Recording Challenges – Untranslatable files and missing mic clips.

So after having composed an atmospheric, moody choral piece I needed to find a trick on how to record it with the appropriate free tempo, low rits and dramatic accelerandos that make a piece like this really sparkle.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that the idea of ‘cheating’ a click track, by manipulating the notation software using many different changes of tempo and adding a woodblock click had been suggested to me. And that is what I did!

final draft recording cheaty copy-Soprano_1-2.png

Once I had this perfect I exported the parts as .wav files with the intention of adding these to my recording software. However this is where I hit a snag. I couldn’t get Ableton Live to work for me with the tracks properly, I even tried them in midi form but that wen’t even crazier. So I made a last minute decision to change to Garage Band. BUT I couldn’t get my midi or wav files into Garage Band. So what did I do? I help my mic up to my computer and recorded my tracks into the Garage Band. The sung to those click tracks and deleted them at the end. Not particularly glamorous or high tech, but for my purposes it worked!

So moving onto my actual recording set up. I had a borrowed iPad (one day I will get one when I have some money to burn), an Ultravoice Behringer Dynamic Mic, an iRig Pre, and a mic stand with the wrong sized mic clip. I ended up doing a little improvising on the mic stand and made it work. In the end my “studio” looked like this, with me reading my score off my computer and recording into the iPad.


I actually felt a lot more comfortable using GarageBand, I do love it’s simple format. I also liked being able to add a little more space and less compression to my vocals using the ‘Big Room’ presetting.

The last hurdle came just as I was finishing up recording. My voice, which had been in serious use all day, started to give out. So unfortunately the recording is not as tight as I would like it, but singing the alto part finished my voice off for the night and recording the slightly out of phase section in the middle wasn’t a viable option.

My composition is now posted to Soundcloud and you can access it here, and I tweeted about it (and at Eric Whitacre, let’s see if he responds!) so it’s out in the world now. I feel pretty proud of it, but I will do one more blog post to explain my journey as a “composer” this semester soon as this blog post is way too long.

I hope you enjoy listening to my composition, and if anyone wants to perform it please contact me, I’d be so excited to hear it live.


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