Categories
Online singing

Jamulus singing

A bit of a rocky night.

Mark kept getting kicked off the session, and David had family matters to attend to, so our regular keyers were out of action. We encouraged everyone to key their own tunes, and I filled in where I could — all of which meant the keying was not as consistent as usual. (I suppose I should just bite the bullet and hone my keying skills, but I’d rather not have to concentrate that much; this is supposed to be a hobby for me, and hobbies are supposed to be fun.)

We also had a couple of singers with big latency, on the order of 90 ms. That can work, but it’s super difficult; we weren’t quite up to the challenge tonight, and tempos kept lagging. Not only that, but sometimes some singers would be off by as much as an entire measure; that, of course, affected pitch. In addition, a couple of singers seemed to have a lot of noise on their connection, so sound quality wasn’t always that great.

Yet even with all the problems, there were good moments, too. This always happens when you’re making music: sometimes everything seems to go wrong, yet then out of nowhere there will be a moment of beauty to make it all worth while.

Categories
Online singing

BASH Zoom singing

We had a good turnout on tonight’s Zoom singing: I counted 30 people on about 24 log-ins, from five U.S. states and one foreign country. The foreign country was Turkey, where former stalwart Bay Area Sacred Harp singer Yuka has moved, and it was very good to see her again.

Leigh has gotten really good at using Mark’s Web app to find field recordings for us to sing to, and a couple of times she found a field recording led by the person who chose the tune.

Leigh has gotten so good — and it’s so interesting to hear the different field recordings — that most people let her find the song. But Paul and Lorraine and their children Sarah and John sang all four parts of the tune they chose. I have to admit I got a little choked up listening to them — it seems like it’s been a long time since I heard them singing together like that at one of our local Palo Alto singings.

All in all, it was a good evening. If you had told me eight months ago that I would find it satisfying to be on a Zoom call with 30 other people and sing along to a field recording, I’d have said you were nuts. But seeing all those other singers, and chatting during the break, was a big improvement over the usual COVID isolation. Also, I have to admit I find it hard to motivate myself to sing much at all any more, but this gets me singing — and of course once I sing I feel so much better, and resolve to sing all the time, and never do.

Categories
Online singing

Jamulus singing

A somewhat smaller group this time, with some excellent singers. We had a rocky first half hour, then we seemed to get into a groove.

We were doing well enough that I decided to take a chance and when it was my turn started us off on Worcester by Abraham Wood, one of my favorite First New England School tunes. It went surprisingly well. It probably helped that I was leading the tune as well as singing bass, because the bass line really drives the whole piece so I could set the tempo just by singing (it also helped that Jerry, an excellent musician with rock-solid time, was also singing bass). It also helped that I chose a moderate tempo, about 112 b.p.m.

Jerry then led Billings’ Easter Anthem. Here again, the bass line can drive the whole piece. He started us at about 120 b.p.m., and when all four parts came in the tempo would gradually slow to maybe 112, but then in the duets or bass solos, Jerry could pick up the tempo again. Interestingly, the recitatif at measure mm. 77-81 seemed to me to stay at tempo without slowing noticeably.

There were lots of other successes tonight as well — those two just happen to stand out for me. It was really the best music making I’ve yet done online.