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Topic: O' Star

  1. #1

    O' Star

    Hi everyone. Firstly, best wishes for the season to you all.

    Last year, I was asked by my good friend, the English lyricist and poet, Dawn Sinclair, to come up with a traditional sounding Christmas carol. Dawn had penned the words and had asked Andrew Foyston and Dawn Diamond to provide the vocals on the piece. I felt that a simple, minimalist approach would work in the form of harp and flute to create a historical sound to add the traditional touch. I also saw the piece as something to be sung by a small group of carollers.

    The music is entirely done using GPO and recorded, mixed and rendered in FL6.

    Please stop by for a listen and a bit of Christmas cheer ...

    Any comments or suggestions gratefully received.



  2. #2

    Re: O' Star

    Hello, Mike

    Most importantly I want to thank you for this lovely Christmas carol. Underneath whatever is crass which has been piled on top of the holiday season, there is such a strong, warm spirit of greater kindness and fellowship at the heart of this time of year - And it's wonderful to hear that spirit singing in the song you and your friends have presented as a gift to everyone.

    It's a very sweet and old fashioned carol, as you described it. I can certainly see carollers singing it this or any holiday season.

    I believe you're also asking for any possibly helpful feedback - I do have one observation. Especially in the opening verses, and sometimes after that, the vocal tends to rush and come in so much earlier than the instruments that the cumulative effect is a bit more ragged than it needs to be.

    When I work with vocals, it's usually me doing demos of my own material--and as a singer, I need all the help I can get!--but even better singers can benefit from the wonders of digital editing.

    I usually slice up vocals to units of no more than a few words, wherever a cut mark can be placed, and sometimes even where it is potentially awkward but can still work with some clever cross-fading. I take those slices and align them better to the instrumental tracks - fairly easily done in a digital editor, eyeing the peaks in the various audio tracks.

    I think a bit of shifting backwards in time would make the track even more effective.

    It's a very pleasant piece, Thanks for posting it!

    Randy B.

  3. #3

    Re: O' Star

    Thanks for that Randy. I did attempt some slicing when I was putting this together but was pressed for time a little. I also made a huge mistake in sending a backing track which had been encoded at 48khz and for some reason, when I received the vox tracks back (44khz), they didn't quite match up. I decided to leave it like that in the end however as it meant that it sounded more natural as a group of friends singing carols (lucky for me). But thanks very much for your advice, I hadn't ever thought of slicing that fine and then cross fading back together again. I'll definitely bear that in mind.


  4. #4

    Re: O' Star

    Very nicely done. I especially like the GPO Chorus (I am kidding). It really is a nice carol. Has the feel of one that has been around for awhile. I like your instrumentation, simple and yet very effective. Nicely rendered work, I would never guess I wasn't hearing a real harp and flute. Thank you for bringing me a bit of your Christmas spirit. Have a great holiday!
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  5. #5

    Re: O' Star

    "I especially like the GPO Chorus (I am kidding)."

    Now if it could do that I would be well impressed lol.

    Thanks for stopping by to listen and your comments - have a great holiday too.


  6. #6

    Re: O' Star

    A lovely carol, Mike; and I agree "a simple, minimalist approach"
    works wonderfully well with this material... it somehow just seems
    to fit, the appropriate setting for the gentle purity and simplicity
    of the lyrics.

    My best,


  7. #7

    Re: O' Star

    Mike, I was very impressed by this song! The arrangement is perfect... it fits the mood, fits the subject, and artfully showcases the voices (which were just awesome!).

    The only minor quibble I have is the one already mentioned in Randy's post. Although they certainly don't need to line up perfectly (which wouldn't be very desirable, anyway, as I'm sure you already know), the rhythmic alignment of the vocals needs just a bit of tweaking. Not much though -- this has a slight "sittin'-around-the-living-room-singin'-with-my-friends" feel to it, which adds to the allure and charm of the whole production.

    Overall, though... I dig it! Loads of talent on the part of everyone involved.Thanks for posting this Christmas gift!


  8. #8

    Re: O' Star

    Thank you to David and Danny for your kind comments and words of encouragement. Very much appreciated.


  9. #9

    Re: O' Star

    This is a very lovely carol that you and your friends are sharing. It's very moving. Thank you.

    Happy holidays to you and your family.

    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: O' Star

    A real nice christmas carol.

    I hope you don't get offended but I was thinking it would make a nice addition for a nashville artist's christmas album such as A Skaggs Family Christmas.

    And I'm not thinking of yeehaw either music but a tasteful arrangement that all could enjoy.

    I'm just thinking of those songwriter's royalties.


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