Shaky Places: the aftermath

Well, I think everyone agrees that the Shaky Places concert on Sunday 15 November was a resounding success on every level.

For my part, it gradually dawned on me as we rehearsed that these songs were actually pretty good 🙂 and above all I wanted the concert to show people how good they are. I think we achieved that, with room to spare.

Max Behle took some (very good) photos on the day. A link to the photos on Dropbox has been emailed to choir members. I have put them on the Capital Choir Flickr account and they can all be accessed here:

Here’s another link, this one to an interview with Felicia Edgecombe and Geoff Robinson on National Radio’s Standing Room Only programme:


Rehearsal files interesting news

OK, I lied, it isn’t really interesting.

I have moved the links to the Shaky Places piano & voice files to a separate page:

This is in preparation for publishing the main Shaky Places rehearsal files page via SOUNZ.

I have also made a few tweaks to the MIDI files:

  • John Neas pointed out some mismatches between the score and the MIDI files in Twelve Moon Lines, beginning at about bar 45. They occur in pitch and rhythm and they affect all parts. I have now fixed them (I think) in all the MIDI files.
  • I have improved the dynamics and instrumentation  for all the Erebus Voices parts. They’re much easier to follow now. One thing to note is that the short “t t t t” section at bars 94–95 is missing.
  • In Today I have taken out all the tie lines. This adds a break between every bar—an extreme version of what Judy Bellingham calls “pulsing the tie”. I’m not suggesting you actually sing it like this, but it makes it easier to feel the rhythm while practicing. I might do this on some of the other songs

Rehearsal files finished (more or less)

The Rehearsal Files page now has MIDI files for all 14 songs plus audio (WMA and MP3) files recorded by Felicia for the sopranos and altos.

Some of the MIDI files are a bit quiet, I think, and some could do with a bit of tweaking. (For example, I just converted the bass instrument on a few of the songs from Flute to Oboe. This gives a fuller, richer sound, not unlike the Capital Choir basses. Perhaps the altos should be clarinets.) This sort of thing is relatively easy so if you have a suggestion I’d love to hear it.

At the top of the page there’s a MIDI file of the whole song cycle. I’ve also converted it to MP3 form via on online converter so it can be played on devices like iPods and portable MP3 players that don’t play MIDI. It’s good for getting an idea of the structure of the work. I listened to it in the gym today (it’s 45 minutes long) and comprehended for the first time that this really is a song cycle, not just a set of 14 songs that sound somewhat similar but are otherwise unrelated.

On the question of playing MIDIs on iPods/iPhones/iPads, I have been told this can’t be done without an app. A quick Google search suggests that there are some out there, but I can’t vouch for them. If you want to play the whole song cycle through you can use the MP3 file I created. I don’t think I’ll be converting all the individual MIDI files, but this could be done by a volunteer with sufficient energy and and several free hours.

Shaky Places rehearsal files

Shaky Places rehearsal filesThe new Rehearsal Files page (click on the pohutukawa flower at the right) has links to MIDI files intended for rehearsal  of the Shaky Places songs. The original MIDI files were exported by Felicia from her music composition notation program, Sibelius. I then imported them into a similar but simpler (and free) program, Muse Score, and produced files that are optimised (as far as I can) for note-learning. For each song there is a separate MIDI file for each part plus one with all parts.

I can’t put MIDI files on the WordPress site so they’re in the Public area in my Dropbox and you should be able to access them via the links. Clicking on a link should bring up a dialogue box prompting you to open the file in a media player like Windows Media Player or Quicktime Player. If this doesn’t happen (eg. if the file gets downloaded without being opened) then there is undoubtedly a way you can configure your browser to fix the problem: I may be able to help.

It’s all a bit experimental at the moment so let me know how you get on.

So far we’ve done just two: Make Sure and Erebus Voices. Update: I’ve just added Not a Maori Hui.

Shaky Places concert

The Shaky Places concert will be at 4 pm on Sunday 15 November at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hill St, Wellington. The following link points to the concert flier as a PDF file:

Shaky Places concert flier

Before each song, the poem will be read by Geoff Robinson (who is rather good at that sort of thing).

Tickets are $20 and can be bought via choir members or on Ticketek. Our deal with Ticketek means that the booking fee they add will not be too steep.

We’re hoping that a number of the poets will be there. (It helps that the concert coincides with the NZ Poetry Conference.) My singing teacher and friend Roger Wilson tells of performing Sings Harry (a collection of songs by Douglas Lilburn to poems by Denis Glover) 30-odd years ago. Glover was in the audience but hated listening to the songs (or maybe he just wanted a cigarette) so when Roger started singing he stormed out and paced up and down outside smoking, visible through the window to the singer but no-one else. A bit disconcerting! Let’s hope our poets don’t do that.