Class #2 Listening Exercise…the stuff and substance of music

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Kitchener Studio Project
Monday, Jan 20/2014
Sounds of a group of singers dancing & drumming in a communal celebration. Thoughts that came to mind while listening:
WHERE DOES THE SOUND RESONATE IN THE BODY?
THE GROUP IS THE INSTRUMENT
THE SOUND IS OPEN TO THE SKY
BUT IS CONTAINED WITHIN A CIRCLE OF MOVING PEOPLE
INTERSECTION OF HIGHER NOTES
USING THE VOICE AS AN INSTRUMENT
USING THE BODY AS AN INSTRUMENT
EVERYONE PROVIDING A CONTRIBUTION
FEELS LIKE A HEARTBEAT
SINGING DRUMS IN THE CENTRE
STORY UNITES
RHYTHM IS A POETIC LANGUAGE
CHANTING IS A GROUP RHYTHM
ORCHESTRA OF VOICES, CHOIR OF SOUNDS
 

                                                                                                                                                     RANDOM CLASS NOTES FOR FOLLOW-UP:

DEPTH OF FIELD IS SUPER IMPORTANT TO RECORDING.  DEPTH OF FIELD IS CAPTURED…NOT CREATED IN POST

LISTEN TO:  TOWER OF POWER (METERS?)  NEW ORLEANS STYLE DRUMMING THAT CREATES A SENSE OF SPACE

IF YOU CAN MASTER “ONE MIKE” RECORDING, THE REST IS EASY
THE ORIGINAL TRACKS TO LAY DOWN ARE REFERRED TO AS “BED TRACKS”

THE SCAFFOLDING THAT HOLDS THE MUSIC TOGETHER:

CONCEPT OR THEME

MELODY – (2ND MOST IMPORTANT QUALITY & WHAT MOST SOUND ENGINEERS STRIVE FOR)

RHTHYM – (#1)

  • IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE IN DRUMMING, IT IS HARD TO RECOVER, OTHER INSTRUMENTAL ERRORS ARE FORGIVABLE
  • THEREFORE DRUMMER MUST BE ABLE TO KEEP TIME  TO MAKE THE RECORDING PROJECT WORK (& AVOID TIME CONSUMING REMEDIES)
  • KICK AND SNARE USED TO KEEP A NATURAL FLOW
  • “TIGHTNESS” IS RECOGNIZED AS A PRO QUALITY, & IS RADIO FRIENDLY

 HARMONY – (3RD)

  • ANOTHER MELODY
  • PADS THE NOTE MAKES IT RICHER, FLUFFIER; DIAD/CHORD/CHORD EXTENSIONS
  • INTERWEAVING, COMPLIMENTING IN THE SAME KEY

 LYRICS

  • THEY TAKE THE MOST TIME TO PRODUCE (FOLLOWED BY RHYTHM)

 DENSITY

  • HOW MUCH IS GOING ON?
  • TECHNIQUES INCLUDE FLATTENING (OFFSET 3-8 MILLISECONDS)  & ADDING MORE VOCALS
  • FLANGING & DELAY (DIVERSION OFF THE ORIGINAL SOURCE)

 INSTRUMENTATION

  • YOU EVALUATE YOUR PERFORMER (FATIGUE/STRENGTH) AND YOU MAKE INSTRUMENT CHOICES FROM THERE
    • THE MATERIALS THAT INSTRUMENTS ARE CONSTRUCTED WITH HAVE CHANGED (MAHAOGANY TO MAPLE, ETC)
    • PICK THE RIGHT INSTRUMENT…IT CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING

SONG STRUCTURE

LISTEN TO TOM PETTY – WALLFLOWER
 
PERFORMANCE

QUALITY OF THE GEAR & THE RECORDING

THE MIX

MASTERING

  •  TAKING YOUR FINAL MIX AND MANIPULATING IT, MAKING IT “LARGE”
  • LOUDNESS WARS?

PLAYBACK –  WHAT IS THE END MEDIA THAT THE PROJECT IS GOING TO BE LISTENED ON???  WORK BACKWARDS FROM THERE

RECORDING BIT AND SAMPLE RATE?

  • LOSSY (MP3 & AAC) VS LOSTLESS (WAVE & AIFF)
  • LOSING QUALITY OF AUDIO WHEN FILES GET COMPRESSED
  • CD QUALITY IS AT 16 BITS 44.1 SAMPLE RATE VERSES MP3’S WHICH ARE 128 & NOW 320

REVERB & ECHO:

SOUND IS DRAWING OUT THE ROOM (LIKE AN ARTIST) LETTING YOU KNOW WHAT THE SURROUNDING IS

WORKING WITH ROOMS IS AS IMPORTANT AS MICROPHONE TECHNIQUE

  • TEST OUT THE MID RANGE IN A ROOM
  • DO YOU WANT TO USE THE ROOM FULL SIZE?  HOW DO YOU DEADEN THE ROOM?
  •  COUNT OUT THE REVERB TIME (1SEC, 1.5 SEC?)
  • PADDING THE FLOOR DEADENS SOUND
  • BACKGROUND NOISE?  UNWANTED SOUNDS? LISTEN FOR FINE DETAILS

HUMIDITY & TEMPERATURE:

  • SOUND TRAVELS FASTER IN HEAT
  • HUMID SOUND IS WARMER, THICKER, LOOSER…INSTRUMENTS MAY SOUND A BIT OUT OF TUNE
  • AT 500Hz AND UNDER – HUMIDLY ROUNDS OUT THE SOUND BUBBLE

