualist urges of musical modernism. Unlike classical composers, for instance, pop artists were constrained in their personal creative indulgences by market responses. If their records flopped, their patrons—the record companies—would eventually stop supporting their work. This forced artists to at least think about their audience.

The downside of this system, however, is that it set a habit of thought in the cultural mind that precluded popular artists—even as they were undertaking ever more complex creative projects—from being considered as full members of the community of fine artists. There is a longstanding prejudice on the part of those invested in the traditional arts against the unruly mingling of art and commerce, as though it must involve some unsavory deal with the keepers of the bottom line. As if it must be somehow fettered by compromise and unholy influences.

This is no doubt sometimes the case. I have no interest in defending anything about the music industry. But the fact is that the system has produced lots of great art. There is really no excuse for the weak-mindedness of an art vs. commerce formulation that reads each as mutually exclusive. And yet it persists. Even for those who consider it terminally unhip to admit it, the idea lurks tacitly in the fabric of aesthetic attitudes, academic politics, and the functioning of arts institutions.

As scholars and historians of record production, we are well acquainted with the fruits that interactions between art and commerce have borne over time. An argument for the artistic legitimacy of commercial records is implicit in virtually every project we undertake. And yet it is also worth thinking about ways in which we might decouple the artistic and the commercial. Because there are far more pieces in motion now than conventional music industry structures can possibly contain. The fact that we acknowledge the legitimacy of art produced in a commercial context should not mean that we restrict ourselves to successful commodities and ignore records with no commercial or celebrity pedigree.

In 2007 I wrote a little piece for the first issue of this organization’s online journal. I was asked to weigh in with what was called a provocation commenting on the topic of ‘studio as space/place’. I didn’t know exactly what that meant but here is some of what I wrote:

The most significant and far-reaching change in musical culture worldwide over the past twenty years has been the emergence and rapid evolution of the project studio. Along with their offer of independence from the music industry establishment, project studios have brought about new modes of composition and production, and upended all manner of accepted studio habits. One such consequence is the emergence of recordists whose work life resembles more that of a poet or painter.

Today, the recording studio is any place where sound is captured or manipulated, and it is often staffed, and all duties performed, by one person. With the availability of any sound imaginable, productions can take any shape whatsoever, their sounds performed by virtual ensembles conjured in the artist’s imagination. The ‘artist,’ of course, may be a ten-year old, a farmer, or a tax accountant. Reactions to this all-access technological cornucopia vary according to one’s aesthetic stance and the nature of one’s investment in preserving traditional standards of gate keeping. But whatever one’s view, the project studio revolution—like the phonograph, stereophonic sound, multi-tracking, and other advances—calls for rethinking some longstanding assumptions about musical practice. (Zak: 2007, online)

Let me flesh this out a bit.

While records can be little more than snapshots of musical events, they can also be a form of musical composition. They differ from traditional composing in the sense that they incorporate performances and sound as components of a finished work needing no further realization. But record making shares with scripted composition a fundamental similarity: both processes produce musical works. With that in mind, I’d like to borrow an idea from the much older tradition of scripted musical composition.

Historically, professional and amateur composers were not far apart in terms of access to the means of musical creativity. Anyone so inclined could compose a piece of music. If they were trained they could write it down with nothing more than pencil and paper. If not, they could write it into memory and pass it on using their voice. Professionalism was not a requirement. Musical creativity was available to anyone with a musical imagination.

With the invention of sound recording, the technology of musical notation was augmented by mechanical and then electronic technologies. For musical expression, the potential was intriguing. The elements of written musical syntax—pitch combinations and rhythmic patterns—could now be enhanced with actual sounds and musical utterances. The composition might now embody both musical thought and musical action, a kind of musical artwork without precedent.

But with the coming of these vast new possibilities came also new restrictions. Musical imagination was no longer enough. A heavy financial investment was required to even begin the process of learning to harness the new machinery. Almost every artist was reliant on institutional support. In the realm of experimental music, there were such things as the Columbia-Princeton Center, the NWDR in Cologne, and the Experimental Studio of the RTF in Paris. In the realm of everyday music it was record companies that controlled the show. Each of these institutions had an agenda that impinged on artistic freedom. Experimental music had to be, well, experimental but in a particular way. Experimental innovators such as Joe Meek or Lee Perry would likely not cross the velvet rope at Columbia-Princeton. With cultivated prestige at stake, how could it be otherwise?

Commercial music, on the other hand, had to earn its keep. Some A&R person had to grant an initial admittance to the electronic kingdom and then a musician had to turn out profitable products. The ultimate yardstick was always the financial bottom line—for the company at least. With real money at stake, how could it be otherwise?

Whoever their patrons were, artists had to fit their expression to what the institution required or allowed. And they had to be, in one way or another, professionals.

