Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

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Parish / Diocese: Hexham and Newcastle

Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by PaulB »

Our parish musicians record hymns at home for inclusion in streamed Sunday masses. It's reasonably successful, though a lot of work. I record an organ track (possibly with a metronome and a lead singer), it's emailed to people who then record their part into a phone, ipad or whatever while listening to the accompaniment through headphones - producing an mp3 track of their voice on its own, but locked in pitch and tempo to the reference track. The files are emailed back and stitched together into a "choir" using Audacity, which is freeware. The resulting file is just fed into the livestream software (we use OSB and YouTube) as required during the service.

The individual voice parts are inevitably rather ropey, but when assembled and adjusted for balance it's quite convincing. There's no great need to tweak or edit people, even the bum notes make it into the final mix. Our folk group does the same with half a dozen or so instruments and a couple of cantors.

The downside is the amount of work, which is proportional to the number of singers/instrumentalists. Our choir is 20-odd strong, all keen to do their bit, and that's a lot of material to process. It works out at about 5-6 hours for me in total for a typical hymn - the approach is only sustainable while we've all got a lot of time on our hands. It's also fair to say that we're all new to this, learning as we go along, and we've had some real problems along the way with audio quality which have only recently been sorted.

In terms of the skills needed - Audacity is widely used by amateurs but not the friendliest, both myself and the folk group leader are from technical backgrounds and it helps to have a bit of knowledge of the physics of music to use it effectively. There are all manner of apps out there which will cover the same territory, but while easy to use they'll not allow much control over what you're doing, and will make all sorts of annoying decisions for you (organ music for example will be interpreted as white noise - read into that what you will - and filtered out). If you have technicians in the parish who can operated the livestream software, they'll know how to incorporate the music.

We only do hymns, I'm supposing it's somehow wrong to be pre-recording the liturgical text. Our PP, who sings well, is happy to solo bits of the ordinary and the responses. We did use public domain material only for a while, but it became too restrictive so we've coughed up for the OL livestreaming extension.
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by keitha »

I had wondered about doing something similar - but 5/6 hours per hymn is more time than I have to spare...and I lack expertise (and probably the necessary willpower!) so it would probably take a lot longer. In addition, when I mused on this with our clergy there was a reluctance to use what they regarded as recorded music.
Keith Ainsworth
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