Wednesday, July 1, 2020

On Virtual Choirs

Editing all this virtual choir stuff really brings to light the intangible musical things that happen automatically when we are making music in person. When singers are tasked with singing along to a click track with a fixed tempo and pitch, the results are remarkably varied, even among the best singers. This is what's most time consuming about editing virtual choir videos together—getting everything lined up and in the same pitch universe so it sounds like an ensemble, instead of chaos. 

It's surprising how subjective pitch and time are, even while singing along to a fixed click track. In a sense, nobody is wrong, but these minute differences are worked out immediately when we are making music in the same room, like magic. While I would still argue that it's possible to achieve a higher level of performance and interpretation on this medium, we should not take for granted the real magic that happens when musicians are together, for that is what makes live performances so special.

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