Monday, January 28, 2013

A productive Saturday

Despite having a CPAP machine, I haven't been sleeping very well lately, so it was a pleasure to have an excellent night's sleep on Friday night. I awoke on Saturday with an energy which has long been absent and shortly put that energy to good use.

The Occupational Therapist wanted me to add a field to a screen; when I enquired further, it transpired that what she needed was a new table and three screens to accompany it. No problem.

Then I cooked a delicious lunch of grilled St Peter's Fish fillets along with mashed potatoes and green beans.

In the afternoon, I recorded the vocals to the Van der Graaf Generator song, "Pilgrims", which I had sequenced several months ago but never completed. At first, I had found it too hard to sing, and afterwards, for a few months, I couldn't sing at all. I wouldn't say that it was easy to record the vocals to this song (it lasts for ten and a half minutes, and there is singing for almost ten minutes) but at least I was able to perform this time. I discovered that it was easier to sing the verses first and then the choruses; I would sing a part, check and correct it, and then move on to the next part.

In the evening, I was able for the first time to burn a complete cd of my VdGG covers; listening to it on the stereo in the living room was an interesting experience. I discovered that the bass was too loud on one track as were the drums in one section of 'Pilgrims', whereas my voice sounded slightly strange and needed to be louder here and there.

Yesterday I did some remixing although I have yet to burn another disc. I also discovered a new trick in the pitch correcting program that I use. Until now, I have only been able to correct pitch in the gross sense: for example, if I were singing a C instead of C#, I could move the note to its correct pitch. But there was another problem which I hadn't been able to solve: vibrato (or to give it a non-technical name, wobble). 

If the frequency of concert A is 440 Hz, then singing off-pitch means that one sings at 420 Hz. But vibrato means that within the course of the note, the frequency varies between 420 and 460 Hz; the wider the variation, the wider the vibrato. Choir singers aim for an absence of vibrato whereas solo singers (especially soul singers) aim for a certain amount of vibrato; too little sounds sterile whereas too much sounds like singing off key and uncontrolled.

Yesterday I discovered how I can reduce the amount of vibrato in my singing (or more correctly, in my recorded singing) in order to produce a more controlled and smooth sound, so I spent some time improving the more egregious parts of the 'Pilgrims' vocal, especially in the first part.

Apropos CPAP,  I should point out that I have an appointment with the 'sleep doctor' in a few weeks, after which I will probably have a new machine and certainly a new mask.

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