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Diary 5: Strings

April 13, 2017


 (The real violin player in the video was Rowan Elliot.)


To keep things transparent, fair and ethical, it was important to discuss the no budget- part with all the collaborators. I was lucky enough to meet professional players who wanted to contribute in the film making.


The strings are a central element in this score. I recorded the Bristol Quartet, Rowan Elliott and Irene Hopper. The latter two I met through busking, and the Bristol Quartet through Kris Burton. The world would be a better place if there was more Kris Burton’s in it. He helped me recording the session by running the Pro Tools session, while I was doing my first ever conducting experience. The string quartet was the best quartet I have seen in Bristol. I would highly recommend them to anyone. So much fun to work with without compromising the productiveness of the session.


The sessions with Rowan and Irene were one of the best sessions I’ve been to. These two were really proactive and efficient to work with. I could communicate freely and describing the kind of things I was after and these guys would understand the idea immediately and bring something more to it too. I wrote some notation for Rowan and the string quartet, but with Irene it was mostly singing the melodies to her and she would then grasp the idea and play it. Irene’s amazing high-register playing can be heard across the whole score as a central theme, called Love.


Because I only had 30 minutes with the quartet, I had to make sure the notation was clear and directional enough. This is where Tess Tyler (see website: https://www.tesstyler.com) came in and kindly checked my sheet music, and gave feedback on how to improve it. It was enlightening to realise that just to change the rests from quavers into crochets make the sheet look so much less cluttered, without compromising the clarity of the idea. She also reminded me to put the markings on all of the parts, even if the quartet is reading from a full score. I wanted them to play from a full score, because the themes were to be played as if they were one instrument. However, I learnt that this isn’t the most ideal situation for the player in some cases. I played the flute in a youth symphony orchestra in Finland. Personally, I preferred to have the full score in front of me when playing. I felt that I could feel the full piece as a whole better and played I that kind of mind state. 


Irene in studio 6 Live Room. I recorded her with the same setup as Rowan: AKGC414 as ORTF in the corner and Neumann u87 above the musician.





Bristol String Quartet recording







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