Week 6 – And in the end…

I shoulda, woulda, coulda guessed that when we got extra time to do this assignment and that it’s apparent triviality – just change some of the phrasing – actually meant that this was going to be a lot harder than it looked.

Given all of the work done in prior weeks, and with Pat’s brilliant advice, it wasn’t hard to pick off which lines needed to be front-heavy and which would be back-heavy.

Executing on those decisions was a different matter though.

I knew it would play into my weaknesses – singing and playing and recording at the same time, while trying to sing lines that didn’t fall into my rut.

It was so scary that I procrastinated until the second-last day, before beginning the assignment.

As usual, procrastination did bring its rewards.

While procrastinating, I stumbled upon a post in the coursera main forum, by someone who’d used the editing features in his DAW to play around with F/B phrasing and to compare the results.

Well, that sealed the deal.  I’m a computer geek – what could be easier?  And, in the past few weeks, I had re-learned enough about my nemesis – Cubase – to give it a shot.  In fact, I didn’t have much choice, given how late it was.

The plan: have Cubase play the music, I’d sing over it, then snip and wiggle phrases, then put my feet up and have a cold one.

Procrastination also endowed me with knowledge of a software tool I hadn’t heard of before – Tux Guitar.  Wow, if this gets any easier I’ll be done before I start!

Furthermore, some years ago, I grabbed my copy of The Complete Scores The Beatles and painted the full score for “Rain” into my DAW (the afore-mentioned wicked Cubase).  The result was astounding, it was a dead-on musical xerox of the original song.

And, my song was even simpler than Rain.  A 6/8 J-Tull dittie.  Capo 6th fret.


Tux Guitar did not agree with my notation of my own playing.  It couldn’t be my fault…

After arguing with TG for several hours, I broke down and asked the SAC FB groupfor help and posted a short snippet.  Well, dang, my 6/8 snippet turned out to be 9/8 and/or 3/4.

Back to the DAW-ing board…

I gave up trying to have Cubase and VST’s do the playing for me, laid down a guitar track, sang each line separately over top of it (aha – MH’s comment about using looping recording finally sank in and made sense to me).

Yep.  Every line was sung FB.  I could see the stresses on the screen, each one on a strong beat.

Snip, snip, move, move.

I achieved my intended result – the assignment was done.  Not pretty, but done.  I could wash my hands of it and do something else on Sunday.  It sounded very stilted, and the snipped (B) portions didn’t sound “au naturel”.

I posted it to the SAC FB.  I got a cappella pieces of really good of advice.

Surely I wasn’t going to bother going back down to the pit to tweak the result, was I?

On my daily 4-mile walk Sunday morning, I couldn’t help but think of my peer reviewers.  Pity.

Returning home with a case of the guilts, I did go back down into the pit and spent the rest of the day tweaking.  The MH trick of looping the recorded line did help me de-robotify the piece at least somewhat.

After submitting my assignment, I realized that I had no more writing homework.


Weird feeling.

I drilled down and wrote peer review essays – 14 of them, plus a couple in the forum.

I hope that I didn’t bore anybody … :-).

This has been quite a ride.  The course was touted as a “beginners” course, yet, after attending numerous PPP seminars over the past 15 years, I learned something new every week in this course.

Amazing depth in teaching.

I found the peer reviews to be amazingly rewarding.  I felt a responsibility to review the way that PPP had instilled in me (wow, another level of teaching!).  I learned something new with each one I wrote.  By week 6, I was utterly addicted to writing peer reviews.

Lily – thanks!

Debra – thanks!  You took on a huge responsibility.  This SAC FB group really, really added to my enjoymnent and learning.

Coursera – wow, thanks.

My fellow SAC’yings.  It’s been an honour (CDN spelling :-), to participate withyou and to get your wonderful advice.  I’ve learned a lot from you.  As you know, I’ve also been trying to track the coursera forum.  What I see is the concentration of talent here – on the SAC FB group.

SAC’yings.  Let’s co-write, when possible.

And, Pope Pat Pattison.

You are a master.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom / discoveries with us.


I guess that it takes a lifetime to simplify one’s profession.

I applaud you for finding a way to express and share your knowledge so broadly.



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