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Recording Songs

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GUEST,Claire 22 May 03 - 02:12 PM
GUEST 22 May 03 - 05:09 PM
Cornflake 22 May 03 - 05:20 PM
bradfordian 23 May 03 - 03:17 PM
michaelr 23 May 03 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Claire 23 May 03 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Al 24 May 03 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Sharon G 24 May 03 - 11:27 AM
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Subject: Recording Songs
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 22 May 03 - 02:12 PM

Having just completed the last vocal on my band's new cd, I have been struck by how differently the recording process has been for me this time than last. For one thing, I have felt more in control and happier with the results. I wonder if that is because of experience or the approach that I took, which was much more forgiving.

For this cd, I laid a scratch vocal down with the band, but then overdubbed the final vocal on every song. Also, during the overdub, I did not attempt to do the entire song in one go, but did it piece by piece got it right and then moved on. If I needed to punch in a line, that was fine with me. I sang the a capella piece straight through to keep the continuity.

On the last cd, I would have considered this use of overdubbing and punching a cop out because I "should" be able to sing it through flawlessly. Everytime I did it, I felt a twinge of failure. I had preconceptions that doing it in one go made it more authentic. Now, I view recording as just that... creating a recording... not doing a show. I have learned to come back in matching the spirit, tone, and breath, and I consider this a skill. I also have the words in front of me when I record, and find this gives one part of my brain a rest so that I can concentrate on singing. By doing a song bit by bit, I give full attention to the part I am singing and stop worrying about the entire song. That frees me and helps me sing better. I think I made a better product this way and after all I am making a cd, and who is watching how I do it.

So, this said... I really look forward to hearing what others have done and if they have made transitions this way, or the other.

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Subject: RE: Recording Songs
Date: 22 May 03 - 05:09 PM


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Subject: RE: Recording Songs
From: Cornflake
Date: 22 May 03 - 05:20 PM

First time I punched and edited like crazy. Wound up with a recording that was relatively error-free but also somewhat sterile. Little real human feeling in it.

Second time I went for more of a "live" feel. I got an unsatisfying hodgepodge with uncorrected errors that now drive me nuts when I listen.

On the current project, I've kind of compromised. I've punched and edited where necessary but I've stopped if I got the feeling that the voice or instrument had reached the point where it was just going through the motions. And, as you suggest, you get better, so I haven't needed to punch and edit nearly as much. This one is much cleaner than the second project and much warmer than the first. About where I want it.

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Subject: RE: Recording Songs
From: bradfordian
Date: 23 May 03 - 03:17 PM

Could you explain the term "punching"?

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Subject: RE: Recording Songs
From: michaelr
Date: 23 May 03 - 03:51 PM

"Punching" refers to replacing part of a recorded track; e.g. if you've recorded a bad note in an otherwise good track, the engineer will activate record mode (punch in) before that note while you sing or play along with the track, and deactivate (punch out) after the note. The bad note is thereby replaced with another (hopefully better) one.


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Subject: RE: Recording Songs
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 23 May 03 - 04:41 PM

I thought this had fallen off the list for good, and I couldn't help wondering why. Seems like people would have strong opinions about how they record, since it is such a personal and intense thing to do. Also, instrumentalists go through the same sort of process.

Cornflake, I know just what you mean about having things sound artificial. It is really important to sort of embrace the minor imperfections to the get the feel of the song right and to avoid over dubbing.


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Subject: RE: Recording Songs
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 24 May 03 - 10:11 AM

I'll take a live recording over a multi-track any day, warts and all. There's an electricity there when musicians play together that is absent when they are playing to a previously recorded track. Want an example? Listen to the new CD by the Foghorn String Band from Portland. They gathered around a single recording mic one weekend, and produced a great CD. Your ear just has to get used to the now-unusual sound of live recording. It sounds like they are sitting in your living room playing some tunes!


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Subject: RE: Recording Songs
From: GUEST,Sharon G
Date: 24 May 03 - 11:27 AM

I've been right there in the studio with Claire while she did her songs...

I know what Al was saying about the live sound, but I have enough trouble playing consistently when I'm not stressed by the recording process! If all of our takes were going to be live- with no chance to fix mistakes, it would triple the stress on me to get it right every time. I'd feel guilty every time the whole band had to stop and re-record because I made a mistake, and I'd make more mistakes...

Sometimes it works to do a really great take with the band all together- and sometimes it seems easier to have a base track, mainly rhythm, and add in more of the melody or vocals afterward


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