Blog. As you’ve been sadly lacking in festive posts this year, here’s another carol, recorded for my singing teacher yet again. My lovely, gracious, and kind singing teacher (who has a Jane Austen fetish, but don’t all of us who hanker after a long-ago romantic past) suggested I try Silent Night.
Not that the 18th century could be remotely classed as a romantic idyll. Cholera, Typhus and Smallpox finished off thousands at a time when Britain’s population stood at only 8 million. Doctors were almost all quacks who, if you were unfortunate enough to require their dodgy services, would generally finish off what cruel Nature had started. Not to mention the Poor’s addiction to ‘Mother Gin.’ Who could blame them, living as they were in filth, no fresh air, contaminated drinking water, raw sewage, and garbage rotting in the streets. The London graveyards were full, and open coffins (the Poor yet again) were left lying around, again in the streets. Must stop, I’ve digressed.
I chose the simplest of backing tracks and decided to harmonise with myself, via singing a lower alto part. Well. Audacity gave up the recording ghost. It coped admirably with the reproduction of my track and allowed me to add another track to sing the SN tune but was appalled when I added on yet another track to record the alto part, and then another track to repeat the rather faint alto line.
Mind you, Audacity didn’t reprimand me there and then (which would have been a great help) but waited until I’d recorded the entire song. No sooner had I hit ‘play’ than Audacity wrung its hands and shot up a notification that he (surely Audacity is male) had found great difficulty in synchronising my tracks, due to the fact I had some kind of app running in the background. I was unaware of any app lurking behind the scenes. The husband later posited that my mic mixer may be the offending app. The result was I had to get rid of the third alto track which really diminished that sound. And my track ends in utter confusion before petering out.
I played my Silent Night during my online lesson mid-week and then we talked of many things, ranging from cabbages to kings (as Mr Carroll would have said) and included The Virus which, when it comes to those 18th Century bugs, may in fact be a ‘bit’ player. I, for one, feel very lucky indeed to have escaped being born in any century other than the 20th.
And then last night on The One Show (which I rarely watch) Gary Barlow and Ronan Keating sang Silent Night, in much the simplistic and dual harmonising manner of my own version. What a coincidence thought I. I’m not overly fond of Silent Night but it was my homework and I had to do it. I screeched out the offending top notes, yet again, and feel my version has a sort of maudlin and repetitive quality, which may be Audacity getting its own back. I had watched Emma (2020) the night before and fancied myself at a harpsichord, in a floaty dress (during my recording) an adoring Mr Knightley looking on (of course this would only work were I not pushing 60.)
Son no.3 later informed me that he’d heard me warbling away while he was in an online work meeting and very much hoped my efforts had not reached his colleagues’ ears.