The Bach Double Project: An International Collaboration

I’ve been very fortunate throughout my Peace Corps experience to meet lots of wonderful people both HCNs and PCVs. In October 2011 I did a post for found here. Diana, a TEFL PCV in Cambodia, fellow music major, and violinist from New York got in contact with me after reading that blog.

We have both incorporated music into our Peace Corps experience. I’ve done camps with songs and music sessions, songs with my third graders, jam sessions with Beth, playing the national anthem at swear-in twice, and playing at the Ambassador’s Holiday Party. Diana did this awesome project, the Create Cambodia Arts Festival, singing at swearing in ant the 4th of July, and various Youtube videos.

I think I was lying in my bug hut one night unable to fall asleep when I thought of this crazy idea to record the Bach Double Violin Concerto. I’ve played the piece many times before…but never on my viola. Lucky for me Diana was interested! In July I went to IMSLP and downloaded parts. We decided to record our parts separately and because Diana has electricity and internet at her site in Cambodia would edit the videos.

Over the next couple of months I practiced, recorded, and then re-recorded. We would exchange videos, but there were technical issues.I don’t have electricity, so my parents sent me a mechanical metronome. It’s great for practicing, but it doesn’t work if you want to do a video recording. It doesn’t have a mute button or a silent function. We used a joint dropbox account to share videos, and every time I had fast internet (at senior management’s house or in Ouahigouya) I tried to upload videos. When I was in Ouagadougou for swear-in in December, I had the opportunity to rehearse the Star Spangled Banner in our Country Director’s House and then tried to record my part of the concerto. Everything seemed fine, but the computer metronome or the video of her playing that I downloaded was bleeding through the webcam recording so I decided to record it without. Unfortunately my video did not sync up with Diana’s and i had to re-record.

I tried using my flip camera, but the battery life was bad and even when I thought the batteries were charged, it did not seem to work. I also needed to listen to Diana’s recording so that we would sync up. I converted her video to a format compatible with my ipod so I could have her part in one ear, and then record. I ended up using my digital still camera and recorded two versions. One playing along with my ipod (a la music minus one) and one with my computer metronome at 76. Fortunately I did this before it started getting SUPER HOT (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in my house) and with minimal background noise from donkeys, neighbors, pintades, and chickens.

When I went to OHG before my vacation I uploaded one video of my part with the fast internet at the Bibliotheque. When I got to London I uploaded the other version with a click track.

It finally worked! Yay! It’s amazing how two PCVs can collaborate across the world on awesome projects

Diana’s Blog:

et Voilà!


2 responses to “The Bach Double Project: An International Collaboration

  1. Hi Sara,
    The video is most awesome!!! I absolutely loved that the 2 of you found a way to collaborate while on 2 different continents. You GO, girls!!! Bravissima!!!!

  2. We did it! yeahh!

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