Notes from the Shore

Work, marriage, kids and music

Recording Session: Violin

I had my third scheduled recording session Sunday after church. My wife took the kids out to lunch and shopping so Dena and I would have a quiet house to lay down a few violin tracks.

We worked on three tracks today – first, the fiddle line for Simple Gifts. This arrangement was the subject of my first two recording sessions – dulcimer and then recorder. This time we added the fiddle counterpoint to the recorder melody. It was the most challenging of the three songs and took a couple of takes to get what we needed – but it was worth it.

Second we revisited a song that I published several years ago (but will be appearing on the upcoming  project): This Is My Father’s World. I had been happy with the solo violin line that I programmed in, but knew it could be better – I was right. The soaring line Dena played is going to take the whole song to a new level.

Finally, we worked a song that I haven’t mentioned yet. It will be the penultimate track on the project, a sweet intimate version of How Great Thou Art, as a piano and violin duet.  The violin portion of the recording went really well – we took it down in two takes (and maybe only needed one). However, the piano part didn’t go so well.

My digital piano was at church (where I tend to leave it rather than schlepping it back and forth every several days), so I needed to record the piano part using my MIDI controller. The biggest problem – my pedal is wired backwards for the A-50, so press down to damp the notes, release to let them ring. I figured I would just not use the pedal and let them ring, since it wasn’t too distracting for this type of music.

In the end, I couldn’t accommodate the unweighted keys (i.e. feels like an organ, not a piano) and the lack of practice, so my part will need to be replaced. But Dena laid down a couple of good lines that I can work with. I may bring my piano back from church in a week or two and try again, or I may wait until my Steinway recording session later this summer. Actually, I think I will wait…

This screenshot shows Dena’s How Great Thou Art recording session. Her violin is on top and my keyboard MIDI is on the bottom. We recorded without a metronome, so the two recordings are different lengths. If I want to mix and match between the two takes I’ll have to slide them around so they line up.

The dark purple tracks are Dena’s three takes for Father’s World. All the takes were pretty good, so editing should be a breeze. She said she really liked my arrangement – especially the part using the G-flats in the middle section. Go figure… I’ll mix up a scratch track for her, but won’t re-publish until the final mix before I send the entire project off to mastering. (I’m planning on re-mixing all the tracks with some new tools before I’m finished).

Finally, here are the takes from Simple Gifts. She nailed the beginning of the piece, but wanted a few more takes for the jig section at the end. This one will be fun.

Now I have a lot of editing to do (see last two posts…)

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