500-5000Hz ARE THE MID RANGE FREQUENCIES THAT ARE MOST PROBLEMATICAL,  ABOVE 5000 YOU ENCOUNTER VOCAL ISSUES,   BELOW THAT LIKE 40 – 100 (SUBS)

1000Hz IS THE HOLY GRAIL OF FREQUENCIES – EASY TO HEAR

ASSIGNMENTS FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. BLINDFOLDED;  SPEND 15 MIN A DAY  LISTENING TO AMBIANCE AND TAKE MENTAL NOTES – WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU HEAR
  2. QUIZ– RESEARCH 10 FACTS/FINDINGS ABOUT DAW AND POST ON WORDPRESS SITE BEFORE NEXT CLASS
  3. DOWNLOAD MIXCRAFT
  4. PERSONAL BLOG AND RECORDING DUE NEXT CLASS ALSO
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First Recording! Othello Act 5 Scene 2 – Desdemona’s Death_Take 1

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SSS Sunday EvenThe Death Of Desdemona - Recording_1ing Live! 
What’s this? Another Gorilla Repertory Theatre offering?  Take One
 
 
 
 
Desdemona’s Death:   https://soundcloud.com/sue-cunha/othello-act-5-scene-2
 Trying to simulate a podcast environment using two microphones through a Behringer 1204USB mixer connected to an Asus Eee running Audacity.  Microphone One at chin level on a stand recording Krissy B reading from Othello and Microphone Two suspended from the ceiling approximately 5ft apart from Microphone One and at roughly the same height.  Microphone Two is picking up the accompanying guitar at 3ft from the sound hole
 
 
 

Critical Listening Questions Kinda Sorta Practice#1

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dissect an audio example, write down and identify audio characteristics  OK i am gonna start with a Youtube video of a live performance so i don’t have to face any technical questions

Music chosen: 

Estas Tonne …Cuban Dance & Rhapsody in 1 (2011)    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n7DIEZBb5U

Is the example bright, muddy, thin, warm, or maybe low or high in volume?  bright!

What is unique about the recording? Meaning does one thing pop out to you.  It travels

Can you guess the sample rate and bit depth? Or if analog, what kind of tape and ips? If vinyl what rpm? Maybe MP3? If MP3 then what did the example start at before it became an MP3?  omg will i be able to answer this question after the course?

Was it a live off the floor recording, or tracked? Both?  O.K. its live…(fixed)

What’s the temperature where the recording took place?  Probably hot under stage lights, no?

What is the vibe or mood of the example?  flowing alternately yet intuitively from joyful & carefree to arousing & aggressive

Do the sounds define a place for you to experience?  a place of aliveness and passion

How could you use the example in your own work?  it would be quite the workout

Warm Up

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January 12, 2014 by Introduction to Audio asks…

1. What is your relationship with music?  It’s a gateway, a vehicle of expression and source of energy

2. When do you like to listen to music?  Whenever/wherever i have space to move and feel safe enough to sing

3. What kind of sounds/music do you like to record? once recorded music for an audition (musical theatre)

4. What musical instruments do you play or would you like to play? (Are you a musician or inspiring)? percussion (castanets/tambourine/hard shoe)  would like to play harmonica

5. What period of your life did music affect you the most? And why? music has always been adding colour to the play-by-play:   growing up with ethnic music, singing karaoke in the basement to big sis’ K-tel & Columbia House Record Club Collections, coming of age in the post disco nightclub turned indie punk speakeasy movement, raising kids with sharon, lois & bram (aaahh!!), finding healing from chronic injuries through music, movement & meditation

6. Do you listen to music when you are having overwhelming feelings?  yes

(AKA: anger, fear, happiness, depression, etc.)

7. Do you do any physical actives when you listen to music? without fail

8. Do you find the process of recording music non-threatening or threatening? Meaning do you have any fear around recording.  sort of…more challenging than threatening methinks

9. Do you use music to relax?  yes

10. Do you use different kinds of music to help aid your recording process? i hope to

11. What do you do to help express yourself in a recording? Do you have a sound?  dance? contra beat/harmony?

12. Is music important to you? How many times a day do you listen to music?  very important…listen to music several times a day

13. How often was music played in your home growing up? Was there any recording performed by your family?  music was played at social events and pretty much every week a new Columbia House Record arrived.  Learned keyboards when the folks brought home an electric boat anchor from the piano shop.

14. What is your favourite style of recording? acoustic guitar

15. Was one of your family members involved in recording music growing up? If so, did you participate with them? no & no

16. If you were active in music growing up, how does that make you feel towards music today? took a liking to piano in school but the folks got sold into buying an “Orcana” organ which i disliked.  Still dislike the sound of it or any recording that reminds me of its distinctive sounds

17. What kind of music did your family listen/play/record when you were growing up? And what kind was it? Ethnic music at social events, hymns & carols

18. Is there a type of music that comforts you? Have you ever looked into how it was recorded? acoustic guitar, harmonica & drumming

19. Is there a style of recording that gives you an unsettling feeling? Or maybe a type of music? not a fan of Rap or Death Metal

20. Do you have a set way of getting your music? Please Explain.Example – a. record store  b. download  c. friends  d. radio  Vinyl at retro music stores, downloads, online purchases direct from the artist, friends

21. Is there a style of recording out there that seems beneficial to your moods?  i have many (moods) 🙂  but i do tend to avoid music that travels to dark places of the soul

22. Is there a style of recording that you love and crave to hear or experience? If so, what and why?  Love drumming that leads to interpretive movement

23. What piece of music would best represent your life?  tough question…will have to think on that