Not yet

Today I worked on two tunes: the remaining recorder parts for “Christ Child Lullaby,” and a new piece, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

I’d been practicing those recorder parts several times a day, so they didn’t take too long this morning. In fact, the timing was really nice: I had from 11 to 12:30 to tune, then took a break for lunch, and finished tuning afterwards. Taking a break in the middle of tuning helps keep my ear from getting overly sensitive with concentration.

After lunch, we started on “Emmanuel.” My version starts with an adaptation of the Episcopal Hymnal’s setting, continues with another verse in the standard 4/4 meter, then goes into a sort of two-over-three rhythm.

Recording the middle verse was interesting because it involved a set of softer responses between melody phrases. What we ended up doing is recording one melody phrase, switching tracks, recording the response, switching back to melody, and so on. The last verse was challenging, too, because of the syncopation, timing, and accents. I’m not entirely sure of the editing yet… I’ll have to listen to it a lot and see what I think.

Tomorrow may well be my last day of recording. I just have two more new pieces to do, plus fix one part of another tune. The end is near, but not here yet.

Besides those last bits of recording, I need to do the mixing and mastering and finish the text and graphics. Writing the liner notes is proving to be difficult — there’s only so much room, and it’s hard to decide exactly what I have to say about each piece and then figure out how to say it in the space allotted.

A college friend, artist Andrea Seavers, is working on the cover art and text. She does marvelous Christmas cards: collages mixed with original drawing, painting, and lettering. So far she’s sent me one rough sketch of a Madonna and Child collage based on a Fra Angelico painting, and I think it will be a perfect cover for this album.

Another couple of friends (who happen to also be dulcimer students), Keith and Marty Bryant, took photos of me with the instruments for the traycard, and I’ve also taken some studio shots of guest musicians for the back of the booklet. The last step, besides sending off the CD and graphics to the manufacturers, is planning a release party and concert. I have some ideas, but I’ll wait until it’s finalized before I announce it.