Blogging today about a couple of pieces of news, music related. First off, I am editing a new CD. This is a collection of four pieces for violin, horn, and piano, which I recorded last summer with two brilliant colleagues, violinist Renee Jolles and pianist Phillip Bush. This is a traditional CD (compared to the last one), with pieces composed by composers and recording done take by take. For those who are keeping track or have an interest, the pieces are by Michael Finnissy, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Jeff Scott, and John Harbison. All four pieces are great.
Imagine that you are in a recording studio. You warm up, tune up, then you’re ready to go. You decide how much music to play in the first run (maybe 30 measures, or about 40 seconds worth). Your producer (the person running the session), says “Take one” and you play. You do it again a bunch of times, fixing mistakes, sometimes screwing up, sometimes playing well. Now imagine this process happening over and over again, over the course of three days, moving slowly through all the pieces until everything is recorded, in gazillions of takes.
The next phase is the editing. That is where you stitch the pieces back together, using the best material you’ve got. Maybe, in the opening section, the first seven beats of the third take were good, then the next two beats of take 12 were good, then the rest of take 2 was good. You make these edits on the computer. Note that editing used to be done with actual tape. To make a splice, you would physically cut the tape with a razor blade, and attach it (tape it, actually) to the good part of the next tape. To make the splice less noticeable, you could cut at an angle, so the first take was trailing out as the second was trailing in (this is called a “crossfade”). All this is now done on the computer, so the razor blades can stay in the bathroom where they belong. I have learned the basics of the software, and just made my first splice. An exciting moment for me! Only around 59 minutes and 53 seconds of music yet to put together…
On to the second update. The grant that I received last year to construct an electro-acoustic studio at the School of Music at UW has permitted me to acquire a massive amount of equipment. In fact, I’ve done most of the purchasing, and the room we have selected for the studio is under renovation. That means that my office is currently housing all our new stuff, still in boxes.
The next steps: first, the renovation must be completed. I’ve been promised a completion date of August 15, 2017, at the latest. Then, I have to figure out how to set everything up. Where everything goes will depend on where everything else goes, if you know what I mean. The space needs a flow and logic. Once everything is set in place, I need to learn how to use it all. Enough said about that. Then, the grand opening is September 15.
So, I better get back to my editing now. Lots to do!