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On the Affective Potential of the Recorded Voice

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Affective science increasingly concludes that the voice is a powerful tool for emotional communication. The process of creating a finished product by means of studio recording gives listeners the opportunity to engage in experiences of the voice that are quite unlike that which would be achieved in a traditional concert hall or live performance and even more so when compared with day-to-day speech. The audio production chain, from sound capture using particular sound recording techniques, to specific effects processing affords the engineer (or the vocalist themself) unparalleled access to shape the recorded voice, and thereby enhance the affective impact of the voice for the listener. This paper expands upon previous work presented at the 139th AES Convention in New York defining affective potential and considers a number of examples where one of the points in the production chain has been exploited to increase the affective impact of the voice (either deliberately or by happenstance), suggesting that the affective sciences might find the analysis of such applications of the recorded voice a fertile ground for future investigation of perceived affective correlates and their underlying musical, or more generally, acoustic, cues.

JAES Volume 64 Issue 6 pp. 429-437; June 2016
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