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picture of What a Friend score section

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Lyrics : Joseph Scriven (1819-1886)
Music : Charles C. Converse (1832-1918)
Arranger : Gail Selkirk
Vocals : Gail Selkirk

Recording and Mixing Progress

Initial mix of What a Friend We Have in Jesus - MP3 Click here for Hi-Fi MP3 Stream

Click here for Lo-Fi MP3 Stream

Click here for MP3 Donwload

4.3 MB
On slow (modem) connections this MP3 file may take a long time to load.   However, you'll find it worth the wait!  smile.gif
Problems streaming or downloading?  Click Here.

As well as providing song previews in MP3 format as above, we are starting to try out a new format for song downloads - Ogg Vorbis, which is an alternative to the common MP3 format.   We have found that Ogg Vorbis audio files are of a higher quality than comparable MP3 files.   It is possible that your media player already supports Ogg format if you are using WinAmp in Windows or iTunes on a Mac.   If you are,  try downloading and playing the Ogg versions of What a Friend and see if you can hear the difference:

Here's a link to the Ogg Vorbis web site if you are interested in finding out more about this new format.

Background About the Song

This inspirational song started out as a poem written by Joseph M. Scriven to his ailing mother around the mid 1850's.   It was later published in a book of poems.   Some time later, Charles C. Converse put the words to music

Arranging and Performance Notes

When selecting an old hymn or spiritual for arranging in a jazz idiom,  there are a few factors to consider.   One of the most important is the melodic rhythm and What a Friend We Have in Jesus sounds great when it's swung.

I began this arrangement with a formal,  classical choir sound as an interesting way to get into the rest of the song.  

Within this piece,  there is a lot of harmonic,  rhythmic and modulatory exploration.   Actually,  I learned so much from it that I feel my musical awareness,  such as it is,  is moving on to a higher level.

It's such a great tune,  fun to arrange and I hope you like it.

Studio Recording Notes:

We've recorded all the vocal tracks for this multi-part a'cappella song as well as an initial mix (which you can hear by clicking on one of the links close to the top of the page).

Recording Chain:
  • Studio Projects C1 Microphone
  • Manley Labs VoxBox Preamp
  • M-Audio Delta 1010 A/D
  • Sonar XL 2.0

Mixing Details:
Each track used the following effects bin inserts:
  • Ultrafunk fx-EQ
  • Ultrafunk fx-Delay
  • AnalogX Sample-Slide
The fx-EQ was used primarily to tame the bright C1 microphone, as well as to blend the bass and tenor voices in with the soprano and alto parts.   The fx-EQ was also used to knock off some low end "mud" from the reverb return.

The fx-Delay effect was used in two ways.   One fx-delay was placed in each track's effects bin to create a Haas effect, using a (short) delay time proportional to the stereo position of the vocal.   Longer, rhythmic delays were used in aux-bus bins: two for the left channel and two for the right, one left/right pair to 1/4 note and 3 x 1/4 note values and the other set to 1/2 note and 3 x 1/2 note values (the latter left/right pair used at a much lower level).

The bass and tenor tracks were sung an octave up and then dropped down an octave using RBC Audio's Voice Tweaker.

For reverb, we created a 100% wet reverb track for each track and mixed it with the corresponding dry track.   These reverb tracks were created using Sound Forge's Acoustic Mirror Impulse Response reverb plug-in with a IR file created at the Bethel Church in Boston.

The Main bus had one effect:

  • Ultrafunk Multi-band Compressor

We're not completely satisfied with the mix yet, especially in our use of the reverb and delay effects, so we'll be working on it some more...  stay tuned for an updated mix.

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