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 Post subject: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:29 pm
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Location: Hampshire, IL
Hello -
I have been lurking on the site for a while and now would like to be considered as a pianist with the Piano Society. Here is a recording I made (this week) of Claude Debussy's Sarabande in MP3 format at 192 kbps. The piano is the Garritan Steinway Model D "Classic" mode and it was played via an M-Audio Keystation Pro 88.

Regards,

Frederick Johnson

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Frederick Johnson

“Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.” ~Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

My website: http://www.frederick-johnson.com


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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:31 am 
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Hello again. I think this one sounds okay. However, I don't know the piece so I'll let other members comment.

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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
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It was not bad but I think I heard many read errors. Would have to check again. We do expect pretty good accuracy these days.

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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:23 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:11 am
Posts: 489
Location: Lyon, France
Hello Frederick,

Thanks for this nice submission. Since I played some years agoa the suite "Pour le piano", of which the Sarabande is extracted, I have checked your interpretation with the score. Chris is right: there is a number of read errors.

- at 0:04, 0:13 and 1:24, you make the same error, which is a substitution of the bass (you play a F, while it is a G);
- at 2:26, the top note, which is a C, cannot be heard (but this may be an accidental error more than a reading one);
- at 3:19 and 3:27, the B is natural, not sharp. This one is significant, since Debussy wrote a minor chord, and you change it into a major one.

Otherwise, I find your interpretation quite correct in terms of general spirit. Perhaps the dynamics could be enhanced - but it may be a problem of microphone, which is quite common in our amateur recordings. Also, but it is a matter of personal taste, I like when music goes ahead more regularly (unless otherwise indicated by the composer). Sometimes, you add some rests that are not totally logical with regard to the score. A Sarabande is a slow motion, but it is a dance, and dancers cannot float in the air...
Anyway, it was a pleasure to come back to this great, mysterious piece. Thanks for sharing, and welcome to PS !

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"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:26 am 
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I had planned to give detailed feedback on this one, but unfortunately I've had some other stuff on my mind lately. So thanks Francois for pointing
out the read errors, I'm sure they were what I heard - I know this piece very well. Strange how a handful of read errors can quickly give the perception that there are many of them :-/

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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:29 pm
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Location: Hampshire, IL
Merci Francois. I went back to the score and you are quite correct on the read errors. It has been a some time since I have carefully reviewed the score and I certainly want to play what Debussy intended. I will take your suggestions on tempo and dynamics as well. Thanks for the detailed help.

Regards,
Fred

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Frederick Johnson

“Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.” ~Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

My website: http://www.frederick-johnson.com


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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:10 pm
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
Francois de Larrard wrote:
Perhaps the dynamics could be enhanced!


I agree with this. It could partly be the keyboard he used. M-Audio makes budget keyboards. Yamaha has a "Graded Hammer" action designed to mimic a piano more naturally.


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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:29 pm
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Location: Hampshire, IL
My M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 seems to have some limitations in dynamic ranges. I have noticed that it is difficult to get very soft or very loud. Others with this keyboard have noticed something similar. From what I have read, these others believe it has more to do with limited velocity curve (does not use the entire range) than with the action of the keyboard itself. I am not sure but I will keep searching. Thanks.

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Frederick Johnson

“Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.” ~Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

My website: http://www.frederick-johnson.com


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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:27 pm 
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Location: Lyon, France
FrederickJ wrote:
Merci Francois. ... Thanks for the detailed help.


You're welcome !

FrederickJ wrote:
My M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 seems to have some limitations in dynamic ranges. I have noticed that it is difficult to get very soft or very loud. Others with this keyboard have noticed something similar. From what I have read, these others believe it has more to do with limited velocity curve (does not use the entire range) than with the action of the keyboard itself. I am not sure but I will keep searching. Thanks.


I did not suspect it was a digital instrument. In such a case, can't you just apply a kind of post-treatment, which would increase the contrast between pp and ff ?

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"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:29 pm
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Location: Hampshire, IL
I could apply some MIDI editing after recording the instrument but I don't like to edit the work. I would prefer to keep it as "natural" as possible (even though it is being generated artificially :) ). Others have noted that editing the MIDI velocity ranges to extend the louder and softer playing seems to work okay but may not really represent what the player intended. I am not an expert with that so I have left the editing alone. Thanks for your comments.

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Frederick Johnson

“Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.” ~Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

My website: http://www.frederick-johnson.com


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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:10 pm
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
FrederickJ wrote:
I would prefer to keep it as "natural" as possible



It's not natural sounding with that keyboard. It's holding you back. I usually have at least a few notes I fix. Why not make it sound as good as you can? Of course in this case, it would take too many hours! I often do it one note at a time or change the velocity of a group of notes rather than drawing a curve over multiple notes, in that case, it wouldn't sound as natural. I like the sound of the softer samples more so I am usually reducing rather than increasing velocity.


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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:29 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Hampshire, IL
Quote:
It could partly be the keyboard he used. M-Audio makes budget keyboards. Yamaha has a "Graded Hammer" action designed to mimic a piano more naturally.


I appreciate the observations. It has inspired me to list my M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 on EBay and purchase a Yamaha CP33. Although they are both weighted and both are hammer action, online reviewers seem to agree that the graded hammer action available on the CP33 has a much wider dynamic range. I could also use the internal sound banks for regional gigs so I am looking forward to adding it to my studio. Thanks for the help!

Regards,
Fred

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Frederick Johnson

“Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.” ~Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

My website: http://www.frederick-johnson.com


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 Post subject: Re: New pianist submission: Claude Debussy - Sarabande
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:10 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Shenandoah Valley
That looks better than mine. You will love it. I practice without the computer because there is less lag, also I record the midi without hearing the VSTi piano (for the same reason.) I have East West Quantum Leap Pianos.


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