Blooper pages rarely mention music goofs. But they’re a constant danger, because producers sometimes have to live with imperfections to stay on budget.
Last month I visited a recording session for a network show, and 20 minutes in, I noticed persistent audio distortion in the monitors. As a visitor, I had the sense to stay out of the way of folks working. Soon enough, the sound editor noticed the problem, and the group discovered the distortion was going to tape.
One very stressful hour later, the problem was solved (by replacing the wireless headphones in the percussion section). Everything was re-recorded and sounded great, but the session went overtime.
They very nearly could have decided to let the distortion stay. It wasn’t that bad, and the audience wouldn’t really notice.
So how often do real-world glitches happen?
Consider part I of the Lost season 4 series finale – I think I can hear a wrong note in the trombones…can you?
Click on the Lost season 4 finale episode and cue the playback to exactly 41:00 (you will have to wait for a pre-roll ad). The cue starts when Ben says “I always have a plan”. It’s majestic and sweeping (great stuff as usual from Michael Giacchino). Listen to the trombones playing whole notes. The video shows the different groups converging on the Orchid station. Right at 42:02, there is a shot from behind Ben (his hands are up). This is where you will hear 2 trombones disagreeing on a note:
I thought for a moment this was intentional, like the situation was going to go all dissonant and creepy, but it quickly recovers to a half-cadence, so my theory is it’s a blip.
So…can you hear it? Or does it sound fine to you? Does it even matter? And have you ever noticed any other musical glitches?