July 08, 2013

Deconstructing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Band"

Want to geek out a bit? How about deconstructing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Band. The Beatles used two 4-track machines to work their magic. an let's not forget engineer Geoff Emerick and producer George Martin.

Each of four original master tracks is isolated and shown in a different colour.*

(1) GREEN ___________ 0:00
Drums, 2 guitars, and bass

(2) BLUE _____________ 2:24
Horns and punched-in lead guitar

(3) RED ______________ 4:40

(4) COMBINED ________ 6:54
[1, Green] + [2, Blue] + [3 Red] + [4 Yellow (Crowd Noise)]


The following Information is from "The Beatles Recording Sessions" by Mark Lewisohn; and "Recording the Beatles" by Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan.

This song was recorded in February 1967, using TWO 4-track machines. After recording tracks onto the first tape machine, the recording was then mixed onto the 2nd tape machine.

This technique is called "bouncing". It refers to the use of a second tape machine to combine tracks from the first machine. This freed up one or more tracks to add additional instruments. In those days, this technique was used to overcome a limitation of 4-track recording equipment. Nowadays, modern multi-track and digital recording studios make such efforts unnecessary.

2nd Tape Machine :
This "bounce" tape is what we are hearing.

Track 1 .. [ GREEN 0:00 ]
Drums, guitars, and bass (From "A", Tracks 1+2)

Track 2 .. [ BLUE 2:24 ]
Horns and punched-in lead guitar

Track 3 .. [ RED 4:40 ]
Vocals (From "A", Track 3+4)

Track 4 .. [ YELLOW 6:54 ]
Audience sounds*
*Note: Audience track (yellow) is not shown alone. The last bit is all four tracks together.

Additional info

1st Tape Machine : "Recorder (A)"
(Not heard in these clips. Information only.)
Track 1 .. Drums + Guitars
Track 2 .. Bass
Track 3 .. Lead + Harmony Vocals
Track 4 .. Additional Harmony Vocals

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