It’s been a few months since I last posted to this blog.
I had always imagined that I would post some clips of my playing. A few years ago I experimented with audioboo and didn’t realise it was tweeting the recordings. I only realised that when, four songs in to my recording experiment, I noticed a flurry of tweets saying things like “lovely!”. Oh oh! The pieces weren’t too awful, I suppose, at last they were proper attempts to get all the way through a song in one piece. Someone even shared me back their version of one of the songs back, which made me feel a lot better about it all (thank you David 🙂 ).
I’ve been meaning to have another go. The other day I suddenly found myself questioning my motives: would I just be attention-seeking, scouring for compliments? Neither my piano playing or my singing are perfect, I know that, but it’s the closest I come to making something: just me, no-one else to take the credit or blame. A brief discussion on facebook later and I think I’ll go for it. It’s in that spirit of just enjoying expressing myself that I sat down to record some pieces for this post.
Technical aside: this time instead of audioboo, I’ve been trying some different android recording apps on my tablet. I just balance the tablet on the piano and start recording, nothing fancy. Then I send the files to google drive. Then on my laptop I download them back from google drive. My playing wasn’t so fluid last night, so I’ve just edited some clips in audicity 😉 Then onto soundcloud. Be warned that because I play from the music I have to turn the pages sometimes so its very low-tech.
Autumn Leaves by Eva Cassidy
One of the songbooks I love to play from is Eva Cassidy. I like the slower ballady ones best: songbird, autumn leaves, I know you by heart, somewhere over the rainbow. I played this too fast because I knew I was recording it and my nerves sped me up. I also messed up the piano towards the end, hence the abrupt finish! But I don’t get bored of this, and I particularly love the start.
I Know You By Heart by Eva Cassidy
Again, just a clip because I have various bits to work on. I need to memorise the second and third verses for this.
One and Only by Adele
I am working on some songs by Adele, from “21”, the more ballady ones. I enjoy playing them more than listening to the originals, perhaps the production is a bit too poppy for me. But some of those songs are very well crafted, as a songwriter I think she’s created some great stuff and I do love her voice.
Almaz by Randy Crawford
I only recently discovered that lots of songs I like have been written and/or performed by Randy Crawford. I have “last night at danceland” on a jazz compilation and it is so distinctive, I adore it. I’ve played Almaz so long now that I’ve probably lost the essence of the song, but it’s one I feel confident with. Needs a fresh approach and some polish. Next on my to do list from her catalogue is “One Day I’ll Fly Away”.
Blue by Joni Mitchell
Herein lies a story. My mum introduced me to Joni Mitchell’s Blue when I was about 14. Probably at the same time as reading Sylvia Plath’s the Bell Jar. If that paints a picture of my teenage years you’d be right. There’s a sparsity to this song that has such an amazing melancholy, it is one of the best songs for piano and female voice that I have ever heard. I searched for the sheet music on and off, but it didn’t even appear in her sheet music compilations. Then a month ago I treated myself to a new piano songbook, £10 on amazon, I just glanced down the contents online and ordered it. It arrived, I randomly opened it, and here it was! I’d been going through a few weeks that felt like swimming upstream, and it felt like an omen that this had turned up. The words, by the way, should be essential listening for any overthinking teenager like I was. Thank you to my mum for sharing it with me in the first place. An amazing song, I plan to memorise it, which I always struggle with, but it would be worth it.
Readers, do not feel obliged to comment! I’m just putting this all out there warts and all, it’s neither brilliant nor completely dreadful, but I feel slightly embarrassed by my desire to share. I have done a few singing performances over the past 5 years or so, including a rather strange gig at work (some of you will remember that 😀 ), and three years of the Warwick folk festival choir. I am loving finding out that some of my relatives are into making music too, in a bigger way than me (waves at Tamara and Kris!). I’m in good company, if a little rough round the edges. So, yes, there we go. I’m being brave. End of post!