I just figured out how to do the coolest thing. Wanna hear? Of course you do.
I have this teeny-weeny little Sony digital voice recorder that I used to use when I first started as a cantor at church. I would record the psalms as I learned them so that I could practice at home.
The thing is, it's the kind of recorder one would use for notes at a meeting or something like that. It is not made for music recording, but those were freakishly expensive at the time and this really does suit my purpose. It just doesn't make singing recordings of any kind of quality for your listening pleasure.
I also have on the mighty 'puter a freeware music editing program called Audacity. I got it when I was making a soundtrack for the slide show I did for our class reunion a couple years back. I used it then to cut and paste clips of songs and fade them together, blah blah blah. I never looked at the other stuff the program could do because I didn't need it. It's been languishing on the computer ever since.
Tonight I had our choir director record herself playing just the piano to this weekend's psalm. We usually sing with the organ and the piano; Lillian plays the chords and the melody on organ and Jeanne plays the chords on piano. When Lillian's not there...no melody. Which, for someone who is tonally challenged from time to time like myself, is reallllllllly hard.
So, I recorded just the piano to practice. Jeanne gives you NOTHING when she accompanies. She plays chords. You have to find your note or die trying.
Did I mention I find that hard? Even Bob said it's hard. And he would know.
So I get my recording home and it is static-y, which is the best way I can think of to describe it. It's full of what you would describe as tape hiss if I had taped it. It's the digital version of tape hiss, whatever you call it.
Anyway, in a fit of genius, I opened it with the Audacity program and pulled down the menu of special effects things it could do, and lo and behold, there was "noise reduction."
So I singled out the "hiss" and told the program to remove that particular sound from the track, and guess what? It did.
It's fucking awesome.
Now I can rehearse to just piano without fighting all that extra noise. Plus, it's saved to the computer, so I can sing to it while I record myself singing, then I can take out that
hiss and I'll have a good recording of my own singing with piano accompaniment. As if I had laid down the tracks or something. Only a lot less cool than that.
It seems like a lot of work, but it's cheaper than buying a better recorder. I might start recording more of rehearsals again now that I know I can clean them up.
I should have taped the weekend Bob came up. I was so jazzed for him to hear me cantor, and I got to tell you, whenever I'm feeling particularly chuffed with myself (as Yorkie would say), God finds a way to teach me a lesson about humility.
The Sunday he came, the choir sounded like cats in heat. Now, I have enough trouble finding the right notes when it's just me and the piano. You add three tone deaf sopranos all warbling in three different keys and an alto singing the tenor line of Lift High the Cross behind me and you can imagine how it sounded.
Better yet, don't. Just don't.
I was nervous on the psalm--I'm always nervous when Lillian's not there pounding out the melody for me--and it was worse because I wanted to do well so that Bob would be impressed.
Turns out I should have concerned myself with singing for God's glory and not my own. I sucked so bad that it was laughable, and I did laugh when I sat down because I knew I got what I deserved. Too funny. I'm there to pray not to perform, and I need to be reminded from time to time, when I get too pleased with myself.
I'm going to rock the house this weekend though, what with my new and improved voice recording and editing system in place.
If anyone knows how to post a .wav file to Blogger, let me know and I'll let you have a listen.
Unless I suck, that is.