Recording studio software is proof of the creativity and ingenuity of programmers who work in and for the music industry.
With little more than a laptop, keyboard and software such as Cubase, musicians can produce almost any track, complete with drums, orchestra and backing harmonies.
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Bad singing can be corrected to some extent – wrong notes too, and bad timing. Inexperienced musicians can record a difficult few bars in a fraction of the normal speed, and with a few clicks of a mouse speed it up.
The Chateau d'Herouville where Elton John recorded Honky Chateau in 1972 with a speed and simplicity which was of its time
But are good musicians better off for today’s technology? Elton John doesn’t think so. He was speaking to the makers of am “ISIS” documentary series on classic albums which featured Yellow Brick Road. Elton spoke about recording techniques then and today.
He said: “It was a great environment to be in and it was quick. In those days you didn’t have the technology to slow you down. I always find now that technology slows you down so much. In those days you just plugged in your amp, you did the take and your vocals and then you went to your next song.”
Arguably Elton wrote his best songs in 1970s – and in the time it took his drummer to eat a cheese sandwich. The band would learn the track as Elton wrote it – then the song would be recorded. Often a first take would be used – which is almost unimaginable today.