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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

November 8, 2020

A problem unique to streaming

evelyn @ 1:49 pm

It had to happen, I suppose. I have had to explain to one of our best cantors why the Gospel Acclamation verse she recorded would sound nothing like her when she listens to it online on Sunday. And it’s all my fault.

It started the previous week. The cantor was our deepest bass who prefers a tone below the usual key. It’s good practice for my transposing as well. Since lockdown, however, I’ve been using my living-room electronic, and instead of transposing I’ve been cheating by using the transposing knob.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. I forgot to switch it back again. The ‘psalm guide’ for the next cantor (melody with a few chords) went out a tone down, and as neither of us has perfect pitch, we didn’t notice.

This particular cantor has a lovely alto voice, so her psalm, in E flat instead of F, sounded positively beautiful. But her Gospel Acclamation verse was a different story. The choir’s Alleluia is in G, and the cantor’s verse, which comes between the two Alleluia renderings, turned out on this occasion to be in F. I looked at the transposing knob and my heart sank.

It was too late to ask the cantor to re-record. So I had to check out the pitch-change capabilities of my sound-mixing program. Yes, it could raise the short verse by a major second, even giving a reasonable result, but in doing so, it made the voice quite unrecognisable as that of our cantor. But it was the only way, so I sent off the result to our technician.

What to do then? The choir has a WhatsApp chat on which it is customary for them to dissect Sunday’s performance. Would they notice? My husband said I should confess to the cantor, but leave the others to work it out. So that’s what I did, and she was quite amused.

As for the others, they didn’t even notice the doctored acclamation! Although they did remark on the lovely psalm, quite rightly.




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