Isn’t that the same list they’ve always had? Even back in the horse and buggy days when I was looking at music schools you couldn’t get into any of the big schools if your technique was at the same level as the list stuff, and that’s exponentially more true now.
Yes, I wondered about that, as the music is rather intermediatish. When younger I could not see how to advance my playing on music I could already handel, only by playing progressively more difficult pieces. Now I can, but how many students can?
I consider the Rota to be moderately difficult, technically speaking, but rather more musically challenging. One needs sensitivity, but also good taste, and sense of classicism to do it well, I think. There are subtleties that easily escape notice, and passages that might lead one in the wrong direction (like the mid-section of the Sarabande–it is not suddenly a romantic rhapsody in my thinking, he is just using the rippling figures as a way to build intensity). The ending is very hard to pull off effectively.
It was surprising to me, but when I did auditions at Juilliard for orchestras or summer programs and such, we actually played on Mr. Grandjany’s harp, which had a peculiar vibration on one or two notes, which were so distinctive in his playing, and there it was when I played the same notes! (I’m thinking of the 6th octave A possibly, and 3d octave f.)
I also had the distinct pleasure of practicint on Mr. Salzedo’s harp one summer, at the Curtis Istitute, and it was quite wonderful and informing. Now it is at Lyon & Healy, but sadly, not kept in concert tuning.
I personally recorded a CD in my home and I enjoyed the challenge. I am learning how to record with Cubase Studio 4. It’s on the pricier side of recording software, plus I’m completely new to the recording process, so mine wasn’t the quality of something I’d sell, but it just takes practice to create good music.
As to advice, something I’ve come away with regarding home recording is to make sure you have a decent microphone set of some kind. I used a Fishman SBT-HP transducer, and while it works very well for plugging into an amplifier, because of its close location on my harp (attaching directly to the soundbox) it gives a highly twangy, sharp sound, not too pleasant for recording purposes.
My dad and I have spoken with a film composer and a sound engineer, and we’ve gotten varying responses as to microphone placement, so its something you’ll just have to fiddle with, should you desire to record in your home.
The benefit with going to a studio is, obviously, you have someone to basically do everything for you except play the instrument. On the other hand, you will be paying for the studio time, any mixing, the mastering, CD artwork and anything else that might come up. If you record at a studio, ask if they have any experience with recording a harp. I need not say that the harp is a very different instrument with different requirements when “setting up” in the studio.
It took me five and a half hours to record ten tracks on my own. I am not proficient at recording by any means, but quite frankly, I don’t honestly see how anyone could record ten tracks in less than three hours, professional studio or not. Keep that in mind if you think about hiring a studio, because they will usually charge by the hour, though from the studios near my location, they were fairly low-priced. Hope this helps you! Please let us know if you decide to make a CD!
If you having problems with “one off” extraneous noises you can use a program like Sony Acid to seemlessly stitch together alternate takes of a recording (provided you are recording with a click track). If its too noisy where you are for that to be an option, maybe take a weekend drive into the country and find a room somewhere.
Paying for studio time is also a great option, the cost of recording solo harp is miniscule compared to that of making a rock record (I take it you don’t wish to make a rock record) as there isn’t much to mic up.
My work for flute, viola & harp trio was recorded using multiple takes and fragments that were then stitched together using audio editing software, in my case Digital Performer. It was also recorded in a space that was not free of extraneous noises.
In an ideal world I’d have a regular group of that combination, and would only contemplate putting a recording on a CD after we’d played it live in forty concerts, however that is very far from the actual case. I’ve been able to use technological facility to go some way in making up for the absence of perfomance history.
If Adam is suggesting that it’s necessary to record while constantly listening to a click track, I think it’s arguable that one needs to go quite that far to achieve a successfully edited recording, nevertheless it’s an important point that close attention needs to be paid to keeping the tempo exactly as it should be. In our case we constantly referred to a metronome from the very start to the very end of the session.
I’d also add that rhythm or tempo is not the only thing that needs to be consistent, really no aspect is exempt. The interpretation needs to be cast in stone for an edited recording to work, at least for the duration of the recording session. As I’ve been doing the editing on this work I’ve appreciated just how much resonance can build up in a harp. I’ve found that this can complicate life in the audio editing process; in some start and stopping points the material needed for overlapping was too minimal for comfort.
So, I believe it is possible to record in a space that is not necessarily soundproof, but where one might want to because the acoustic is exceptionally good. This was the case for my work, recorded in an old ballroom of a grand residence, high ceiling, wooded surfaces, perfect for chamber music etc. Noise can enter that particular room, mostly from heavy vehicules from time to time on a typical day – it’s on a fairly quiet street. I’ve recorded other works there; a duo for violin and viola, where the final edits had some of this low frequency rumble, but we’ll be able to take that out with automated equalisation. With a bit of luck and good management during the sound takes (ensuring sufficient of them especially for quiet passages), then work in final mixing, it’s been possible to use that space as a recording venue.
That brings up the issue of reverb; more natural ambiance can be incorporated into the original recording, or, in a small studio there’s likely to be an absence of it, however, that needn’t be problematic with a good reverb pluging such as Altiverb using impulse responses.
For my flute, viola harp trio I had a sound engineer do the soundtakes. Immediately the session was finished we transferred the raw audio (6 tracks) to a hard drive that I brought home with me to do the editing. I did all the auditioning and crossfades on the six unmixed tracks then sent them back as completed movements to the sound engineer for the mixing to stereo and final mastering. There’s certainly been a revolution in recording technology that allows that type of arrangement.
For the CD artwork I’ve just bought software to do that and have found a CD replicating factory that has templates that can be downloaded with everything laid out, so seems I’ll be able to manage that aspect. This’ll be the first time I’ve been involved in the graphics, for a previous CD we had a specialist do that part.
- The forum ‘Professional Harpists’ is closed to new topics and replies.