Cut offs

After listening to our takes from the previous sessions, we realized that we had some problems with Morrison’s Jig and with the Cakewalk software.

On Morrison’s, I found that I was playing harmony notes in the B part that didn’t work with the guitar chords. Jerry and I had also both learned the tune with high B’s in the B part, but I’ve since found out that it’s traditionally played with high A’s instead. Just as well, because none of the five takes were really good enough anyway.

So, after warming up with some Scandinavian tunes — Jerry was going to be marching with Laurie Hart’s group in the Ithaca Festival Parade, and I’d learned the tunes two years ago in a workshop with Laurie — we tackled the Out on the Ocean / Morrison’s / Kesh set again.

We had some good takes. But when we stopped to listen to what we felt was the best one, we found that Cakewalk had cut off the end of it. We had waited a decent amount of time for the dulcimer’s sustain to die down before hitting “stop,” but the cut off point was in the final B part. We tried a few things — restarting the program, changing some of the options — and then finally figured out that it must be a processing delay.

Computers are fast, but some of the sound, in working its way through the program, must be delayed enough that when we hit “stop” it’s much earlier than we think it is. The strange thing is that some takes get cut off and some don’t; there must be some variable that delays some more than others.

We turned to Winter East and Kensington. It’s a tune I wrote in honor of two dulcimer friends who lived on those streets. If I remember right, I wrote different parts of it at their houses: during a rehearsal break at Tom’s, and I think during the evening at Tim’s where I was comparing his dulcimer to Anne’s to decide which one I wanted to order. I recorded it as a dulcimer solo on No Loose Threads.

When we moved here and I started playing with Jerry in Trim the Velvet, I wrote a fiddle harmony with sustained notes to contrast with the note-y melody. Craig comes in on the second A part with fingerpicking. Mmmm. I’m excited about recording this trio version.

We did a few takes, experimenting with waiting much much longer before hitting “stop” — once we played it through twice with a pause in between. That one got cut off towards the end of the second time through. We did another, continuing to make noise after a sufficient pause to let the dulcimer’s sustain die out. It was cut off during the noise, but we got the whole actual take. It might even be a good one.