Monday, April 13, 2009

Coming to you in glorious mono sound!

As threatened promised, I have here an audio recording of the previous entry on Easter business and sundry. Since both entries will stay on the front page for a bit, feel free to scroll down to read along while you listen (original entry was April 14, 2009). Those who have no desire to revisit that tale can just skip this entry, as that's all that's contained herein.

I noticed a few things:

- there are mistakes. There sure are. Some very noticeable ones, too; long drawn pauses in the middle of sentences as I realize that I changed word order or even changed words. While I could have edited this extensively to remove all such problems, that's a time-intensive course. Plus, leaving it "as is" shows the tool marks of the process, which add character (I hope).

- I slur some stuff. When I don't rigorously try to speak clearly, I tend to slur consonants together, as my brain races ahead to the next words while dragging my tongue behind. I'd call it mumbling if I wanted to be hard on myself, except that it only lasts for three or four syllables at most. I guess that means it's largely carelessness, which is probably worse.

- it's a bit rough. I read through it once to myself to iron out a lot of the pacing issues, then I recorded the second take. To this recording I made no edits or changes, other than deleting the final mouse click to stop the recording (because it annoyed me) and to do a pass with the equalizer to take away some of the sibilant "Ssss" from consonants and bolster the weak body of my little headphone mic. Everything else is just as recorded. Bonus points if you can find the stifled burp; I noticed it "in the moment" but couldn't find it again in a reasonable time. Ha!

- do I have a distant history of living in Britain? In listening to the clip, I noticed a handful of places that sound as though I temporarily dip into British-English for the length of a vowel or two. One particular place, I seem to pronounce "at all" not like we Americans do "at...all", but more like a London accent "attol". I should say that there is a different phenomenon at work at the same time: being very careful about the syllables one pronounces tends to sound English to American ears, too. I find that when I speak very carefully, it tends to sound like we (Americans) think the Queen sounds.

- and speaking of accents... Just as I wish that I was able to listen to myself playing from the audience while I'm performing onstage, I wish I were somehow able to listen to myself and do a better job of picking out the sign-post features of my speech that would identify me, a la Henry Higgins. Perhaps one of my foreign visitors will have something to say on that front, though I'm not sure I want to hear what the visitor from Tajikistan, who searched for "sex playing doctor" and wound up here, has to say.

- "naturality". To my ear, it's very hard to sound "normal" reading what I write. Probably because I end up writing with a more formal style of English, filled with subordinate clauses and extended parenthetical comments. These would be annoying and overly complex in spoken English. The end result is that I do sound like I'm reading it, but I don't suppose that could ever REALLY have been avoided. Perhaps I was misguided to use as my template good actors like Michael Caine, who have talked about "hearing the lines for the first time" as a key. Or perhaps it's just that this "lecture" version uses different methods than if it were a play, a sentiment which sounds stupendously obvious as I type it down. Oh well. Practice makes defect.

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