Sunday, November 9, 2008

Flanging a rock

There are things that happen in the analog world that encourage innovation in the electronic world. One such occurrence is the invention of the "flanging" effect in producing music recordings for sale. It was first accomplished by synchronizing the playback of two recordings, then varying the speed of one of the two slightly to produce an eerie effect in the music output. The phase difference in the one that was not the same as the base recording is very hard to describe. But once you've heard it, it definitely will stick in your memory. The history of such recordings is here. One of the first if not the first very popular recordings can be heard here: "The Big Hurt" from 1959 by Miss Toni Fisher. Another popular version of the same piece can be heard here: this one is by singer/guitarist Del Shannon and also includes the flanging effect. Credit for the invention of this effect goes to the guitar and multi-track recording wizard, Les Paul. He did his recording direct to disks with no tape involved.

A more technical discussion of the effect with graphics is here.

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