A little something for Canada Day

I had a horn teacher who had the custom, on Canada Day, of taking his canoe out to the middle of the lake and playing “O Canada” on the horn.

I lack a boat, the nearest lake has rather a lot of traffic noise and I’m a bit disorganised. So instead, here is a recording of me playing “O Canada” on the serpent.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F18238039 O Canada by artsyhonker


Stop, collaborate and listen

David Sinden has a series of blog posts recording different stops on various organs, one at a time so that you can really hear the character of the stop. It seemed like a good project, so I decided to try and record some of the stops on the organ at St Andrew’s.

Here, then, is the Oboe stop on the swell box. This is probably an original stop on this instrument.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F15296763 Swell Oboe 8 playing Stanley by artsyhonker

Apologies for the whooshing noise. The bellows are in need of serious repair, but we’re a very small parish and the repairs aren’t cheap so for now we just have to put up with it. In services, I usually turn the organ off completely after the gradual hymn, so that the Gospel reading and the sermon are a bit easier for people to hear, then turn it on again during the Peace before the Offertory hymn.

The piece is the beginning of a voluntary by John Stanley, whose (manuals-only) voluntaries I generally enjoy. I suppose I should find a pedal-only piece for another stop recording, I am meant to be getting better at this business of playing notes with my feet.

London Gallery Quire Evensong

London Gallery Quire will be singing an Evensong at St Mary’s Rotherhithe this Sunday, 8th May, at 6pm. I’m really looking forward to it!

Here’s a very rough sample of one of the pieces. This is just me singing the parts, one take each, so the tuning isn’t amazing, the timing is ragged and some of the words aren’t very clear. But it’s such a wonderful little piece I wanted people to be able to hear it!

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F14681862 Blest who with generous pity glows by artsyhonker

EDIT: The embed thing doesn’t seem to be working but here is a link to the file at Soundcloud.

You can download a PDF of the music from the LGQ website if you want to follow along. The more observant may notice that I’ve put the whole thing down a tone and then transposed the bassline up, in order to accommodate my vocal range.

If you want to hear it done right you’ll have to come to Evensong!


On acknowledgement

On Thursday I got an e-mail from someone. He was writing to tell me he’d found my piece Crux Fidelis on the Choral Public Domain Library a few months ago, and had used it in the liturgy for Good Friday at the church where he’s organist. It went well and they intend to use it again next year.

It felt really wonderful to be thanked, and even just to know that my music is being used. I know others have used that piece this year, but they’re all friends or acquaintances. Of course I’m glad they like it and use it, but in my head it feels like strangers liking my music enough to use it is another level. One of the difficulties of putting my work online is that I never really know whether it is getting used. Oh, SoundCloud has some stats for listens and downloads, but once a track has been downloaded I have no idea how often it’s played. CPDL doesn’t seem to offer any stats, but even if they did, there’s a long way between downloading a piece of music and having a choir sing it!

If there were such a thing, I’d be tempted to use a Creative Commons license where people can do what they like with my music as long as they tell me, somehow. As things currently stand I’m reliant on etiquette.

Perhaps, though, it’s just as well that such a license doesn’t exist. Having to let the creator know what’s happening might be enough to put people off using the work, after all, and if it comes to a choice between the music being heard and my hearing about it, I think I’d choose the former.


With Merry Glee

Over two months after the actual performance, I’m finally sorting through some of the music the Brigantia Consort performed this summer.

The first track went up to Soundcloud just over a week ago; since then it has had 48 plays and six downloads. I promise you only one of the plays was me! I didn’t advertise it very widely, and I know it might seem like small beans, but if those are unique plays rather than duplicates it has already been heard by over double the number of people who came to the concert. A larger concert audience would of course have been good (apparently, there was some sort of game involving kicking a ball around happening at the same time — who knew it would affect our numbers?), but being able to reach people who couldn’t be there is wonderful. The recordings were made, with the help of Dearest Button-Pusher, on a little Olympus LS-10 linear PCM recorder.
I’m not sure whether we’ll keep using Soundcloud, or move to something like Bandcamp. It seems like Soundcloud is great for getting rough tracks out there quickly, while Bandcamp might be better for a more polished album with artwork and so on, or at least fewer sirens than on “She’s Like the Swallow”. I love Steve Lawson‘s approach of putting all of his stuff on Bandcamp with a pay-what-you-will label. As an aside, I also really have him to thank for making me aware of Bandcamp and Soundcloud, and his article on Talking About Awesome Things gave me a major kick up the backside.
Coming soon: a way for people to give money to Brigantia Consort. That will probably start with a PayPal button, unless someone can tell me what the cool kids are doing these days.
Today I blogged ever so briefly on She’s Like the Swallow; it will be interesting to see what the publicity there, and here, does to the Soundcloud stats.