Recently we were asked to record a prominent violin solo on a large scale work – the client had approached us wishing to hire a session violinist who would play with a particularly strong sound. It was an elaborate solo over a multi-layered backdrop at the beginning of the piece and lasting approximately 2 minutes. As the composer had already written it for a midi file, all that was needed was a quick transcription to written notation, so that it was all set for the studio.
Because the violin part was to be the main focus, at the forefront of the mix, the sound had to be really strong with plenty of shading and a high level of accuracy. As such, we did 4 or 5 full length takes and chose the best one. In this way, we were able to capture a ‘live’ feel with all the spontaneity of an improvised solo. It’s important to try to vary the sound and style of playing according to the style of music – as this was a rock track the violin needed to sound bold and prominent with a little bit of ‘edge’. The playing on the track was certainly a completely different sound than I would produce for a folk piece of pop ballad – and experienced session musicians have the ability to vary their playing to really suit the mood and style of the track they are recording for.