Laurel Creek Music Designs

How I Went to the Dogs

For the benefit of those who didn't purchase the CD, I'll start by explaining the basics of how the glee club was created. If you've already read this section, feel free to skip to the advanced fun found under the next heading.

The Real Scoop

Auditions for this glee club took place during a fifteen-year period from 1993 to 2008. Okay, the real truth now! Over the years, I've recorded the sounds of my and my twin sister's guide dogs as they played, barked and vocalized. I then spent hours listening to the recordings , searching for interesting sounds, specific pitches as well as useful phrases. My first discovery was that dogs don't always sing the exact pitches that we expect to hear. They are always gliding or moving. One sound can often be used as two different pitches,  depending on which other dog notes are matched with it.
As these were recordings of daily life, many wonderful sounds were rejected because of background noise, or humans talking. However, some were just so useful and charming that they survived, toenail, tag and all. If you listen closely, You may notice that some of the dogs are actually singing with toys in their mouths, or while schlurping me.
Altogether, 513 sounds were chosen and then recorded into a sampling synthesizer.  I then used my computer to arrange them in the order and combination desired for each song.
I did not process or alter these sounds in any way. Every sound you hear is a direct quote from a dog. Yes, the bass, the chords, the melody---dogs! Dogs! All dogs!!
Even the sounds of the dog toys were allowed only when a dog was squeaking or throwing them without the help of any human. Their pitches determined the key signatures; their phrases determined the tempos of the songs.
The glee club singers include six German Shepherds and one lab.  As you listen to them, just imagine the fun these dogs had during their auditions. Well, okay, I admit it! I think some of the lyrics being sung to the tune of our beloved carols just might relate to wanting dinner!
For me, it was a real pleasure spending so much time with them in my studio, creating this CD.

But What were they really doing?

They were actually playing, either with me or with another dog. I captured the dog sounds by just setting a recorder down somewhere, hoping I'd pick up something or someone. I have hours of recordings of nothing; of me talking to my dogs; of groups of humans chattering away as dogs play, or don't play; and sounds of phone calls, computers, traffic and meal preparation. And yes, dogs saying things and playing with kongs or squeaky balls.
I thought you might enjoy hearing some samples of the original recordings. After hearing these unedited excerpts, I bet you'll start recognizing some phrases the next time you listen to the album.

Hardy and the Phone

Yes, during this 2006 recording, I'm in my office, on the phone with a friend while playing with Hardy. My friend has just said hello to him as this excerpt begins. You'll hear my chair squeak, Hardy walking around, him schlurping me and all that he had to say.
Hardy phone clip.mp3

L'Orange in the Chair

Gee, guess this is a confession of sorts. Our floor had just been treated using some very strong stuff, so I had to allow L'Orange to get up into this chair. So in this 1997 recording, we're saying good-night in my bedroom; L'Orange in the chair, me kneeling on the floor. I'm stroking and scritching him and he's definitely schlurping me! This excerpt actually features his famous quote which is heard on "Guide Dogs, First Hand". Too bad I don't sound as cute as he does!
L'Orange chair clip.mp3

But getting the sounds separated and organized into Christmas carols was a very challenging task. This required time, patience, persistence, and computers! Oh yes, I admit to doing my share of barking at software that occasionally misbehaved!
If you're interested in knowing exactly what hardware and software I used, check out the list of the toys that brought the dogs to you.
Otherwise, have Hardy and L'Orange sent you scurrying after more crumbs?
Or have they talked you into ordering!
At the very least, both of them would want you to share this site with your friends!



Web site contents copyright © 1999-2010 by Veronica Elsea

Laurel Creek Music Designs Logo