notes from the shore

Adventures in Home Recording

Back to Work

Brass Choir 2005So, I’ve spent most of the summer out working on a highway for 10+ hours a day. I basically didn’t do any music from the end of April to, well, yesterday.

I did take a notebook in and worked a little on songwriting over my lunches, but the total effort expended was truly negligible. Fortunately, that negligible effort was enough to get me over the hump on the lyrics for a song that I started writing over three years ago.

If you take a look at the photo on my CD cover from the live worship CD, it’s a picture of a country church. This is the old Bethel Church, somewhere in Missouri. The photo was taken by a friend of mine and many of his ancestors preached at or attended this church through the 18 and 1900’s. It is now sitting empty and abandoned.

The photo, however, inspired the cover for the CD project, and a song. The jist of the song is the story of a young boy who would spend summers at his Grandfather’s farm, and his Grandfather was also the pastor of that church.

I started with theĀ first four lines of the chorus, and that’s all I had for over a year. Then one day when I took the kids to the park, I took a notebook with me and wrote the first two verses and the rest of the chorus. Finally I wrote the bridge and last verse over this summer (actually sat down and did it in one sitting under a maple tree outside of our field office).

Last night I found myself with some free time and no family in the house, so I took the opportunity to sit down and work out the melody. I’ve actually been thinking about the melody for several weeks now (ever since I finished the lyrics). I worked for a while at the piano, and then moved downstairs to the music computer (which bears a strong resemblance to the kid’s Internet computer) and put the first verse and the chorus into Finale in lead sheet format.

After a while working on that, I switched over to note entry for O Sacred Head, Now Wounded, which some of you may remember is a brass chorale I’ve been working on for the new CD project. Thus, the photo at the beginning of this entry.

It’s tough playing 8-part polyphonic music one instrument at a time. At least, when there’s a certain rubato feel to the tempo. I’m using my Yamaha WX-5 to play in the parts, rather than a keyboard, because I want the volume and timbre changes to occur very naturally (why I bought the WX-5 in the first place). While it’s tough, so far I’m pleased with the results.

Last news – with some excess cash this summer I picked up two pieces of software: Garritan Steinway and the new Garritan Personal Orchestra 4. Unfortunately, I can’t use either one, as my music computer has a full hard drive! Not to worry, I’m in the process of building a dedicated music computer that won’t be on the Internet, and will have a 500 gig audio drive. All I need now is to get an operating system installed and I’m im business! So, where did I stash that XP install CD-rom…

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August 6, 2009 - Posted by | Hymn CD Project, Production Diary | , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. […] For my own songs, I have two that are written and require demo (or better) recordings. One is the gospel-influenced Amen, and the other is the folk-ballad The Old Bethel Church. […]

    Pingback by The Agenda « playing in peoria | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] song completely without a musical instrument in front of me (The Old Bethel Church, mentioned in this post), and I had the melody for that one in my head as I was writing it – and I had to […]

    Pingback by Every Day « playing in peoria | July 6, 2010 | Reply


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