Fly to Paradise

Layering Project


The brainstorming process didn't take long- I thought of choral music immediately because I have a lot of experience with it and not much states "layering" like thirty voices layered upon one another to create a massive, beautiful sound. I asked Emma, a brilliant musician and friend, if we could use her Garage Band program (as I have Windows, rather than Mac, and therefore have no good recording programs on my computer) to record a choral piece for my art project.

Experimentation & Arrangement

We didn't need much experimentation- Emma had of course used the program before and had a system worked out. We did experiment a bit with the song choice and the backing track to our final choice, Fly to Paradise by Eric Whitacre.

For the first recording, we did not use the backtrack, but during some of the loud spots you can hear the track playing through our headphones. We used the complete published track of Fly to Paradise for the background of Fly 2, and for Fly 3 we only used the backtrack.

Fly 1 and 2 were recorded the same day, and use the same recording of us singing. There were a couple vocal issues in several places we were unhappy about, such as a voice crack, or me singing the wrong note because I didn't learn the part quick enough. Our voices were also tired. So we decided to re-do it another day.

Fly 3 is that re-do, but unfortunately our voices were even more tired, and so I'm not entirely happy with this one either. It's a whole lot cleaner, though. Except for my high note. Ugh. I'd love to do this yet again, but I'm afraid Emma might try to kill me. I do appreciate how this inspired us to record other layered pieces, choral and otherwise. We gave a CD of Christmas music to our parents this year.


Hello, there! (Fly 1)  (Fly 2)

Q. Layering has several meanings. Some view it as the bottom layer having no more valuable than the top. What is your interpretation of Layering and how did you show Layering in your project?

A. Perhaps in some ways this definition works, but it certainly doesn't apply to choral music. Each voice part is incredibly important in tying the song together and making it whole. I like to think I showed that with my project. If Fly was just a soloist, or just a tenor, or just a soprano, the song would be underwhelming and lose it's magnificence. The bass is the overtone, the base; tenor is the passion; alto is the character (and decides major vs. minor); and soprano is the tune, the success.

Q. We encourage risk taking in art. Risk taking can be as simple as trying a new technique or learning about a new medium to as complex as trying something totally new. What risks did you take creating this project?

A. As stated above, I was entering a field of recorded music that I never had before- usually I just play a track on my computer and tape myself singing over it. But I've always wanted to layer my voice to create a choral piece, and this gave me the great opportunity, or rather, excuse. What better voice blends with yours than your own? It's also a rather odd concept considering the class I'm taking is Visual Arts III, but hey, music is art. I probably should have painted a piece to go with this. Maybe I still will.

Q. Of the 5 characteristics of great art (technique, concept, emotion, new, medium) which did you include in your art?

A. There is certainly a newness of concept, an originality and mastery of medium. Fly to Paradise, as with all of Eric Whitacre's compositions reveal a certain rawness and beauty of human emotion. The technique could have certainly been better, but with what we were working with, it was fairly competent.

Dec 5, 2013

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