TAPE ECHO

North Suburban HAMMOND ORGAN Society

Here's a simple Flash animation based upon the diagram on the previous page.

   Note that this will note be available on a cellphone; you must view this page on a computer to see this diagram.

When you click on the play button, you'll hear a brief snapping sound. At the same time, the signal path will be highlighted in red on the diagram. Then on the horizontal line that represents the tape, you'll see a red blip that will move to the right. When it gets under the playback head, you'll see a red highlight of the signal path as a new signal gets recorded on the tape and at the same time you'll hear the first echo repeat. A new red blip will appear on the tape and begin to move to the right. As the sound echoes, these actions will be repeated. Meanwhile notice that each successive repeat of the snap is quieter than the preceding until it finally fades out. The red blips on the tape represent the signals recorded onto it. In this example, each successive repeat is reduced in volume by 50 percent. The last repeat is too faint to add any appreciable signal to the tape.

This flash animation will show you exactly how a signal is recorded on the tape and subsequently played back at a reduced level, repeating until it fades out. Note; Flash does not work on all cellphones. For best results, f\view this on a desktop or laptop computer.

This flash animation will show you exactly how a signal is recorded on the tape and subsequently played back at a reduced level, repeating until it fades out. Note; Flash does not work on all cellphones. For best results, f\view this on a desktop or laptop computer.

This flash animation will show you exactly how a signal is recorded on the tape and subsequently played back at a reduced level, repeating until it fades out. Note; Flash does not work on all cellphones. For best results, f\view this on a desktop or laptop computer.

The first famous performer who used tape echo as far as I can determine was the excellent guitarist, Les Paul. Also as far as I can determine, Ken Griffin was the first person to use it with electronic organs. Repeating echo has been and continues to be a useful effect for many types of popular music, adding a nice, snappy, bouncy effect to certain types of music. At certain speeds, it's possible to play in step with the echo, and then the repeat echoes add to the rhythm of the music being played. If a musician plays in step with the echo, then the number of repeats should be substantially limited to no more than four or five repeats. A long trail of repeat echoes, if one is playing in step with the echo, can quickly go from being a really neat effect to becoming an intrusion, just as allowing any repeat echo effect to appear on bass tones will usually result in a muddy effect.

As we reduce the echo delay time, we can get away with more repeats. Like regular reverberation, a trail of echoes that becomes too long, however, will tend to blur the music. All of these various effects should be used sparingly to add a little extra special effect here and there. Like dessert, however, it's easy to use too much. I know that I certainly speak from experience when I mention that when I was a teenager and I first learned how to make tape echo and add it to my own playing, I drowned everything I played in a sea of echoes until an older and wiser musician informed me of my serious stylistic mistake. I find now that repeat echo should almost always be very subtle; a gentle background effect that does not intrude in any way upon the music.

 

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