Tag Archives: Garden

Recording in the garden #4

The weather has finally improved, so time to take the iPad outside for a spot of recording.

Two short tunes – Rùm was part of a soundtrack I recorded for a video of a holiday in Scotland in 2004. It took me ages to record the soundtrack and I wasn’t very happy with the result, but I’ve always liked this particular bit of it.

Robot is something I’ve played for I don’t know how long on the piano, and I thought it would be fun to try on the accordion. This version is all a bit frantic – what it gains in energy, it loses in playing accuracy.

All recorded on an iPad 3 with Garageband, connected to a Blue Snowball mic.

Recording in the garden #3

Another tune from yesterday’s session in the garden.

In 2003, I worked for a couple of weeks in Istanbul, and just down the road from where I was working there were several music shops. On my last visit, I went in and bought a baglama saz; it was ridiculously cheap for such a beautiful instrument.

I remain confused about the correct tuning for a baglama. It has 7 strings, arranged in three courses. There are all sorts of contradictory pages on the web recommending tunings like (low to high) AA-GG-DDD or GG-DD-AAA. But when I bought mine, I was told CC-BbBb-FFF and I’ve always liked the way it sounds, so kept it like that.

Somewhat ironically, the main melody for this tune was written on my bouzouki (the Irish bouzouki, of course, being originally derived from the traditional Greek instrument), but it has a sort of Turkish feel to it, and I think the baglama complements it quite well. I normally play the main melody on an electric bouzouki, but it sounds quite nice on acoustic instruments too. It’s never had a proper name, and I’m not sure whether I consider this a tune in its own right, or part of something else. Anyway, I called this outdoor version “Turkish Country Garden”.

Recording in the garden #2

Another beautiful morning for setting up an iPad recording studio in the garden today. I’ve been working for a while on a tune which my son named “The Snake”. It’s noisy and electric in its original form, but I haven’t quite worked out how to arrange it, or how it ends. But it’s also quite fun to play on acoustic instruments, and it seemed appropriate to call this outdoor, less venomous version “The Grass Snake”.

This tune presents two problems for iPad Garageband. Firstly, it has a middle section in 7/8, and of course you can’t change time signatures mid-song in Garageband (even the Mac version). So I created a 7/8 drum loop, and as long as I keep the section to multiples of 8 bars of 7/8, everything comes back in sync at the end of the section.

The second problem is that the final section drops the tempo to about two thirds of the speed of the rest of the tune. This is possible in Mac Garageband (although unnecessarily fiddly, in my opinion), but not in iPad Garageband. So here I just cheat, and slow it down to half speed.

Another problem I encountered with this tune was reaching the 10 sections per song limit in iPad Garageband. Luckily, I found this while I was arranging the click track, so was able to merge some sections together without losing anything; I think I have been using sections which are too short on most recordings I’ve done with the iPad.

With 4 acoustic tracks (two bouzoukis, bass and accordian), there’s plenty of ambient bird song picked up in the recording, making it far more laid back than my original, unfinished, noisy version.

Recording in the garden

Spring has sprung in Oxford, so I had chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do but never got round to – recording in the garden.

I’m lucky enough to live at the edge of a village, but sunny weekend days are still accompanied by a distant chorus of lawnmowers, barking dogs and shouty children. So I got out early this morning armed with iPad, mic, bouzouki, bass and concertina to record a very old tune called “Rope”. The sound of the birds is picked up very nicely on the mic.