Saturday, June 28, 2008

Treating ear worms

The best way I've found to treat an ear worm is to replace it with another one. Today I'm trying a different tack, actually spending more time with it in the practice room, and as a by-product creating my first dual track Audacity project. Hasn't worked yet, but I'll let you know.

This is a song we played in church last week. It has a simple cello ostinato line that is quite addictive. We started our pre-service rehearsal with both of us playing the ostinato introduction, but didn't like the effect. Two string instruments playing in unison is the most difficult combination. So between us, we decided that it needed to be a cello solo. Usually the other cellist plays the solos, and I am happy in my role as Cello 2. But somehow, she passed it off to me, just before we went live.

I wasn't too distressed, as it's not difficult - just exposed. And I'm quite proud of my performance anxiety management - when I caught myself thinking "Now don't screw this up and get all tense" I immediately changed that tape to "This is a beautiful line and I am going to release any excess tension and play it warmly." I don't know how beautiful it was, but it felt pretty good. DH commented after the service that the cellos had a big part, and that it sounded nice. Good enough for me.

But that simple ostinato has been caught in my ear since Sunday. Today I wanted to just play something fun to start my practice, so I looked through my Suzuki books, having heard that La Folia is in there somewhere (variations on the ostinato theme). Unfortunately, whomever I overheard must have been talking about the violin books, because I didn't see it in the cello parts. So I decided to record the ostinato part of the song from last week, and then the other cello part, which Cello 1 played, and mix them together in Audacity. A fun little project.

You'll hear that I am not quite exactly aligned, but well enough to get the gist of it. Think of all the duet options...

Ostinato mix


ola del m rio said...

What a GREAT idea to hear the 2 parts together! It sounds wonderful.

Andrew said...

Nicely done! It's no easy task sounding good in unison, especially when you can't adjust in real time! Very nice piece, too!

Did you make multiple takes of each voice and mix the best of them?

Gottagopractice said...


You give me too much credit. This was a one off, one try, one take. I played with the metronome (quietly) and you probably heard the "click, click" on 3-4 before I started, to use to align the parts. The intro was actually a solo. I can't imagine being able to play that in tune as a duet without auditory feedback!

The fun thing is that this is only the two cello parts. It's missing all of the upper voices and the melody. I really liked the piece, built on top of this lovely foundation.

Andrew said...

Well, now you've transmitted the earworm to me! Can you give me the full name of the piece? I need to add it to my collection now. :) If it sounds this good with just the two lower parts, I really want to see what the actually melody looks like.