I have cut my first recording of shofar. EVDR, Inc., an independent sound effects firm working for a major Hollywood movie studio, has recorded me shofaring, in a hunt for unique sounds to use in a major animated motion picture.
The experience provided me with a new shofarastic experience. The producer and two microphone boom operators listened with such intensity, that I tuned into hearing the sounds I was making. This was a different type of hearing than during the Days of Awe. Then I listen for the call inside the call, the still small voice that will awaken my soul and ring God's door bell. Instead, this session focused on raw sound.
I brought a dozen horns with me, ranging from a 4-inches long goat horn to a 24-inches long ibex horn, an assortment of sheep horns, and a cow horn for good measure. I was amazed at the different tonal qualities of the various instruments.
While I began with the tekiah, shevarim, teruah of the Days of Awe, we were quickly into new territory. The director would request, "Make the shofar sound Glory. Fear. Triumph. Mystery." (unaware, perhaps, that all these are themes of the Rosh Hashanah blasts). Create unusual sounds, different sequences, look for the blue note between tones."
I demonstrated the magical gurgling sound that occurs when I blow a shofar that is full of water. I blew two and even three shofarot together to create interesting sonorities. We used the shofar as a percussion instrument, using the thin end of one to scrape against the ridged back of another. While taking a rest, I was idling cupping my hand on the wide end of a horn, and the mic man got excited, asking me to make that popping sound again.
I thought blowing 100 toots on Rosh Hashanah was a lot. Here, I played for more than an hour, until the muscles in my lips plain wore out. Then, at my suggestion, each of the recordists took turns blowing. They created sounds that were amazingly different than mine - inspiring me to come up with other new sounds. For example, shaking the horn from side to side as I blow it, creating a warbling sound.
So listen up. If you think that sound effect in a movie is a shofar, well it could be me making my big screen debut.