Eventually a DIY ethos gained steam, a sort of “occupy IRCAM” or “occupy Abbey Road” movement. It was enabled by affordable and reasonably sophisticated production tools, which began showing up in the 1970s. By the early1980s something substantial was taking shape. Musical imagination was in the midst of a liberating revolution as record production became accessible as never before. If the early attempts were primitive, the promise was boundless. Tape recorders, recording consoles, outboard gear, all became available in budget versions, eventually producing a new recording culture separate from, larger, and more diffuse than the established music industry.

Now I’ll tell you a personal story.

I was always fascinated by records. More to the point, I was in love with records. As a child, I learned about music from the records that spun day and night on the family phonograph—records of all kinds, all mixed up on the auto-changer without regard for idiomatic consistency. I made my first musical recording in 1965 on a Tandberg tape recorder, one of my dad’s prized possessions. I made my first record in 1971 while still in high school. A schoolmate, a gifted electronics nerd with some gear but no studio, recorded my band performing an album’s worth of original songs in various locations. He made us each an acetate; we felt we had accomplished something.

I worked in studios from time to time thereafter, sometimes playing on other people’s session, sometimes, when finances allowed, making tracks of my own. But while I could write music with my own pencil and paper, the only way I could make records on a consistent basis was to have a patron. So, I danced around with many of the music industry’s power brokers, trying to win a chance to really get to work. As almost anyone who’s done this can attest, it was a frustrating process, to say the least. The gatekeepers alone had the power to say yes or no, based purely on an intuitive and imperfect sense of the market. For my part, while I’d of course be delighted to succeed in the market, mostly I just wanted to make records as I imagined them. I wanted to do what artists do. But the price of entry made that impossible without the patronage of the system.

Then, almost as suddenly as the lifting of a heavy curtain, the impossible became possible. There began to appear lowly yet functional versions of the magic boxes previously reserved for a chosen elite. I put together my first project studio in 1983. It consisted of a second-hand Teac 8-track, a 1/2 inch machine with Dolby B noise reduction; a Revox B77 for mixdown; a 10 channel Ramsa console; an AKG 414 and a Shure SM-57; a set of small EV monitors and a small Crest amp, an MXR graphic EQ, some cheap compressor whose brand I can’t recall, and a Tascam RCA patch bay. I threw in an Oberheim DMX drum machine and a Roland Juno 60 for extra sounds. Reverb was too expensive so I made do with the bathroom (but the Yamaha Rev-7 was not too far away) .

The rig was serviceable yet evolved fairly quickly as new, more or less affordable equipment hit the market. In 1987, my tape tracks doubled with the Fostex 16 track 1/2 inch with Dolby C, a 30 ips version at that. I striped one track with SMPTE because by now clever software designers were making sequencers that could lock to time code. My first was Southworth’s Total Music (which I began using in a beta version) and then Opcode’s Vision. The unsung hero of it all was the brilliant little box from Roland, the SBX-80, which converted SMPTE to MIDI, flawlessly in my experience. I also moved up to a bigger 20-channel Ramsa console.

The last project I did with the Fostex was in 1993. By then I was also running an ADAT 8-track, synchronized to time code through an ADAT BRC unit, along with the SBX-80 and the computer. It looked a bit Rube Goldberg, and it certainly didn’t chase lock, but it worked. And now I had lots of tracks, too many for the console, but no worries. A cool little company called Mackie had begun marketing cheap mixers so I tacked on another 16 channels as a sub. Life was good.

One day in 1991, the Grammy Award-winning engineer, Steve McLaughlin, stopped by for a visit. Some of you may know Steve. He was Michael Kamen’s personal engineer and has worked on many feature films1. I showed him around. He was bemused. Working on films such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Lethal Weapon Three, his equipment and rooms were somewhat different from mine. Plus, he knew me only as a musician. He had mixed a record of mine years earlier. Now he saw that not only had I cobbled together this primitive yet effective multi-track studio, I could work it. All he could do was laugh with a kind of happy amazement at how unexpected it all was. How far the DIY thing had gotten while he was busy working in a parallel universe.

Now, Steve is a splendid professional engineer, something I’ve never been. To me, real engineers work in a realm bordering on the mystical. They know things I think I’ll never know. I’m a songwriter and composer and I coax, sometimes plead, with the technology to get what I need for my own projects. But still, there was an undeniable convergence between what I could now do in my private studio and what Steve did every day in the finest studios in the world. Though I may have lacked in skill and equipment, I could nevertheless exercise my imagination. The point is I could do it myself, at my own whim. I didn’t need permission from any commercial apparatus, nor was I beholden to any commercial interest.

I tell you this story because I know it, so it is easy to get the details right. But what I mean by telling it is to suggest that it is one strand of a broad narrative unfolding around the world since the 1980s. How many thousands of small studios are out there by now? Who can even say? It is a cultural groundswell that has yet to be assessed and understood.

