Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Performing in the Studio

Slater, Mark



Gary McPherson


While studio recordings can resemble live performances and draw upon similar reserves of knowledge and skill, the processes and experiences of performing in the studio are notably different from being on stage in front of an audience. This chapter situates performance within the technological trappings of the studio and its associated social and musical processes, which are now so prevalent in contemporary musicianship. The chapter draws upon ideas from ontology (in terms of how recording modifies the forms of music's existence), sociology (in that the process of making recordings demands a consideration of the social constructs at play between collaborators), affordances (to describe how people and the material aspects of the studio and its apparatus are entwined in a productive relationship), and poetics (which relates the process of making to the specific conditions of that moment). To draw out the practical implications of the discussion, four proposals are offered, which encourage: (1) a recognition of the similarities and differences between live and recording performance contexts; (2) an understanding of the ideological underpinnings of why a recording is being made; (3) an acknowledgment of the productive effects of technology; and (4) an admission that recordings construct an illusion of some kind of reality.


Slater, M. (2022). Performing in the Studio. In G. McPherson (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Performance, Vol.1 (510-527). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Acceptance Date Apr 6, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 13, 2022
Publication Date Apr 13, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 13, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 14, 2024
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 510-527
Series Title Oxford Handbooks
Book Title The Oxford Handbook of Music Performance, Vol.1
Chapter Number 21
ISBN 9780190056285
Keywords Studio; Recording; Technology; Ontology; Sociology; Affordance; Poetics
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations