Below are listed the criteria by which the Music Board evaluates recordings as to their suitability for inclusion in the database of this organisation.
It should be observed that the Music Board reserves the sole rights to verify whether these requirements have been fulfilled. Exceptions can be allowed in rare circumstances. The decisions of the Music Board cannot be appealed.
Regarding the Recording
- Recordings are to be sufficiently few of ambient noise and other distractions, as for the piano to be clearly audible without inducing ear pain or headaches. Obviously, whether a certain recording meets this requirement has to be decided on a per case basis. Crop out unnecessary applause at the end of pieces (and certainly at the beginning of pieces) if this can be done without infringing upon the performance.
- The piano utilized for the recording must not be out of tune to the extent that it clearly affects the listening experience in a negative manner.
- There are no rules concerning the exact manner of acoustic piano utilized, as long as the piano sound is what one would reasonably expect from an “average” acoustic piano. Digital pianos may be utilized if their quality is sufficiently high as to provide a credible semblance of an acoustic piano. Mentioning exact models is obviously not possible, but as a minimum, the piano should be capable of variation in dynamics and include a sustain pedal. Graded hammer action is certainly recommended, if the overall impression is to be sufficiently accurate.
- Audio Recordings are to be compressed in MP3 format, so as not to take up unnecessary space. The recording should be compressed no more than 192 kbps (either exactly or, in the case of variable bitrate, as an average). Unnecessarily weak compression (over 192 kbps) should be avoided, as the added benefit is not worth the increase in storage requirements.
- Video Recordings should primarily be in MP4, MPG, WMV, MOV or AVI format. Some other exceptions might be accepted and the reason is that there is no Internet standard for video formats in the same matter as with Audio recordings. Too high video and audio quality results in very large files which must be avoided so save space and bandwidth. Typically, unless the video material demands it, files larger than 200 MB should be avoided. The largest file that can be submitted in the Audition Room is 250 MB but you will probably have problems uploading the file as your browser will time out. Usually, 5 minutes of video should not result in files larger than 50 MB.
- The full name of the pianist must always be supplied.
Regarding the Performance
- Technical skill requirements: The Piano Society does not only cater to professional artists, but also to amateurs of various levels. We do not judge the quality of a recording based on the credentials and experience of artists, but with a starting point in the recording itself. What is central to whether a recording is admitted or not is whether the pianist has mastered the piece. In other words, it is considerably better to play a technically simple piece well than to attempt pieces that are above one’s capacity. This is not to say that a piece has to be perfectly played – even professional artists slip at times. However, it is generally immediately apparent whether a pianist’s capacity correlates with the level of a certain piece.
- Interpretative issues: Personal interpretation does not generally have any direct bearing on the decisions concerning admission of a particular recording. Nonetheless, particularly unoriginal or otherwise uninteresting interpretations of pieces can be turned down, even when the technical level of the performance is found to be adequate according to what has been said above. This can be the case especially when dealing with works that already exist on the site in many versions.
- Deviations from the composer´s written score are only accepted if they are minor. Complete control can obviously not be upheld, as some composers (e.g. Chopin) are published in so many editions, that verifying the “correct” version is a close to impossible task.
- The nature of the performances: Regular performances, to be categorised as such, must include a pianist actually playing a piece utilising his / her fingers and capturing the resulting sound live. This does not exclude that the actual sound source is digital (according to what has been said above about permitted pianos).
- Performances created through automatic rendering will be admitted as long as they 1. conform to other quality requirements mentioned above and 2. are of particular interest to the site, e.g. due to the rarity of the works or some other significant reason
However, these performances will be clearly denoted as automatically rendered.
With automatic rendering is meant a performance which is not based on the physical action of hitting a piano keyboard with ones fingers and recording the resulting sound live. Instead, an automatically rendered performance is derived from specific instructions, where the order, duration and other qualities of the produced notes are regulated in a computerised or otherwise automated manner (e.g. MIDI sequencing). To be considered for acceptance, the quality of automatically rendered performances must be so high, as to be comparable to a regular performance in terms of sound and interpretative quality.
Regarding Requirement on Originality
- Submitted recordings must represent original performances by the artists who apply for inclusion. If a recording is subsequently found to be copied from another source, it will immediately be removed, and the infringer will be subject to permanent exclusion from this site.