Art of Record Production Conference
May 17-19, 2019
Berklee College of Music, 921 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
Back To Schedule
Friday, May 17 • 16:30 - 17:00
Performance music or Production Music?

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

What if music could be characterized as performance music or production music for the purpose of ARP pedagogy? With this characterization, could a classification system help clarify the “blurred lines that exist between the collaborative activities of creation, staging and performance” (Zagorski-Thomas, 2014, p.76)? What are the less obvious and deeper differences and commonalities found between performance and production music? How might observing these traits help decision-making during music recording, and serve to keep creativity buoyant through-out the process? Who are the collaborative constituents in each typology, what are their activities and what is the workflow? With an eye to the future, what if computational creativity becomes an agent in composition, performance and production?
I routinely begin my teachings of the Art of Record Production by asking students if they are making performance music or production music, but my own analysis has been surface level only. This paper seeks a deeper consideration of common questions about click track use, staging, headphone mix and performance, DAW playlists versus linear tracking and what the agency of a producer in relation to the artist might be.

Performance music can be broadly defined as an art or popular music event recorded with a minimum of technological intervention or virtual staging. Holly Cole’s 1990 recording Girl Talk is an example.1 By contrast, production music can be broadly defined as music created using technological means such as performance overdubbing, hyper-real microphone placement, midi & synthesizers, editing and processing, click tracks or prepared loops resulting in exaggerated sound and virtual soundscape.
Performance music or production music discusses traits and values of performance and production music to encourage workflow efficiency and hybridization of both typologies.


Cole, H, Girl Talk, CD, Vinyl, Alert Records, 1990.


Burgess, J. The Art of Music Production, Omnibus Press, 3rd edition, 2010 Godlovitch, S. Musical Performance, A Philosophical Study, Routledge, 1998
Moore, A, Rock, The Primary Text, Developing a Musicology of Rock, Routledge, 2001

Lamb, C., Brown, D, Clarke, C, Evaluating Computational Creativity: AM-Interdisciplinary Tutorial, University of Waterloo. 2017

Schechner, R. Performance Theory, Routledge, 1988

Small, C. Musiking, Westleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, 1998

Zagorsky-Thomas, S., 2014, The Musicology of Record Production. Cambridge University Press.

1 Cole, Holly, Girl Talk: Recorded live to two-track in the Stephen Leacock Theatre using a single Calrec Ambisonic Microphone, by Peter Moore.

avatar for Paul A Novotny

Paul A Novotny

Industry Professional, teacher & Phd candidate., York University & Humber College.
Bassist, Music Producer, Mix Engineer, Apple Digital Music Mastering Engineer and Educator. For more details please visit: www.paulnovotnymusic.com | www.audioproducers.com | www.tripletrecords.com

Friday May 17, 2019 16:30 - 17:00 EDT
Classroom 311 (3rd floor)