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BBC music series filmed at City to air this month

Historic performances recreated on camera for Sound of Song
by Ed Grover

The first episode of a new BBC televisionnull series, which was filmed at City University London, will air on Friday 16th January.

Shot in the Performance Space in the Department of Music, Sound of Song will explore the history and development of popular music recording.

The first hour-long programme, called The Recording Revolution, will begin on BBC FOUR at 9pm.

Musicians were filmed recreating historical recording practices and demonstrations of contemporary digital processes at the facilities in City's College Building.

Sequences from the works of Irving Berlin, Phil Spector, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Lieber & Stoller were performed on the Department's Steinway piano. 

These were fascinating and productive days exploring a century of recorded sound.

Neil Brand, writer and presenter of the nullthree-episode series, praised the quality of the Performance Space.

"We've had a great time filming here in these wonderful facilities," he said. "We have had access to everything we needed in one very convenient space and the result is better than I could have hoped."

Dr Miguel Mera, Deputy Head of Music at City, explained Neil Brand had previously performed in the University's concert series and given guest lectures to City students.

He said: "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.

"Also, this documentary focuses on the close interaction between music and technology, which has been a core concern of the Department of Music at City since its inception 40 years ago."

Series producer Alastair Williams described some of the recording techniques his team were able to reproduce in the facilities.

"The City Performance Space was ideal for our needs," he said. "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.

"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 first programme of the series will be repeated on 17th and 19th January.

The next episodes will be broadcast at the same time on 23rd and 30th January.

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