I'm Your Moon (Guitar Only)

from by Common Lisp

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This is a guitar line for Jonathan Coulton's song "I'm Your Moon." This is one complete take. This song sounds simple, and there is nothing exotic or technically challenging about the fingerings, but getting a complete, reasonably steady play-through from beginning to end was harder than I thought it would be. Practicing this song really demands working with a metronome. It's interesting how recording is considerably more demanding than live performance; it's a good exercise for any guitarist attempting to advance his or her skills!

This project started with a recording of the guitar part, recorded into Logic using a Rode NT-5 microphone, while simultaneously recording a video using an Apple iSight camera, using iMovie. I then sang a couple of vocal takes into my ribbon mic, recording the mic audio in Logic and again simultaneously recording video of my performance using the iSight. So when I was finished, I had raw video of myself playing the guitar part and singing the vocal parts, as well as reasonably clean audio tracks.

After editing and mixing the full vocal and guitar cover song, and throwing in some gratuitous effects, I bounced the mix to another audio file, pulled that back into an iMovie project, and aligned it with the video of myself playing the guitar part, layering in video of one of the two vocal parts. (I would have liked to add myself singing both vocal parts to the video, but iMovie wouldn't let me composite three video tracks at once; oh, well).

Are you confused yet? I was. It was especially difficult because the audio and video in the iSight recording weren't in sync with each other to begin with, and there was also no "clapper" to align these tracks with the finished song. Everything had to be rather painstakingly aligned by eyeballing my fingers and mouth, listening to the audio, and trying to get them to match up. The video version can be seen on YouTube here:


The guitar audio part is a relatively poor recording. It was one of my first attempts at recording the acoustic with an NT-5, and I didn't really know how to position the mic. There was also a lot of computer fan noise and reflected sound, and even sound from the kids and TV making noise downstairs.

At some point when space and budget allows I will configure a better recording environment with acoustic foam. Meanwhile, I've done what I could to improve the recording by first running the audio file through Izotope RX, then setting up a channel strip with some gain to compensate for a very low starting level, feeding it into Izotope Alloy using a preset called "Retro Tapelike Saturation" to do some dynamics processing and add some harmonics, especially in the lower midrange, to help compensate for some of what the noise reduction took out. Finally, it is hitting Logic's stereo spreader plug-in to make it sound a little more three-dimensional. (A stereo recording might have been nicer; I'll try that next time, since the NT-5 is part of a matched pair).

And so here we are. Whew!


from Parts is Parts, released December 21, 2010
Guitar and production: Paul R. Potts. Original song by Jonathan Coulton. See: www.jonathancoulton.com/wiki/index.php/http://www.jonathancoulton.com/wiki/index.php/I'm_Your_Moon If you enjoy my track, please support the original artist.