Excelsior

Okay, despite some personal strife, and work being a pain in my butt the last few weeks, I’ve still managed to get some music making in. This one started several months ago, when I entered a contest at KVRaudio.com to create a 30 second song. The 30 second song I came up with was a very quick dity with lyrics adapted from a poem called Excelsior by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Excelsior, for those that don’t know means “ever higher” or “ever upward”–something along those lines.

My 30 second song was nothing special, but it was enough to win me third place in the contest, so that was kinda neat. More than that though, I really wanted to do more with the song. I ended up writing a short choral piece using my original idea as a basis shortly after the contest was over. I then let it sit for a while, too busy with other things to sit down and record it. Fast forward like… eight or nine months, and I finally decide I’m ready to do it.

So not only do I take my original SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor Bass) arrangement and do a new arrangement for TTBB (Tenor, Tenor, Bass Bass), I also decide I’m going to be a bit more ambitious this time in several respects. The first is that I wanted to document the making of this song. And document it I did–with several hours of screencast and video footage of my process of arranging, recording and finalizing the piece.

The second thing I did was more than double the number of voices that I’ve recorded for similar choir-like songs in the past. “Dirait On”, “Sleep LIttle Baby” and “O Magnum Mysterium” were limited to only eight voices–two of each part. “Excelsior” on the other hand utilizes TWENTY voices. This complicates matters tremendously, but I won’t bore you with the details here. You can see more about that if you want to watch the “making of” vidoes that should be ready in a couple of weeks.

The short of it is that I was going for a more full sound, and I believe I succeeded. I also did it in record time. From start to finish, I had the song arranged for TTBB, recorded and finished in 7 days. It would have been shorter if I didn’t need to rest my voice and make some changes to the end of the song after the initial attempt wasn’t good enough. My New Years Resolution seems to be panning out so far (see my previous blog post).

Finally, I also created a short “video” of the song–giving a little behind the scenes look at the song’s recording, as well as a moody “cloudy” ending that hopefully encourages you to stop watching the song, and start really listening to it.

Without further adieu, you can SEE the song on my youtube account here:

And you can just listen to it by pressing play here:

Thanks for listening! Until next time.


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