Post by Penny
in the dust...
Post by Nick Odell
Rumour has it - and maybe Mike McT could confirm or deny - that
synchronising performances on Zoom or similar is almost an
impossiblity without post-production tweaks.
The latest Gareth Malone 'Singing for Britain' apparently sent the backing
piano track to the two singers in Swansea and Manchester (I think I got the
places right BIMBAM) at different times to accommodate the delay as they
performed live to local audiences. Which boggles my brain.
Their duet was great though.
Many moons ago, for the release of his second hit, John Otway recorded fans
doing the responses to his 'There is a House in New Orleans' in two
sessions on different days, for one of the supporting tracks (or B side, as
we used to call it).
I was chatting to Richard Holgarth at Guilfest a couple of months later and
he had just spent a day or two bringing these two recordings into line with
each other. It didn't sound like fun.
From the other end of the process: I've tried now with two online
choirs - one was singing along with The Sixteen, so no pressure.... and
found it an initially exhilarating but ultimately soul-destroying
experience. A singer quoted in the Guardian expressed it perfectly for me:
Performing to a click-track, with attendant technical issues, time lags
and wifi failure, may result in something joyful. It may, equally, be a
source of frustration and fury. One singer friend spent around nine
hours trying to record her part for a six-minute choral piece. “By the
end I hated the music. I hated singing. The lifeblood of performance –
responding to other musicians – was missing. What the hell was I doing
What has been an unexpected joy, though far from sophisticated, has been
the ad-hoc chorus of neighbours in our road singing a hymn every Sunday
morning since Easter. The road is consulted and a hymn is chosen, mostly
old favourites that people remember from school even if they don't go to
church much now. A copy of the words is circulated round the road email
list around Friday, so we are all singing from the same hymnsheet. We
don't have enough experienced singers and hymnbooks to do the harmonies,
though I have sung a descant now and then when I remembered it. Now
lockdown is easing, more local members of the church choir are beginning
to join us, and I hope by the time services are back, even if we can't
sing inside the church, we will be able to blast at least one hymn from
outside on the conveniently wide pavement.
And we have the blessing of the authorities, in the shape of two mounted
policewomen who trotted into the road just before 11am last Sunday,
enquired politely why we were all gathering, thought it was a lovely
idea, and stayed and sang with us. Apparently there is at least one
other road on their beat that sings hymns, but <Smugsy McSmugface> we
are much better :)