Posted: February 19th, 2022

Acoustic Vs. Electric Instruments






Acoustic Vs. Electric Recordings

Sound recording has advanced in waves from the acoustics era between 1877 and 1925, followed by the electric era between 1925 and 1945 (SDSpike, 2014). There are several differences between these two types of recording evident from the music sugar, which was originally recorded acoustically in 1927 by the Bennie Moten band. The same bad recorded the same song electrically in 193 2 and called it ‘The Moten Swing.’ The electrical recording changed the feel of the music, specifically the rhythms such as the accent, by emphasizing the note to make the music louder and longer (The Music Studio, 2018). The rhythm was also advanced to regular pulsation, as exhibited in the music by Bennie Moten Band. The recording locations of sugar by Bennie Moten Band changed with the changes in instruments used. The Bennie Moten Band initially used mechanical means. However, in recording ‘The Moten Swing,’ Electrical means were used, including microphones and amplifiers. 

The tone color of music is the unique sound of instruments sued. In the case of the Bennie Moten band, there are several advances made during the transition from the acoustic era to the electric era. The Moten Swing song, for instance, adopted several electrical instruments such as guitar, piano, bass. (The Music Studio, 2018) Other instruments included the Joe Keyes, Dee Stewart, Eddie Durham, trombone/guitar, and trombone. The additional instruments also included amplifiers and microphones, all of which changed the tone color of the swing Moten from the initial sugar by the Bennie Moten band. The changes in music recording came with changes to the dances (The Music Studio, 2018). The acoustic era dance was ragtime, which included the song “sugar” by Bennie Moten Band. Changes to recording from acoustic to electric also resulted in changes in dance. 

The song “Swing Moten” by Bennie Moten was implicit in popularizing Jazz dance which was also followed by swing dance which had connections to both Jazz and ragtime. Although the evolutions of Jazz emerged among African Americans in plantations, the changes in music recording were the basis for its popularization (The Music Studio, 2018). The use of advanced electric musical instruments made several changes to the different aspects of the music, including the rhythm, which supports the Jazz dances instead of the ragtime dance. Jazz dance came with different attires, including pleated trousers, hats, skirts, dresses, and shorts. The dancers also hold their bodies in certain ways while dancing (The Music Studio, 2018). The whole body is engaged, leading to movements that immolate the syncopated foot actions. The torso includes forward, and the center of gravity is lowered. 

The replacement of several musical instruments characterized the transformation from the acoustic era to the electric era in the recording. Some of these instruments include drums, bass, trumpets, and saxophones. More advanced instruments such as piano were introduced, while the Bennie Moten band retained violin during the recording of “Swing Moten.” Drums, trumpets, and saxophones are easier to hear than other musical instruments due to their tones and volumes (SDSpike, 2014). Other instruments such as Joe Keyes, trombone/guitar, Dee Stewart, Eddie Durham, and the trombone used in the electric era are much harder to hear, especially when all other instruments are played simultaneously. Other subjective differences include the originality of the recording; the acoustic recordings are much simpler and require musical instruments played by the musicians (The Music Studio, 2018). However, the electrical era recoding will require additional accessories such as amplifiers, especially when using electrical guitars (SDSpike, 2014).



SDSpike (Director). (2014). Acoustic VS Electric recording. [Motion Picture]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATvN4I70RTs 

The Music Studio. (2018, Mar 21). Acoustic Vs. Electric Instruments: The Endless Debate. Retrieved Jan 12, 2021, from The Music Studio: https://www.themusicstudio.ca/blog/2018/03/1022/






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