Going Into the Recording Studio - Friend or Foe?

Well, my a cappella group just finished our 4th day of recording a CD. I started this jazz/pop a cappella group 15 years ago and we're still singing together (with a few other incarnations along the way). We decided one year ago to go into the recording studio to make the BEST recording we possibly could. We hired a well-known producer and sound engineer, both experts at a cappella recording, and off we go.

For those of you who don't know exactly what a cappella music is, it is strictly singing, no instruments at all. This means that some voices actually have to mimic instruments, like trumpets and drums. The person whose job it is to do the drums (this is a tough job!) is called the vocal percussionist. Lots of spitting involved here, people. Then there is the lead singer (different for every song) and back-up singers. You always have to have a bass. The bass (lowest voice)provides the harmonic foundation for the group.

Our group, called "The Wicked Pitches" has 3 men and 3 women. We love to sing jazzed up arrangements of popular tunes, always with a twist. For example, right now, we are singing "Ticket to Ride" by The Beatles. But it is arranged in 5/4 and 12/8 time, NOT the way The Beatles wrote it but very interesting and fun to sing! Hard too.

Recording a cappella is a painstaking process. It can take over one day just to do one 3-minute song. It isn't unusual to sing one 2 page section over 15 times to get it right. What are we correcting? Rhythms, pitches, overall feeling, blending of voices, and cut-offs and entrances. You are 6 voices, but you've got to sing and respond like one large machine with moving parts (like a car engine or your body, for that matter).

This isn't easy!

So we're off again for another day. No sun for us but it's really gratifying to hear the finished product. I'll put a couple of mpeg files on my website when they are ready.

More about this whole recording thing later . . . off to the studio I go!

Easy Piano Styles

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