Erlanger Programm: Progress in Tracking

Now that the digital mockup has been completed, it’s time to see some tracking for instruments that are not synth.

What’s to be done

Following the strategy that everything that is, in its nature, acoustic or electroacoustic (an electric guitar falling into that group), there’s an electric guitar in part A. And an acoustic in part b (which is more of a pad, getting captured into a huge hold reverb). Then there is the trombone for part d, and finally the big melodica part for parts D and a’ (although I really might replace them with synthesizers). I already made up my mind that the twelve-string acoustic in part A gets synthesized, and am as of now unsure about the bass in parts B and D.

So that leaves guitars for A and b and trombone for d as a must-have. I started with the guitar.

Part A: Chitarra majestoso

The guitar for part A is mainly very slow-moving lines, meaning two to five beats in an andante tempo. The tricky part here is “mainly”, which means that there are some short sixteenth jumps, which with the legato requirement are not as simple to perform for a non-player as it looks at first.

Recording guitar for part A
Recording guitar for part A

The approach here was rather simple: connect the guitar to a DI, split the output to the computer’s in and to my POD (for monitoring) and press “record”. This was followed by copying the mix settings from the synth mockup, and I was done relatively quickly.

Part b: Guitar Rain

Things got trickier for part b. First of all, I discovered that due to the part starting in Ab Lydian and covering the whole guitar range with arpeggiated chords, the only proper choice was an Eb tuning. I also opted to keep a Spider Capo ready, in case I had issues with fingering. I also discovered that in some chords, while it’s in theory playable (with some very odd fingering high up on the neck), the way to go was to record those added “one octave up” notes in a separate run.

part b guitar: the tabbed score with annotations
part b guitar: the tabbed score with annotations

I first had thought about recording this on the balcony, but opted for the room under the roof, mainly due to the unpredictable outside noises (which for the part C recording had been an asset). My plans were somewhat jeopardized by an onset of heavy rain – meaning rather rainy acoustics under the roof, so I just prepared and waited for later.

The recordings may sound a little...rainy
The recordings may sound a little…rainy

From the recording approach, I decided to record the chords separately, using a totally different project in Cubase. Here, I would record each chord multiple times, then move to the next.

For the recording setup, I opted to keep my options flexible, also for a potential choice to have one signal going “dry” and the other one through reverb only. For that neck-oriented position, I chose Beyer’s M201 for a best of both worlds between dynamic and small-diaphragm condenser. The body side was taken care of by an AT4050 in cardioid mode (getting preference over the PZM30D omni), and finally for the stereo room, I used the tricky Crown SPASS (a Jecklin-like thingie using PZMs).

The setup for part b: M201 on neck, AT4050 on body, SPASS for room
The setup for part b: M201 on neck, AT4050 on body, SPASS for room

I waited until the rain stopped, then started to record, only to be surprised by recurring rain later – oh well. let’s see what I can do with it.

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