Of course, the next revolutionary stage was the development of the digital audio workstation, which accelerated the convergence of professional and non-professional recording environments. It is as common to see a ProTools rig at the core of a first-class studio as it is to see the same thing in someone’s basement or spare bedroom. Moreover, the price of admission has continued to drop exponentially. What I spent in the 1980s would today get you into the big leagues of audio, at least in terms of your toolset. This in itself is a rich source of discussion topics. But let me get back now to the art of record production as a concept and as a subject of learned discourse. And we’ll loop back to the project studio in a moment.

Calling something an art assumes a lot. The word invokes a long history of work, thought, polemic, and cultural attitudes. To use the word seriously means that we acknowledge that history and certify that the art we proclaim bears the appropriate family resemblance to be granted a seat at the table.

It seems to me that whether one leans toward a utilitarian view of art or espouses an art-for-art’s sake aestheticism, as a culture we’ve hardly deviated from an ancient conception of artists that sees them occupying a unique place in society. Even in times when artists have had the status of servants or slaves they were somehow special. Sometimes this meant they could arouse ineffable pleasure; sometimes it meant they were dangerous and best eliminated. Art produces mysterious effects on the emotions and those who can play the heart strings seem to possess the power of enchantment. They inhabit a realm where the practical and the reasonable may be subordinate to the fantastic. Intoxicated with their own visions, artists may be concerned more with their conjuring than with the logistics of everyday transactions, including the financial concerns that must occupy a record company. Hence, the age old art vs. commerce dichotomy.

Acknowledging, as I have, that a commercial system may produce exceptional art, is not to assume a causal relationship between the two. It is, rather, to assert that art is fluid and powerful. It can exist anywhere and under any circumstances. While it may flourish in a commodity exchange, this is more or less incidental to its deeper value. It does its cultural work with or without the market. As the writer Lewis Hyde (2007) describes it from an anthropological perspective, art’s essential economy is a gift exchange—among artists, the muse, and the public. Even in societies where markets pervade the social structure, the gift carries a greater weight than the commodity. The musicologist Rob Wegman (2005), positing a gift economy among Renaissance composers and their patrons, points out that a “commercial transaction . . . tends to be a relatively utilitarian and impersonal affair” (p. 426) conducted among strangers. By contrast, gifts “tend to be gestures full of meaning, and are typically surrounded by elaborate social customs and ceremonials” (p. 428).

Artists sense this instinctively. They make their work—their gifts—with or without market sanction. Emily Dickinson and Vincent Van Gogh, to pick two very famous examples, created substantial and enduring bodies of work from which they made no money. The urge to engage the gift far outweighed any practical career concerns. The American poet Wallace Stevens, who worked his whole life as a lawyer for an insurance firm, wrote in a letter of 1936,

You ask whether I should continue to write if no one but myself would ever see my work. There is no reason to believe that  anyone will ever see any more of my work. . . . I write poetry because I want to write it. (in Stevens, 1996, pp. 305–306)

The very starkness of Stevens’s apology captures the elemental flavor of the artist’s motivation. I want to, I need to, I love it, it’s who I am, it’s my way of life, it’s what I do. These are standard artists’ answers to the question, “why do you make art?”. If some also say, “it’s my profession,” well that, too, is sufficient but not necessary. The point is that if record making is truly an art, then a record’s commercial status is irrelevant to its artfulness. It must arouse aesthetic engagement with or without market support, as art always has.

Placing record production in such company raises many questions not the least of which is that of value. Assessment of a record’s worth relied historically on market indicators. As far as the gatekeepers were concerned, a hit record was a good record. In the late 1960s, a critical apparatus began to develop, whereby value was argued from the standpoint of aesthetic opinion. But the critical forum remained limited to the commodities produced by the commercial music system. While this is understandable, it looks increasingly inadequate. In making broad observations about culture, commercial evidence is useful. Commercial success means that a record has embedded itself in the public ear, which helps us to grasp the shape of the cultural landscape. But art is made at a more granular level and serious critics need to think harder about the cultural moment we are living in. The project studio frees recordists from institutional constraints, broadening immeasurably the field of artistic activity. These unsanctioned artworks largely bypass the market, eliminating the handy yardstick of commercial success and forcing attention on to individuals and small subcultures.

In commercial terms, the preponderance of tracks made all over the world every day are practically valueless. Packets of digital data, they circulate like air—ubiquitous and free of charge. To paraphrase Wallace Stevens, they are made simply because people want to make them. As far as I can tell, they represent no profession. But can the creative thought and effort involved be reasonably dismissed as a mere pastime? And what about the investment required? As CD sales have declined, products aimed at project studios continue to multiply. Are the people buying all this stuff simply a multitude of obsessed hobbyists? Or do at least some of them have something to say?

