Our third day recording today. We got the vocals done using a Gemini mic with its own power supply and also a couple more guitar tracks. Its coming together. Still more mixing and editing to be done.
We played as ensembles last week (19th Feb).
We had a free choice what we would do and we discussed this and went for Bb blues. I was playing alongside Kieran who is brilliant on the clarinet. It was interesting. We both play melody instruments and so we had backing tracks. We tried playing the tune a few times and then followed with question and answer taking four bars each at a time. Finally we did a longer duet.
I found it really helpful to play with someone else. You can't help but bounce off their riffs and rhythms.
Kieran is very comfortable with the clarinet and blues and tends to play quite fast riifs . This is great as I try to answer with something similar (and probably faster than I would play).
All this playing the blues means I have been trying to listen more to it again. What a guy Muddy Water is. And American blueswoman Bonnie Raitt is one of my long time favourites.
Anyway our tune is based on Tenor Madness so I have been listening to that too. Most of the recordings are faster than I have been playing them. I have been practising the tune. There is a tricky section that doesn't go on the fiddle well. I am also concentrating on trying not to start on the root and I feel I have the hang of this now It is quite tantalising as i get more comfortable.
We have two more weeks to go and will be performing to each other.
Practising scales as usual for the Bb blues as well as those for Cantaloupe Island and Watermelon man.
More protools today ahead of studio work on Monday. We have some vocals to finish recording. We did some overdubbing last week for guitar and bass. These will replace the guide tracks. We had a bot of merging to do today. There has also been a lot of editing to do which is very time consuming. Hopefully we will get the last recording done on Monday (vocals) and then it will be down to editing and mixing.
I am playing three new pieces for my recital in May. Back to very slow practice to try to get each of the pieces clean. There are triplestops and high positions. I am playing a Lament this time so I am working out the ornamentation. I will probably try an improvised section in the middle.
I have been practising the bowing patterns and almost have it. But the strathspey bowing is difficult with stops on each bow stroke. Its hard to do this while keeping the tone. Gets a bit harsh sounding unless you are very careful. I am practising first without the notes and warming up by getting the tone and rhythm right before actually trying to play the tune.
I am practicing string crossing and doing scales with vibrato. I am a late vibrato learner. It isn't used much by many folk players and some people feel it shouldn't be used at all. But, actually, many of the famous fiddlers, for example, Scott Skinner were first classically trained. They probably would have used vibrato when it was appropriate.
I am also playing a borders reel. It sits under the fingers better than the reel I played last time.
We are playing The Ghosts of Brandenburg and Fiddle Faddle. I have been trying spending time to get the bowing patterns of Ghosts of Brandenburg. There are some quite tricky and fast sections. The bowing seems quite odd to me at times coming from the folk side.I still find the sight reading and bars of rest tricky. I like the piece though and it feels as though its coming together. Its fun to play. I don't really like Fiddle Faddle. It might be good for those playing solos. I'd describe it as a classical sort of fiddle piece rather than actual folk music which wouldn't usually go into the high positions etc. The second part is basically syncopated crotchets all the way through with the odd run and pizzicato here and there. Ah well. Its tricky to get it tight.
There are also folk band pieces which are good and Improvisation on top of that. I will be performing the Ghosts of Brandenburg and folk band pieces in March.
And I have been playing in the Canon's Gait session on and off. Its a lot of playing and I have developed a sore shoulder and neck. I can still play but I'm trying to give it a bit of rest.
Practising targeting thirds. I have been playing the mandolin a bit. I am getting the hang of not playing the root all the time - I find landing on the seventh sounds quite cool. I have been playing over the backing track quite a lot. I have spent a bit of time transcribing this and that. But much of this seems to start on the root - which we are to avoid.
I have been looking at the circle of fifths arpeggios we were given. I am not sure this is much help when actually improvising though. To go from the chord IV to V or vice versa obviously isn't actually a step of fifth.
My last performance (last Thursday) was a performance of a graphic score - Per San Pietro Martire (Saint Peter the Martyr).
It was interesting to play. It was written by Colin Holter and has five sections. There are notes prescribed (four lines) for any instruments and voice. Dynamics are rather like a cityscape skyline or blobs in the case of the base. Each section is timed but the note value is for each player's own interpretation.
I enjoyed the performance. It allows you to play uninhibited by the scoring or by what others might expect (if they know the music). Each musician's interpretation differs but within a overall framework. There is cohesion as we move from section to section and we all start and finish together. Its also interesting in that the score used quarter tones.
The last section is only three notes and is depicted by a large hatchet - St Peter's beheading!
Its not the first time I've played a graphic score but the last one looked quite different. I have also written a graphic score and performance notes called "Self determination" . Again is looks nothing like this one.
We were editing The River today, using Protools, cleaning up drum tracks and doing a first rough mix. The computer froze half way through. Got the tech guy to sort it but we had to restart. Luckily Protools auto saves so we didn't lose too much work. Takes a very long time. Still not finished
The Young Trad musician of the year was announced on 3 Feb. All the finalists were great. It was won by Paddy Callaghan - a melodeon player. Hannah Fisher, a fiddler was also among the finalists. Here she is below.
First day in the studio recording a track - The River. It was interesting. Hard work. We had a lot of miking up to do for the Drum kit (10 tracks) , guitar and bass, several more on top. It felt quite time presssured. We only had three hours. No lunch - starving by the end. But we got some good live takes. Next is a bit of editing and then we will be back in the studio overdubbing vocals and guitar parts.