Saturday, 15 May 2010

27 mini solos

This is an up-to-date post, I've just finished what I'm talking about.

So I was working on 1.2.1, as described in previous posts.  I had the refrain tune recorded for the three voices (I tend to think of solo, lead instruments as being "voices", almost as if they were singers).  I also had the Bodhran backing which comes in at bit 4 (there are 9 bits of 9 bars, each followed by a refrain of 9 bars, the first three are quiet, the next three (4-6) are middling and the last three (7-9) are full on).

Time for some backing.  Two acoustic guitars (one for each ear).  I used a trick of using a capo on one to get a different tonal quality.  They come in at bit 2, quiet for 2 bits, then middle, then load, dropping out for the last refrain (which is just tunes).  Then I felt like the last three should have some bass - unfortunately I have left my bass at church.  What to do?  I wonder what it sounds like if you play the bass notes on the guitar with a plectrum, which will be an octave too high, and then process the sound to drop it an octave. Interesting, that's how it sounds, I quite like that so I'll keep it.  It sounds like a really bright bass with brand new round-wound strings and the treble turned up.  Finally some drums for the last 3 bits to go with the bass.  I used the same trick as before, programming the bass, snare and toms, and using the electronic kit to record the ride cymbal to give it more of a "live" feel.  Once again I found I didn't really like the hi-hat and the ride has a more "open" feel.  I guess I wasn't really after "tight".

And so there are 9 bits which need three solos each (one for each of the voices).  Each solo has a different chord sequence, but the three sequences in a bit are similar, so it's possible to use similar ideas over the three instruments.  This was fun, tracking through finding different ideas.  I've borrowed a proper MIDI controller keyboard from work (I'm thinking of getting one) and so I used this to record the solos.  Some are folky and jiggy and some are just meant to sound like people jamming solos.  Almost all of these were performed on the keyboard, with just the occasional bit of programming or tweaking to make it work.  My one-handed keyboard playing is definitely getting better, there were some relatively challenging bits (for me) but I thought I pulled them off.  

What I definitely try to do is replicate a style of playing you might get with a real instrument, but then maybe throw the occasional bit in which is untypical, or would be difficult or impossible on the real thing.  Well both accordion and organ are keyboard instruments already, but they tend to be played a little differently.  The pipes of course were more of a challenge with this, but thankfully the samples were very good indeed, which gave it good expressiveness - it might even fool a few people (who have not read this) into thinking that it's real pipes played live.  As it happens my wife has a set of Northumbrian bagpipes which sound quite similar to these.

So I've put it all together, and I quite like the effect.  ow to listen to it in sequence with the other sub-sections.  I still have some time today so I may be able to start 1.2.2

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