Ever since I found out that there exist violins in the world—that is to say, I heard someone play something I know on a violin—I have enjoyed searching for violin covers or string quartet reproductions of songs. Although I do admit that I haven’t gone string cover hunting in a long long time.
Then, recently I came across this link . It’s a string quartet version of Hozier’s Take me to Church made by the Vitamin String Quartet. It’s a really lovely cover of the song and I really liked it. String covers are generally wonderful in certain kinds of songs. Take me to church does sound quite soothing when done using strings.
I have had experience with the Vitamin String quartet in the past (worth another post?) and this cover was also really good. But through all this I felt that there was something missing. I was thinking that I liked the original better, that there was something missing in this cover, something really essential that I loved in the original. Then it dawned on me that I was missing those perfectly placed drum beats that I adored in the original. Those drums hitting at just the right moment, somehow bringing the lyrics to the forefront.
So, I went and found an instrumental version. Instrumental versions also have a charm of their own and even this one had something beauty of its own. It wasn’t at all diminished just because there weren’t any lyrics in it. Take me to church has made quite good use of those drums, an instrumental only made that more obvious.
Now during the first few attempts, what I did was to start both of them at the same time and enjoy. This was similar to having Rainy Mood running in the background with so many other things (another candidate for a whole post to itself). Again, the string version sounded better now but there was still a slight glitch somewhere, something that wasn’t right.
It took quite a few more repeats before I figured out that starting both together was putting the song out of sync in some places. These were places that you would easily catch mistakes in. You’d just know that there is something wrong. After a bit of experimentation I found a way that works quite well. Here’s what you do:
- Start the string version first.*
- As soon as you hear the first sound of the string, start the instrumental.**
- Sit back and enjoy!
*You’ve obviously got to make sure there aren’t any buffering issues that can remove the sync you’re about to establish.
**I’m sure that slight variations might produce better results than others but unless you are willing to comb through with a microscope (or at maybe it’s a milli-second-scope) you are not really going to improve by much (human ears are only so perceptive).
I am now left wondering whether this isn’t better than the original. It might just be me feeling proud at having hacked a song to fit perfectly with another but I do think that this version at least equals the original in its awesomeness. Whatever you think, I’m sure you’ll have a few listens to this before giving up on it.
These covers will take you somewhere, and it’ll be worth the effort of synchronizing.