Blog - LMP - Know When You're Beaten
December 11, 2020
If the my rule of an efficient recording session is "Be Prepared," the second is "know when you're beaten." I played the Allegro movement of the Fodor Quartet pretty well, only really spending any real time on the tricky triplet section punch ins. In what hopefully will be the last time, I overestimated what I could get done in 2 hours. In my defense, I did both movements of the quartet for the Cello part in about 1 hour 45 a few weeks earlier. In my offense, the violin 2 part is considerably more difficult, though I had a good handle on it.
We had to do some up front work on the ProTools session before we recorded to fix a conceptual error I had made when I did the Cello part, where I forgot to account for measures that had pick-up notes in them in the violin, but not in the Cello.
One challenge I was not anticipating was that i was getting distracted by the melodic mandocello part while I was trying to lock into both it and the metronome. I had only practiced with the metronome at home, not with the cello track which in retrospect was a pretty big whiff on my part. It was actually kind of nerve wracking to be splitting my concentration, and also being pleasantly surprised by hearing the parts interlock together for the first time. It was sometimes hard not to just hang back and listen to the parts interweave, which was fine except it damaged my concentration to stay ahead of changes or tricky passages that were imminent. It did provide one advantage in that it helped me keep my place in the song, as the parts wove together in a way that made sense. So even not having heard it before, as I was playing, I could almost feel where the cello part was pulling me and it actually saved me a few times when I miscounted a measure and wasn't totally sure where I was.
I was having an off day. When we did the Minuet and Trio, I had a really hard time locking in. I was thrown by the 3/4 time signature for some reason; the allegro is in 4, and though I'm perfectly capable of counting to three, it was really discombobulating me. Which made me feel like a distinctly unqualified musician. I was pretty shaky and then when I got to the Trio half of the movement I absolutely train-wrecked. I had been considering adding another 45 minutes or so to the session to finish the movement, but after failing so epically, and realizing I was having an off day, I decided to call it. I only had about 15 minutes left in my two hour slot, and I was flailing and tired.
The music just wasn't making sense to me. I got caught in what I call the Too Easy Paradox. A part that isn't very hard is hard to make yourself practice because it's really tempting to just half-ass it and say "I got this, I can just read it in the recording session." Except you can't. Or, I couldn't in this case. I was having problems with some tricky rhythms that I hadn't put that much time into, and while i maintain that they aren't that hard, after a tiring session and an off day, my lack of prep reared up mightily. (The rather difficult part in the middle I actually played pretty well, but again, I practiced it a lot because it was difficult).
Addendum: I found out later that one mistake i made in the Cello part was adding an extra rest beat in between sections of the movement, which threw off all the downbeats that came after. This was certainly not the only reason I played crappily, but certainly didn't help either.
So kind of a disappointing day, but I made some good progress and the quartet is starting to come to life.
Here's an excerpt of the before (just mandocello):
And here's the after (mandocello and mandolin 2):
I'm going to practice the shit out of the "not too hard" violin part and try again next week. Also, the mandola music reading is going faster than I thought it would so I may attempt the first movement of the Fodor Quartet on the viola as well. I've got a three hour block this next time.
12/11/20 - 2 hours
Fodor Quartet Violin 2 50% Complete