SO! Reads: Susan Schmidt Horning’s Chasing Sound: Technology, Culture and the Art of Studio Recording from Edison to the LP

Sounding Out!

SO! Reads3 The recently published , Chasing Sound: Technology, Culture & the Art of Studio Recording from Edison to the LP is historian Susan Schmidt Horning ’s first book. Veering away from the usual sound recording suspects (like the phonograph), Chasing Sound shows how the studio and the audio engineer are central to the cultural and technological changes associated with the production and reproduction of sound.

According to Schmidt Horning, such changes were reflected in the shifting ideal of recorded music as a representation of live performance to the ideal of recorded music as a studio-engineered creation. Using the accounts of those responsible for recording sound, Schmidt Horning constructs a rich narrative that manages to be accessible while still focused on the highly technical work required of studio workers. That said, by focusing so heavily on user practices and anecdotes she misses an opportunity to engage with the theoretical implications of the…

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