daily kaddish: intentional improvisation & accidental counterpoint

Mira is away at a conference for the week, so I don’t know how well she’ll be keeping up with the daily recordings, but for the rest of our virtual minyan, today’s Kaddish is ready and waiting in the usual location.

Last night I made my first attempt to play from memory, and the result was a brief improvised passage when I needed to recover from either a left turn or a blanking-out; I can’t remember which.

Tonight I didn’t attempt to play from memory, but I did deliberately wander off and back onto the page, improvising between written passages. Expect a lot more of this in future recordings; I’ll be mixing up straight takes with improvisation and other surprises.

The recordings should be higher quality again starting tomorrow—my Mac is busily downloading its Pro Tools 9 upgrade, at long last. I’m glad that I had the fine shareware tool Amadeus Pro available for the week in which I couldn’t seem to keep Pro Tools 7 working, and I’ll be even more glad to get back to the high-end software. In audio software as in so many things, you really do get what you pay for. (Of course, you also get a much steeper learning curve. My head already hurts in anticipation.)



Zoe was right (see comments below)! I embedded a pretty cool surprise. Unfortunately I did it entirely by accident!

The surprise comes to us through a string of mishaps:

  • While working on my Pro Tools 9 upgrade and driver updates, I accidentally nudged one of the gain knobs, so the right channel was recorded at about 10% too high a level.
  • The distortion from this was pretty unpleasant, so I attempted to do some repairs. First, I split the stereo track into two separate mono tracks. Then I used Amadeus Pro’s amplify function at –1dB to bring down the distorted right channel.
  • Then I tried to put them back together, but couldn’t figure out how to do that.
  • Finally, in frustration, I converted the good channel to stereo, selected it, and bounced it to disk. While doing so, though, I discovered that I’d left a little too much dead air at the beginning and end of the track, so I trimmed those and resaved…
  • …not realizing that my selection of the one good pseudo-stereo track was disregarded by the save command. The result? A three-track recording of me at a good input level and myself at a bad input level, somewhat but not completely repaired by the deamplification, in canon at several long beats.

I could fix it, but that’s not really in the spirit of our rules (where each take has to go out how it is), and moreso because the effect, although accidental, is actually really cool.

Let’s hear it for happy accidents.

By erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…

2 replies on “daily kaddish: intentional improvisation & accidental counterpoint”

Loved this one, Erin! I especially liked it that even though you gave away the improvisation in your post, you still left a surprise in there.

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