Today I learned just how difficult it is to record a song.
After walking me down flights of stairs, Erik Bell, the Singing Team Manager at EBBA, took me to ( what is known as “The Dungeon” to EBBA singers) the old Ethnomusicology Laboratory in the UCSB Music Building. It’s a small room; the walls are filled with shelving full of cassette tapes, VHS’s, old TV’s, and record players. The technology and decor made me feel as though I had stepped back in time to the 1970’s. The mic was set up, pointed away from the ceiling vent, and the small table where the computer and the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio interface machine was sat less than 5 feet away. I was nervous. Never one keen to be in the spotlight, the idea of singing with an audience (even of just one) made me incredibly anxious.
Marlowe’s ballad, of course, is tricky and no stanza is exactly the same. Whether it’s lines with more words, fewer words, odd stresses, whatever, it made keeping the tempo difficult. One line, “A hony tongue, a heart of gall” took me forever to get right. I kept stressing “A” when I should have been stressing “hony”: “A ho-ny tongue, a heart of gall” instead of “A ho-ny tongue, a heart of gall.“ Continue reading