Virtual Betsy


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  • How it works

    The basic idea is that we each record ourselves singing along to the guide videos. Then you all send your recordings to me, I combine them into one (excluding the guide videos of course), and we all watch and enjoy/cringe at the result.

    Since the piece is in three separate parts, we can record them separately, which makes it a bit less of a slog:

    1. Verse 1 (upper voices)
    2. Verse 2 (lower voices)
    3. Verses 3 & 4 plus outro (everyone)


    Theoretically, you can do this all with one computer, but it’s probably easier to use two devices (laptop + phone, tablet + phone, whatever).

    • One device is the playing device: it will play the guide video for you. This could be your laptop, maybe. It needs a screen (duh) and wired headphones. Wireless headphones have a bit of latency which makes them less suitable.
    • The other device is the recording device: it will record you singing. It needs a camera and microphone. This could be your tablet or phone, maybe.

    You might want to print out the PDF score so you can position it wherever is most comfortable. Or you could watch it on screen, but in that case, make sure that your two devices are very close together, otherwise it will look weird if you are looking off to the side of the camera the whole time while you record.

    Recording instructions

    Here’s what you have to do:

    1. Set up both devices horizontally in front of you. If we were being all professional we’d all have blank walls behind us, but whatever.
    2. Also set up the score (printed or on screen) where you can clearly see it without looking too far away from the camera.
    3. First, test the playing device. Plug your headphones in and test that you can hear sound through them.
    4. Next, test the recording device. If it’s a phone, use the regular camera app. Line the screen up nicely to show your head and shoulders, and record a few seconds of video to check you’re happy with it. Listen out for unwanted background noise too.
    5. When you’re ready, play the video on the playing device, and follow the instructions.
    6. When you’ve finished recording both your sections and you’re happy with the result, save/export the video file from the recording device and send it to me somehow (WeTransfer, Google Drive, Dropbox, whatever — it will be too big for email).


    • You might find it easier to use one headphone rather than two, so you can hear yourself with the other ear. As long as the mic on the recording device can’t pick up the sound from the guide video, it’s all good.
    • Look at the camera as much as you can, smile and be expressive! This is hard because you are also supposed to look at the guide video and the recording screen and the score…
    • Apparently it’s more flattering to have the camera looking slightly down at you than slightly up (maybe for nostril reasons, I don’t know).
    • If you record the two different parts at different times, it is ideal if you could be sitting in the same place and wearing the same clothes, at least in what’s visible on screen!

Geographical Fugue

  • Download PDF

  • How it works

    It’s the same as Shenandoah, except much harder because it’s very exposed, quite fragile, we have to do it all in one take, and there’s no computer-generated music to sing (shout) along with.

    Tips: Set aside some time to get this one right and expect to have to do several takes! If you make a mistake, even a small one, stop recording and start again. Don’t waste your time carrying on. (It took me 4 takes to get the guide track right!)


    • Soprano: Jo
    • Alto: Sarah
    • Tenor: Toby
    • Bass: Pete