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Production Notes for Marvel Not, Joseph (as posted on YouTube)

Here's what I did to make the video (2007dec30):

1  Composition

I started with the text of a medieval carol ("Meruele noght Josep on Mary mylde" in British Museum Additional MS 5665, #81 in Musica Britannica volume IV, Mediaeval Carols):

Marvel not, Joseph, on Mary mild;
Forsake her not though she be with child.

I, Joseph, wonder how this may be,
That Mary wax great when I and she
Ever have lived in chastity;
If she be with child, it is not by me.

The Holy Ghost with merciful distence,
In her hath entered without offence,
God and man conceived by his presence,
And she virgin pure without violence.

What the angel of God to me doth say,
I, Joseph, must and will humbly obey,
Else privily I would have stole away,
But now will I serve her till that I day.

Joseph, thou shalt her maid and mother find,
Her Son redemptor of all mankind;
Thy forefathers of pains to unbind;
Therefore muse not this matter in thy mind:
You may know its story from "The Cherry-Tree Carol"; I borrowed from that to add an explanatory introductory verse:
When Mary asked that Joseph some cherries pick,
He spoke with anger both fierce and quick.
But when her womb’s small voice caused the tree to bend,
Joseph knew there was more to comprehend.
I liked the text because of its humor.

I wrote the music in 1980, when I was working as a rehearsal pianist for UC Berkeley; it was given its (to date) only performance at (at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley that year; I played the organ in that performance. I don't remember why I cast Joseph as a tenor; it could have been that I hoped to sing the part myself.

2  Note Entry

I entered the score into Sibelius in 2004 (and put it online in Scorch and as a PDF).

3  Score for Multi-track

For doing a multi-track recording, I split the score into these parts: SATB solos (one staff apiece), tenor solo (Joseph), organ loud, organ soft, chorus, and woodblock (click-track); this score was exported as MIDI file.

4  Studio setup

Since I'd never done this before, it took me a while to get to the point where I was able to hear what I wanted without rewiring; there's probably a simpler way to do this, but here's what I ended up with:

The two mixers at the right allowed me to have a monitor mix (which I listened to on headphones while recording) that was independent of the recorded mix. I tried using a click from the computer for the click track, but I couldn't get the sync right, and decided that the highest note on the piano sounded pretty much like a wood block.

5  Recording

I opened the MIDI file in Cakewalk Home Studio, added seven audio tracks (SATB solo, Tenor solo, chorus, organ), recorded the organ (an Ahlborn-Galanti Archive Module with a custom sample set), laid down the vocal tracks using a Roland VP-550 (which I got on 2007dec29 — this is the first piece I did with it), and exported the result as a stereo audio file. I added a little more reverb with Adobe Audition.

6  Frame Rendering

I used my RenderMAM software to render the MIDI file into 30 fps frames in PNG format.

7  Assembly

The PNG frames, the audio recording and titles were combined using Adobe Premiere and exported as an uncompressed QuickTime movie.

8  Conversion

The uncompressed QuickTime was converted to an M4V file (for iPod; available at Vimeo) and a compressed QuickTime movie.

9  Upload

I used Ipswitch WS_FT to upload the movie (in .m4v format where possible and .mov version otherwise) to YouTube, vimeo, Google and Revver.

10  Documentation

I wrote this description and added it to the Production Notes Table of Contents.

Total time (steps 3 through 10): about 16 hours