I suggested earlier that the all-access pass to the means of record production has made recordists akin to painters and poets. But the painting analogy—while useful enough as a symbol of artistic activity—breaks down when considering value. A painting’s uniqueness in itself confers some degree of value even if the painting is amateur in execution and the painter is entirely unknown. Reproducible visual arts such as print making or photography capture some of that sense of uniqueness when the artist destroys the plates or negatives after a limited run. But reproducible music, especially in the form of a digital file, cannot be rendered unique. Quite the opposite, its value is judged on a mass scale in terms of units sold. Any single instance of the work is no big deal, as evidenced in the all too casual phrase, ‘can you burn me a copy?’.

The most apt analogy for recordings is poetry, which is also endlessly reproducible. In fact poems are even easier to reproduce. With memory and oral transmission, even the technology and media of writing are unnecessary. So reproduction requires nothing but the will to do so. As a market commodity, then, the doggerel on a greeting card may be more valuable than the finest poetry printed on cheap paper. But poetry’s value is not measured by the commercial market or by the medium of its representation. Its value lies in what it says. Consensus holds poetry to be one of the world’s great resources, a fundamental of human expression. As Yale professor and scholar Paul Fry puts it, “The fact that ‘poetry’ . . . is both perennial and pancultural should prove in itself that poetry is a need, not commodity” (Fry: 1995, p. 2). The depth and significance of that need was argued passionately by Shelley in his 1821 Defence of Poetry. “Poets,” he wrote, “are not only the authors of language and of music, of the dance, and architecture, and statuary, and painting: they are the institutors of laws, and the founders of civil society, and the inventors of the arts of life, and the teachers who draw into a certain proximity with the beautiful and the true that partial apprehension of the agencies of the invisible world which is called religion. . . . A poet participates in the eternal, the infinite, and the one” (in Shelley: 1904, pp. 5–6).

Poetry has a venerable tradition of critical commentary incorporating much of a culture’s substance, including language, philosophy, rhetoric, aesthetics, religion, and more. Music, too, has such a history, with writings dating back to ancient civilizations. We have a need to explain to ourselves what art is and why it affects us as it does. Critical discourse helps us to understand the workings and significance of the art. Criticism weighs value over time, according to principles set forth in epistemological systems with deep cultural roots. It is this deliberate engagement, detached from the market’s obsession with the here and now, that leads to the appreciation of artists little known in their lifetime (like Dickinson and Van Gogh).

Such criticism does consider markets, but mostly in terms of history and biography. Its larger project is close reading of art works in the context of an artistic language and its tradition. Criticism that focuses on commodities and celebrity figures is a species of cultural criticism or journalism. This is exactly the kind of commentary that developed as “rock criticism,” which to date is the most prolific commentary surrounding records. But serious criticism, like serious art, cannot be limited exclusively to market commodities any more than it can ignore them.

What I see happening in the recent surge of scholarship is a new wave of pop music criticism, keenly aware of recording consciousness and the artfulness of record making. We are in the midst of a fascinating intellectual moment, where an essentially vernacular art form is the subject of a class of discourse previously reserved for the high arts. Indeed, this discourse, by its very existence, calls into question the meaningful distinction between high and low in today’s hyperconnected and hyperactive world. As a matter of establishing a disciplinary foundation, pop music scholarship has concentrated thus far on the commercial products of the markets in which the language of record making developed. But, again, the project studio opens up new dimensions of possibility. The tracks produced independently from the market provide a vast resource for potential scholarly engagement. This turn of events means that scholars possessing the tools to do the close reading of serious criticism are not bound to serve as an academic arm of the music industry. The project studio has not only liberated artists, it also makes the musicology of record production a remarkably wide open sub-discipline, giving scholars a voice in the DIY reshaping of musical culture. The art of record production—which in its fullest sense means, the free play of recordists’ imaginations—has become a reality. It will be interesting, going forward, to see how the musicology of record production responds.

Notes

1 For a list of McLaughlin’s work, see http://www.filmmusicproducers.com/.

Bibliography

Fry, P. H. (1995). A Defense of Poetry: Reflections on the Occasion of Writing. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Hyde, L. (2007). The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. New York: Vintage Books.

Ritz, D and Wexler, J. (1993). Rhythm and Blues: A Life in American Music. New York: Knopf.

Shelley, P. B. (1904). A Defence of Poetry. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company.

Stevens, W. (1996). Letters of Wallace Stevens. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Wegman, R. C. (2005). Musical Offerings in the Renaissance. In: Early Music. 33, 3, pp. 425–437.

Zak, A. (2007). The Art of Record Production. In Journal on the Art of Record Production. [Online] Issue 2. Available at: http://arpjournal.com/508/the-art-of-record-production/