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Johanna

Portrait Of My Wife

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Well, now that I've got Soundcloud figured out, I thought I'd share this. It's probably the first solo-concertina-and-voice arrangement I'm mostly happy with:

 

https://soundcloud.com/johannam17/portrait-of-my-wife

 

I know the delivery needs work (especially the dynamics). Constructive criticism of the arrangement is welcome. Should I try varying the drones between verses, or keep them as is?

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Very nice. I'm not sure I'd change anything except, as you mentioned, the dynamics. The concertina overpowers the voice. Maybe it can be remedied by recording techniques, maybe it means you need to think about playing the concertina (or singing) differently. But the arrangement is fine.

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Hi Johanna,

 

I'm enjoying this too! As to the drones, they're fitting quite well, I guess I'd not vary them but perhaps add some gentle ornamentation.

 

And the dynamics then - well, that's what I a' ve been told repeatedly myself. I'm kind of stubborn at this point, and maybe you should as well. To my ears your accompaniment isn't too loud, I like it this way!

 

OTOH, there's (well, nearly) always a relevant point in a given critique, perhaps you might consider mellowing the chords a bit after a forte attack, just experimentate! Or, of course, David has it right... :D but as said, I seem to hear it differently...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor

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In line with (the other) David's comments, I hear your voice coming across as more distant/muffled than the concertina, which is more up front and present. I believe that I'm hearing more reverb (from the room?) on your voice, making it less articulate. In terms of raw volume I do not find the concertina overpowering, and it sounds clear and full. I figure that this has more to do with your recording approach/technique than with anything about the musical performance.

Edited by DaveM

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Thanks, all. I was just singing/playing into my computer microphone, while sitting on the couch, so the concertina was closer to the microphone than my voice was, and my breath support might not have been all it could have been. Maybe I'll try a take later where I'm standing up and recording with a real microphone, and see if that's any better.

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Hi Johanna,

That's a lovely arrangement. Would you mind sharing the chord sequence?

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Not at all - the chords are pretty easy. The little riff before/after/between the verses is:

 

C F C F C F F G

 

Where each of the C's is really a Csus2 resolving to C (the top melody note starts on D and then goes up to E).

 

Then the verse and chorus go like this:

 

In © vain I try to (F) dry a tear which © falls down from my (G) eyes,
It (Am) makes me (G) think of (F) one I love who in this cold grave (G) lies;
My © heart is very (F) sad I vow, one thing © cheers me through my (G) life:
The (Am) only (G) merit (F) I have left, this portrait of my (G) wife.

 

(G) Roll away those (F) lonely days,
(G) Roll from up a©bove.
(F) Raise (G) your (Am) glass to the (F) one you © love.

 

Most of the chords I play as open fifths, omitting the 3rds.

Edited by Johanna

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I don't know how to stop parens-C-parens from turning into ©, but I guess it's clear what it's supposed to be.

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I don't know how to stop parens-C-parens from turning into ©, but I guess it's clear what it's supposed to be.

 

 

One way would be to format the whole thing as "code":

In (C) vain I try to (F) dry a tear which (C) falls down from my (G) eyes,
It (Am) makes me (G) think of (F) one I love who in this cold grave (G) lies;

The button to do that looks like this: <>

 

 

Code formatting also preserves spacing and every character takes up the same amount of space. So you can do stuff like this too:

   C             F                C                  G
In vain I try to dry a tear which falls down from my eyes,

   Am       G        F                                 G
It makes me think of one I love who in this cold grave lies;

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Johanna, I swapped the notebook mic with a good but affordable USB mic quite recently. It has been an enormous improvement, which I expanded by putting the mic at the height of my head thus keeping the 'tina in a certain distance. This arrangement works very well as for me.

 

BTW, the USB mic I'm using is called Blue Yeti... :D

Edited by blue eyed sailor

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Very nice, a fairly simple arrangement which is all it needs. IMO the english is the best concer for song accompaniment although the others can be great if used with restraint. You just need to get the vocal a little more up front but you know that.

 

Soundcloud is still a mystery to me. I suspect it's not as involved as video/youtube but I prefer video to present a full performance. But I should try to figure soundcloud sometime.

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Soundcloud is still a mystery to me. I suspect it's not as involved as video/youtube but I prefer video to present a full performance. But I should try to figure soundcloud sometime.

Hi Steve,

 

well, I seem to finally discover the significance of SoundCloud these days, after more than a year of rather eventless participating just from this CNet background. I would say, it's a network. Through "likes", "following" and "reposts" (sharing) you build up your own personal "stream" (which contains suggestions as they are continuously generated from the activities of your "friends") as well as influence the stream of your followers.

 

And this "stream" is making a difference, it's always interesting to play the tunes new and old from there. You will be taken to the borders of your personal field of interest repeatedly. And there are lots of appealing avocational musicians out there...!

 

Furthermore you can explore sounds similar to what you already dig by going into the "likes" of a certain soundfile, or give a follower of another site a go. And then you can comment on tracks - like with youtube, but at times on a more engaging and real-time basis; and you can go into the comments of tracks you like, a.s.f. It appears to be a promising way to really find your audience (instead of all too often just experiencing the common indifference which is quite discouraging as to me).

 

Since you are very much into performing, SC might be not that rewarding as it is with others. Besides, what about some more videos? :)

 

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor

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Johanna, I swapped the notebook mic with a good but affordable USB mic quite recently. It has been an enormous improvement, which I expanded by putting the mic at the height of my head thus keeping the 'tina in a certain distance. This arrangement works very well as for me.

 

BTW, the USB mic I'm using is called Blue Yeti... :D

Hi Wolf - Funny you should mention the Blue Yeti USB mic but I have recently been recommended by a friend to buy one and if you are satisfied with it, then I'll be more than happy to go and buy one for myself.

 

Chris

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Wow! That was wonderful!

 

Well done. The song felt very direct and strong.

 

Don.

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Yes, that's quite an improvement! I can hear the "muffled" sounding of your voice in the first recording now too. But even if I'm the only one, I would bring the 'tina a bit more to the forefront whilst retaining the clear presence of the voice...

 

But first of all, my congrats for carrying out the song so well, it's really appealing!

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Thanks. :) I suppose if I wanted to cheat, I could record each part separately and then adjust the balance however I want. But exploring different microphone arrangements is useful.

 

One thing I notice, listening again to take 2, is that when I'm playing quietly, it becomes harder to sing in tune. Something else to work on, I guess.

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