Tom and I met up to rehearse ‘Come to a party’ together today, specifically focusing on working alongside our new backing track which we downloaded and bought from a sheet music website after being recommended it by Paul (MD at ConEAST). Our biggest challenge wasn’t the fact that the new backing track had moments where the timing was very different to what we were used to and had some extra bars added as well as some sections that skipped through some phrases extremely quickly – making it difficult to fit in the spoken dialogue. As well as this, we also had to make sure we kept in time with the track and counted how many bars we have available in the moments of silence on the track and make sure we come in again at exactly the right time, as because it is pre recorded we obviously don’t have the luxury of having the pianist wait for us and bring us in again; therefore we have to rehearse this as much as possible to ensure we time it perfectly and don’t run out of music.
The piece itself is very complex and has moments where both Tom and I are singing in different time signatures over the top of each other, which when working with a backing track is quite challenging. Both Tom and I come from a musical background and are also both perfectionists who expect things to happen instantly and are used to be being able to pick up musical things very quickly, so when we came to this dilemma of working with a backing track we were not used to, it worried us slightly and started to wonder whether it would be doable working with this track. However, after going through it a few times we managed to crack the timing and got used to the track we were quickly able to iron out the mistakes we were making at the beginning.
We brought Lynn in to listen to our first attempt and to see what she thought of the progress we had made and she reassured us that we were more of capable of making the backing track work for us, and that it would just take some getting used to after becoming so accustomed to the sound and timing of the Original Broadway Cast recording version. We highlighted the areas that were causing us the most problems which was when Tom has to fit in the line “you can’t expect to win the ashes if you don’t turn up to the trials. Sometimes you have to gamble Rose. You can bet on me.”. However, there is not enough time to fit all this in the gap between verses on our track as unlike the original Broadway version we only have 2 bars of music rather than 4; therefore we ended up having to cut the edit the lines down in order to fit the dialogue in. We also had to do this in serval of the other sections of dialogue to make it work for us.
Here is an audio video file of our rehearsal:
As you can here this is very much a working in progress and a rehearsal recording that demonstrates how Tom and I hadn’t work together to figure out the timings of the backing track and how the verses fit in correspondence with this. While trying to figure out this by one of us keeping time by tapping our foot or clapping so that we could see and feel the pulse of the music. You can also hear in the recording how frustrated both Tom and became when the backing music didn’t do what we were expecting and thus couldn’t figure out where we were supposed to come in. We discovered that the end of the track has a rall, where the music slows down significantly which completely threw us off and made it difficult for Tom to know how to fit in his last few lines as there are moments where he accompaniment drops out and he sings A Capella. It also meant we had lots more time to fill in the dialogue section which worried us, however we came to the conclusion that we could easily fill this time with ‘action’ as silence on stage can often tell you as much about s charcater as speech.