About a year ago it was suggested to the authors that a study of the spectral amplitude distribution of music as recorded on Compact Discs (CDs) would be interesting. The purpose of the analysis reported here is to give some insight into actual recording practice and to aid in the search for better ways to reproduce music. : This study was performed in the Electroacoustics Laboratory of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to determine the spectral amplitude distribution and the spectral energy of musical selections taken from digital CDs. The analysis method is similar to that described in "Absolute Amplitudes and Spectra of Certain Musical Instruments and Orchestras," published by Sivian, Dunn, and White in 1931. For the CD analysis a selection length of 25 seconds was chosen, processing of data was done in one-eighth-second intervals, and octave bandpass filters were used for spectral analysis. Modern hardware and custom software were used to record and analyze data automatically. The results are displayed in graphs of the sectral amplitude distribution and spectral energy for 30 CD selections.
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