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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the influence of recording technologies on the creation and reception of country music from the first hillbilly recordings to the twenty-first century. Following a survey of recent literature from the musicology of recording and sound studies, country music’s voice-centered recording strategies are explored through case studies drawn from early hillbilly, honky tonk, and “hot country” recordings. Country music’s history as a recorded musical practice is shaped by technological and aesthetic developments that can be heard in a wide range of recorded popular musics. Furthermore, this chapter examines the ways that bluegrass musicians, engineers, and producers deploy specific technologies, including the single-microphone technique, to articulate their musical and cultural authenticity. These ways can help us gain a better understanding of the expressive power of recorded country music by placing these “records in dialogue” with other recordings in country music and from other music styles.

Keywords: recording practice, musicology, sound studies, authenticity, bluegrass

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