Saturday, August 12, 2017

Scribbles of Harmony...

This summer, everyone in our area is complaining about the non-summery summer weather.

Truth be told, we haven't noticed the weather a bit. 
We've been indoors for most of it, either in the studio or rehearsing the songs for when we're in the studio.

Long days, but super creative and satisfying. 

Yesterday, we spent the better part of the afternoon creating harmony parts, 
so I thought you'd appreciate this little behind-the-scenes glimpse...

Right now, you're thinking, "Um, secret language? Morse code? Just plain messy??"

This, my friends, is harmony!

What you're looking at is the bridge for our song Through The Dark. Gerald wrote it about a year and a half ago, so some of you have already heard this haunting and moving song in our concerts.

Gerald takes the lead on this tune, so when we arrived at the studio, he jumped in the booth and sang his part.

Next, it was my turn. On this song, I sing a few different types of harmony parts. Some are "oohs" that drift under the lyric. Others are various kinds of echoes to enhance the melodic line. Others are straight up harmony lines where I sing the lyrics an interval from Gerald's lead.

When we got to the bridge, I sang my part as I've always sung it. Andrew Horrocks (our amazing producer!) wondered if I might want to switch up a few notes to give the part more presence and impact. So I pulled out my pencil and started to make the little dots and short dashes that you see. They indicate where the notes are different from what I sang before. The up and down nature reflect the same up and down movements you'd see on a piece of sheet music.

The point of these markings isn't to transcribe an actual part onto the page. I learned the part by ear and memorized it as we went along. The dots, dashes, and doodles are there to guide my memory as I'm working through the recording. They trigger my ear and voice to lock into the harmonic groove of the new part.

When it was just one note that changed, I add the arrow or check mark to show the direction of the new note. When the new note was held long with no or few changes, I drew the longer lines, like the ones after "fear."

The "echo" was always part of the song, but because we were adding so many new bits to the part, I wanted to put it in my notes to remind myself of taking a deep breath and showcasing that moment.

We spent a good amount of time creating this part, rehearsing it, and then doing several takes to make sure it wasn't just note perfect, but that I also gave it the right kind of performance and energy.

Making music should never be just about hitting the right notes. 
We're there to share a message and an emotion. 
Notes are important, but communicating is EVERYTHING!

So, after I laid down the harmony line, Andrew said, "I hear some third harmonies, too."

This is where the circled words come in. Each word with a circle had an additional harmony part added to it. Since they were all higher parts, I didn't have to add a lot of direction for myself, except where I added in the extra long line after "fear."

A few weeks ago, we had a tremendous band come in to record the tracks for this song. Then, Gerald created his guitar part. Now, we've got lead vocal, harmony line, and extra harmony parts created. And the song is still a work in progress. It's only going to get better from here!

It's always amazing to see how a simple guitar-vocal song can build into a vibrant, exciting album track. 
Stay tuned to hear what happens next with our new CD...

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Are you excited about our New CD??

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