Field recording is the term used for an audio recording produced outside of a recording studio.
Field recordings can be either of two varieties. Field recording of natural sounds, also called phonography (a term chosen to illustrate its similarities to photography), was originally developed as a documentary adjunct to research work in the field and foley work for film. With the introduction of high-quality portable recording equipment, it has subsequently become an evocative artform in itself. In the 1970s both processed and natural phonographic recordings (pioneered by the Environments series) became popular.
"Field recordings" may also refer to simple monaural or stereo recordings taken of musicians in familiar and casual surroundings, such as the ethnomusicology recordings pioneered by John Lomax, Nonesuch Records and Vanguard Records.