Recording strings in Milton Keynes

Yesterday, we were booked to record some string parts for music producer Manon Dave who travelled up to a studio in Milton Keynes to attend the recording session. It’s often helpful when the producer is present, particularly in terms of getting exactly the right sound he or she has in mind for a particular track. In this recording, Manon wanted a very gutsy, bold cello sound as the strings were to be so central to the track and the cello had been written to replace the bass.

We chose the studio in Milton Keynes as some of us had recorded the Little Star Lullabies album there earlier in the year and were delighted with the sound achieved by Neill, the engineer.

Overall there were 8 different string parts (5 for the violins, 1 for the violas and 2 for the cellos). Some were chordal whilst others contained more rapid passages of semi-quavers so the overall effect was full and thick in sonority. The faster passages required especially close attention to tuning, particularly as they were in octaves with a lower string part. One risk with playing in octaves is that even tiny inaccuracies in tuning can be more noticeable than with other intervals, so this all had to be closely listened to in order to make sure that our tuning was as perfect as possible.