This turned out to be fairly simple, so it’s not long since my last post on this list item.
Audacity was very easy to install and the interface fairly intuitive to make simple recordings with. The timing was out when I tried recording a second track while listening to an already-recorded track. Luckily, there was an easy-to-follow tutorial on the Audacity wiki and I’ve mostly resolved that issue. To perfect the timing any further, I’d need to practice a bit more.
The microphone built in to my laptop was more effective than my recently-purchased cheap vocal microphone. The vocal microphone was too quiet and probably be better suited to recording vocals. I’d need a stand to point it in the right direction, though I could probably use the stopmotion funky tripod. I found an extension cord for my headphones, which meant the laptop (microphone) could stay far enough away from the piano.
My study is very small and has too many bare walls, so the acoustics aren’t very good. After a while, I realised I was playing the piano too loud due to high volume of the already-recorded tracks in my headphones. After I adjusted the headphone volume and played softer, the recording sounded less harsh.
After a little fiddling with Windows Live Movie Maker, I turned the recordings into videos and uploaded them to YouTube.
As mentioned, Canon has long been a favourite. I quite enjoyed making this recording and playing along with it afterwards.
I only recorded the melody part once, then copied and pasted it for the second and third parts, so you can probably hear a mistake and chair squeak three times each.
For the bass line, I tried duplicating one run through the pattern, but it was one note fast by the end of the recording. I deleted that line, then made a full recording of the bass part while listening to the melody parts in the headphones.
This was very quick to record! Each of the four voice parts were recorded separately, even though all can be played at one time; I used this as practice for keeping in time while recording separate parts.
The unfortunate buzzing sounds on the recording are because the piano is a little too loud for the laptop microphone.
I’d like to record a few Christmas carols by singing all the parts, but the higher voices are above my vocal range. I’d also like to record the Misty Mountain, hummed/sung by the dwarves in the new Hobbit movie, but the humming is below my vocal range.
This is the opening part of the 4-minute piece entitled “I’m the Doctor” from the Doctor Who series 5 soundtrack. It’s one of my favourite pieces of music, so I had previously notated it from a recording into my Sibelius notation software.
I tried to duplicate the original recording (listen to it here) by modifying my playing and making some volume adjustments in Audacity. The piece sounds better with a wider variety of instruments, especially the sustained horn notes at the beginning. I’m pleased with my timpani sounds, created using the two lowest D keys on the piano and adding a tiny amount of sustain pedal. I could have added the drum sound by tapping a pencil against the keys or the body of the piano, but it seemed oddly wrong to use something other than the piano keys.
The above three videos/recordings satisfy this list item, so I consider it complete!
Now that I know how it’s done, I’ll make more recordings over time, including recordings of other people.