Tampering with the Original - Daughters of Promise - November 28, 2018

Christine Wyrtzen

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

I’m excited. My brother in law, one of my producers and orchestral arrangers from a ways back, found the original score to one of my favorite songs I've ever recorded. It’s called Living Water.

I cried with joy when he sent it to me because I no longer have the original track. I now have the challenge, and joy, of reproducing it on my equipment at home, on my flutes, piano, and sampled synthesized sounds. I will be able to play the instrumental parts right off his score. And, as importantly, I can lower the key a half step so that I can sing it easier. Aging voices get lower. Have you noticed?

But let’s say that I had the original track. With today’s technology, I could send it away to a production studio and ask them to lower it a half step. Would there be a difference between what they would do electronically and what I will do by playing it live in the right key? Yes. Artificially lowering the key messes with the harmonics of the original key. It will sound flat and lifeless. To have it sound beautiful, it must be original. The harmonic ring to an A on a piano can not be duplicated on a digital keyboard!

I got thinking about that today as I began to prepare to re-record the song. God made us in His image. We are each originals. We are wondrous and unique. When we try to re-fashion ourselves into someone else, we come across flat. Others can tell that we lack transparency ---- the equivalent of musical harmonics. The reason we morph into someone we’re not is usually due to rejection by someone important to us. Feeling flawed and inappropriate, we become an imposter to make ourselves lovable. But others aren’t usually attracted to an inauthentic person. And how lonely is the one who feels they must hide their true self away behind a locked tower.

Stay tuned. It will take me several weeks to create, then sing, and then mix the new arrangement. There is a chorus of flutes, a French horn, strings, harp…just a lovely backdrop to the following lyrics. So today, be you. The original you that God created is breathtaking.

Originally published Wednesday, 28 November 2018.