As part of the documentary series, Sound of Song, which will explore the history and development of popular music recording, the BBC has been filming in the Music Department at City University London. Sequences demonstrating historical recording practices, contemporary digital processes, and demonstrations on the Steinway grand piano of works by Irving Berlin, Phil Spector, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Lieber and Stoller were filmed in the Department’s Performance Space and Recording Studio.
Dr Miguel Mera, Deputy Head of Music, commented: “We have always had strong external links with the music industries, but it is especially pleasing to be working on this project with the BBC, not least because the writer and presenter, Neil Brand, has performed in our concert series and has given guest lectures to our students. Also, this documentary focuses on the close interaction between music and technology which has been a core concern of the Music Department at City since its inception.”
Neil Brand commented: “We’ve had a great time filming here in these wonderful facilities, we have had absolutely everything we needed in one very convenient space, and the result is better than I could have hoped.”
Series Producer Alastair Williams also highlighted how the City Performance Space was ideal for the BBC’s needs: “It gave us an opportunity to re-enact and produce our own musical moments from the history of recorded music. So we recreated the Edison Tone Test and gathered a band together to record acoustically as they did in 1906 on wax cylinders. And in the recording studio we made our own version of the song ‘Believe’ by Cher to illustrate how Pro-Tools and Auto-Tune can change the Sound of Song. These were fascinating and productive days exploring a century of recorded sound.”
The three-part series will be broadcast on BBC 4 in January 2015.