Blog - LMP - Vengeance is Mine
December 17, 2020
This was the recording performance I was trying for last time. I was rather irritated with myself after I laid an egg on the Fodor Quartet Minuet-Trio Mandolin 2 part at the previous session. This time I put down a really good take on the first try. No train wrecks this time.
I learned my lesson from last session, and this time in addition to practicing the part with the metronome, I also practiced it along with the Cello track I had done before. In doing so I found a mistake i made in the Cello part: I put in a measure of rest in between sections of the movement, which threw me off when I didn't do that on the first try of the Violin 2 part. This was certainly not the only reason I didn't do well last time; I played crappily overall but I didn't completely fell apart until I didn't notice the rest measure and powered through it, which made the Violin 2 and Cello out of sync with each other and created a cacophonous nightmare mess.
There's a tricky 80's shredder sounding run in the middle of the Minuet section, but I played it pretty well; we only had to run the punch-ins a few times to get a take I really liked, rather than one I thought was just acceptable. (I can be pretty particular when I'm recording.) I dusted the off beat rhythms that were giving me trouble last session with no problems at all. In my practice sessions working up to this, I made sure not to take anything for granted, no matter how easy it looked and the extra worked paid off. We got through the section in a little over an hour.
I decided a week earlier that I might be ready to play the Mandola part to the Fodor Allegro for this session, provided I didn't stall out on the violin 2 part. I was nervous about this; the part isn't all that hard but I don't read the alto clef very well yet, and the mandola is the instrument in this project that I have the least amount of time on. It is only slightly larger than my mandolin, but is "thicker," for lack of a better term, and so I feel a little bit slow on it. 
To my own surprise my first take of the Mandola Allegro was pretty good, and we used it as the baseline. We listened through and punched in where needed. There were a few parts with long unbroken sixteenth notes where I lost count and twice I got tangled up in the notes, when I got confused by the alto clef. (I'm going to try to avoid recording Treble and Alto clef pieces in the same session in the future if I can, at least for the short term. Was a recipe for confusion).
There weren't many punch ins, but we double, triple, and quadruple checked the parts where both the mandolin and mandola were playing sixteenth notes in harmony with each other; the instruments being slightly out with each other causes "fwamming" which makes it sound muddy. Mike and I actually found that some of the fwamming was because the mandolin was what I refer to as "up the beat's ass," or so fronted on it that it sounds a touch early compared with the other instruments. The mandola was much more consistently in the middle of the beat and more synced with the mandocello. Mike posited that maybe because the strings are heavier and the instrument itself a little beefier that it forced me to lay back a bit, which is probably correct.
There's some triplet runs that are tricky, but I had a lot less trouble with them than I thought I would. Again, it took just over an hour, which I was happy with considering I barely play the instrument.
We used the remaining time to smooth out the punch points and listen for parts where we needed to nudge the timing of some instruments. Neither Mike nor I wanted to touch too much, after all, as much as I want it to be a good representation of the written music, I also want it to sound like a human played it, so a couple of warts are ok. I just didn't want the parts that needed to sound locked to be muddy. As I mentioned, we actually found that the mandolin was pretty consistently ahead of the mandola so we did a few nudges to clean it up.
All in all, I'm really happy with a session that I finally correctly estimated what I could get done. And I played pretty well, and very nearly erased my muted embarrassment over my failed attempt on the previous recording session. I'm going to have a little extra time to practice for the next session on account of Christmas, so I have to decide what to focus on. I think I'm going to try to nail down the very nasty Viola Minuet-Trio movement, and the Violin 1 for the Allegro movement. If I can pull off the latter, I'll be done with recording the Allegro and it'll be a load off my mind.
12/17/20 - 3 hours
Fodor Quartet Violin 2 Minuet-Trio COMPLETE
Fodor Quartet Viola Allegro COMPLETE
 It helps to think of the beat not as a single point in time, but as kind of a pulse with a duration. You can be right on top of the beat, (i,e. on, but at the very front of the pulse) in the middle of the beat, or more laid back at the end of the beat. All of these can feel "correct" for the beat, but all of the instruments playing kind of have to agree on where on the beat you are or it can sound fwammy.