Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cello Session - March, 2011

I liked the sound of the cello and piano together on "Monica's Song" so much that I tried the same approach with another song from the album, "Across the Years."

The version on my original CD from 1998 sounded quite a bit different. One problem when you are using MIDI synthesizers is that you can click the mouse and get a completely different instrument so you tend to go overboard using lots of different sounds. Plus, everything sounds so dull and unnatural, you want to spice it up with multiple instruments. (Harpsichords and French horns, oh my!)

Here is that recording from the 1998 demo:
Across The Years (1999 synthesizer version) by Leo Brodie

With the cello arrangement I took a much simpler, cleaner approach. I also played it much slower, and decided to try something that -- at the time -- I thought was quite daring: switching from straight-quarter time to a jazz rhythm for the final section. It turns out to sound so natural and right that I bet most people won't even notice the change.

I bought a copy of a music scoring software package called Sebelius First, so that I could print out the arrangement. Here's the last page of "Monica's Song":

Jay Kenney, my recording engineer, recommended a cellist named Kevin Krentz. Kevin agreed to play my arrangements, and on March 2, 2011, we went into Jay's studio.

Here's a portion of the arrangement of "Across the Years", with Kevin playing both cello parts.
Across The Years (Sampler) by Leo Brodie

Then we recorded both cello parts on "Monica's Song." It turns out that this arrangement is really challenging for the cello, particularly one solo line that is very high-pitched. Kevin was on the highest string, almost as low on the fingerboard as you could be. But Kevin pulled it off beautifully.

Here's the last minute of "Monica's Song":
Monica's Song (teaser) by Leo Brodie

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