As you currently may know, I have been discovering the wonderful world of Protools...the multi-track music software which loves to randomly quit at least once during a session and which I had no idea how to use...until making numerous mistakes and pouring over the pdf user manual.
I discovered an interesting way to approach my Joyce project (since it's based off of Joyce's "The Dead") and the key is to work on only one thing at a time. Otherwise, the whole project is just too consuming and intimidating. I have listed some events from my project progress below (note: this is over the span of 2.5 weeks):
Day 1-Doing the recordings and gaining inspiration from the material I gathered since amazingly unplanned things can occur during a recording session! My friends really pulled it out of the bag and I had some great raw material to work from. Especially Nick! It felt like I had about 50 voice types to choose from with what he gave me! I felt something similar while working on my music concrete pieces since you have to take what you have and let the form of what you have gathered dictate what it should become. Shruchi and Matt's voice gave nice contrast to my recordings too. As well, Twila, gave such a musically poetic reading of the passage that I knew I would have to save her's for last. Twila and I possess the same Joyce obsession and it is audibly apparent how well she understand the text, Joyce, and Ireland.
Day 2-I worked on a synth keyboard to record sounds which convey the mood given by the text. I tried to find sounds that would parallel falling snow and the icy Irish wind or generally anything I thought I could use. I randomly recorded a bunch of different sounds while listening to sections of the text and I decided I would worry later where to put them. It's easier to have more rather than fewer tracks to work from since I wanted to be efficient in my process. As easy as it is to spend hours on a project...I have 4 other classes I need to worry about!
Day 3-I was in slight panic since I still didn't know how to use the software and I was currently drowning in about 27 tracks without any idea of how to put my tracks together. Attending class slightly decreased my worry but I still felt like I had a huge gap of knowledge and was not using the program to its full potential.
Day 4-Setting aside my panic, opening new tracks, and starting to paste together the structural framework of my piece. It looked fragmented but it was satisfying to see the foundation of my piece laid out. It pretty much followed the template I had in my mind so it was less intimidating to approach my piece. Is it normal for musicians to be afraid of the music they're working on? I'll say yes.
Day 5-After learning about automation in class, and fiddling with the program again for longer than I would like to admit, I finally figured out how to automate volume, reverb, panning and other wonderful things. Ultimately, I was able to add texture to the raw voice recordings I obtained and I began to sculpt together an image by using sound and text.
Day 6-Trying to tidy up my tracks and clean things such as transitions and microphone pops from energetic bilabial plosives. I also cleaned up small 1/2 second sections where I didn't sufficiently edit out Twila cursing from her recording session.
I will be presenting my project tomorrow to my class so I'll see what they have to say and tweak the track before our recital on April 21. Also, for those of you who are free, my class will be joining with the 500-level Electromusic course to showcase our projects from this term. It'll be on Tuesday, April 21, at 8pm (I believe) in Studio 2-7 in FAB. Try to come out if you're not busy! People are working on some pretty amazing things and they deserve to be heard :)
As well, since I enjoy killing time during breaks from my project, I recorded other tracks to play with the melody from my original synth piece I posted. I added some volume automating; thus, the dynamics! It sounded a lot better on the studio speakers than my home laptop (I can barely hear the bass line I put in) but you can give it a listen if you like and hopefully you speakers are better than mine.