This post will talk about what I did for my draft recording in more detail than the previous post. I’ll break it down by each instrument that I recorded and you can find the draft recording below.

Guitar

As mentioned many times, the guitars were recorded with a double tracking technique using a Zoom G2Nu to record directly to the computer. I made sure to always record at 24 bit, however, I made the mistake of recording at 44.1 kHz instead of 48 kHz, although it didn’t really matter so I stuck with it. I used the True Tone preset in Logic Pro X and always recorded to a loud metronome.

When it came to the guitar playing the melody in unison with the other instruments, I used a capo on the 2nd fret to have access to open strings that worked well over the uilleann pipes’ drone in E. Do not fear, as it compositionally works and can be performed live like this, so it isn’t a “studio trick”. When the capo is to be taken off, I strum all the open strings to allow time for the capo to be put down, or dropped before playing the arpeggiated chords again in DADGAD tuning.

What I need to change:
When I was recording, I found myself most likely to make a mistake on the B chord so I will change the chord to a Bm7 in a root 5 position. I adjusted the score already and I will re-record all the guitars and use less copy and paste for the final composition. The changed chord is more idiomatic, it just means I can no longer repeat a note on a different string to hear the subtle differences in tuning. I will also need to tweak the chord symbol diagrams for the chords, because Sibelius doesn’t seem to be able to detect diagrams based off the notes that are actually played in DADGAD tuning.

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Bass Guitar

I recorded the bass with centre panning using the “Sub Station” preset in Logic Pro X. I used the Zoom G2Nu as the audio interface to direct input record it like the guitar. My bass is very old so it has a strange tone, which worked well for the overall tone of the piece.

What I need to do:
I need to notate the bassline now in its entirety. If parts need to be re-recorded then it will be a breeze.

Tin Whistle

For the draft I used copy and paste to put the section B melody at the end, as well as at the start. I recorded it with my Zoom H5 with the microphones close to the fipple to capture the full spectrum. I played around with my position in respect to the microphones so the recording sounded as if I was hearing it in the real world.

What I need to do:
I need to re-record the parts I copy and pasted, as the very slight variations are the point of the music at the end of the day. Some ornaments make come out differently each time even though I’m intending to do them because I get lost in the zen of playing it. I will also need to notate the lines and notate the grace notes I use to ornament it.

Low Irish Whistle

It was getting late and I had practiced my parts on it a lot so the fipple acquired some saliva build up. It was annoying to record but I just went with it for the sake of a draft. I also used a Zoom H5 to record it and I positioned the microphones close to the fipple. I also tried recording it with the microphones at the end of the instrument, however, you could still hear the spit bubbling.

Because it has a low sound in its lower register, I needed to bring down the levels of everything else to let it cut through. This worked compositionally as I had the violin playing pizzicato (so in a live setting it would be quieter even with amplification) and no higher pitched instruments playing.

What I need to do:
I need to re-record the melody as it was the only part that was majorly affected by the saliva build up. I also need to notate it.

Violin

The main thing about the violin is that I am not a violinist at all. It was very frustrating because I couldn’t play the parts very accurately at all. I added a MIDI piano with the melody I wanted to play and I recorded it bar by bar by trying to match the pitch. Sometimes I was a bit pitchy, however, it was nothing that Logic’s Flex Pitch couldn’t fix. I didn’t pitch correct the pizzicato part at all as I had a tuner in front of me and I tried to stay in tune, although, I think the pitchy nature adds to the vibe of the piece.

What I need to do:
I need to make it more audible in the unison section so I will do that by panning it to the right and the tin whistle to the left to make use of space as well as volume. I also need to notate what I played because I played slightly different to the MIDI piano I was using as a pitch guide.

Uilleann Pipes

My dad came home from work ready to learn my melody and it was a very quick process. He didn’t read the notated melody and opted to learn it by ear, which he did in less than 10 minutes. When it came to recording, I recorded with the drones off with the Zoom. It took a number of takes to get the recording levels right (see below) and for him to play it accurately with nice ornaments. I then simply tuned the drones and recorded them in isolation.

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What I need to do:
Notation and learning how to notate the drones. I’m assuming a written instruction is enough, although, I will look around the internet for standards.

Bodhrán

Building on from the very first recording, I added a more aggressive pattern when the pipes came in. I simply just played the bodhrán louder and with a more open tone. However, to make this work in the mix I needed to use a compressor to match how punchy it was to my ears acoustically. The problem I then faced was a muddy mix, although, I had tricks up my sleeve. I simply created a bus channel and disabled the stereo output for the purpose of side chain compression. I then added a compressor to every instrument mixer (I used summing track stacks to group tracks together based on instruments. For example, the Uilleann Pipes’ chanter and drones were grouped together) and enabled the sidechaining within the compressor (see GIF below).

Sidechain.gif

I use a sidechain filter to only make it respond to the lower bodhrán sounds, which was important for the bass guitar to not make the mix as muddy.

I added extra rhythms and embellishments as well to make it more climatic. I made use of the brushes to add a bit of extra flavour to the sound, which I will need to define in notation with my own key.

What I need to do:
Notation and creating a key to define the extra sounds I used.

Other Production Techniques

One of the main techniques worth noting is that I used convolution reverb on each instrument so it didn’t sound like it was recorded in my dry bedroom. As an owner of EWQL Spaces, I made use of the plugin to add true stereo reverb to my instruments to make the recording sound great. I made the wet signal audible enough to hear, but not enough to over do it.

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I also used an equaliser on every track, and cut off all low frequencies when they were not needed, such as on the whistles, guitar, and violin. This gave me a little more headroom to apply a multi-band compressor on the master channel to make it louder.

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