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 Post subject: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:35 pm 
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I have also re-recorded Schumann's 1 Scene of Childhood. To my ears at least it is an improvement, even if it seems slower than the earlier version.


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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:13 am 
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Richard,
This is certainly voiced well enough, but have you considered punctuating the phrasing? I don't think I heard you "come up for air" once throughout the piece (you're swimming with SCUBA instead of snorkel). Pieces of this level difficulty are excellent for teaching and demonstrating the idea of phrasing -- that is, using silence stolen from the end of a "phrase" to demarcate the melodies into cogent musical expressions and thoughts. I would recommend that you consider doing this again after thinking about where you would breath if you were singing the work. Keep in mind too the very common practice of grouping musical ideas as such: ---,---,-------, etc. Also, I think it can definitely go faster.

Hope this is useful to you.
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:37 am 
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Yes, the melody is nice here, Richard. But watch those edits. The obvious ones are at 0:26 and 1:37. There is nothing wrong with this type of editing (in between sections, or at repeats), but you don't want to leave a telltale click at the edit spot. Especially a piece like this which is so well-known; there cannot be editing clicks in the file at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:17 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Richard,
This is certainly voiced well enough, but have you considered punctuating the phrasing? I don't think I heard you "come up for air" once throughout the piece (you're swimming with SCUBA instead of snorkel). Pieces of this level difficulty are excellent for teaching and demonstrating the idea of phrasing -- that is, using silence stolen from the end of a "phrase" to demarcate the melodies into cogent musical expressions and thoughts. I would recommend that you consider doing this again after thinking about where you would breath if you were singing the work. Keep in mind too the very common practice of grouping musical ideas as such: ---,---,-------, etc. Also, I think it can definitely go faster.

Hope this is useful to you.
Eddy


I suppose I was too afraid of making too long any breathing so instead I asphixiated! Hopefully the happy medium will be reached next time. I do not know about faster: I feel this piece as tranquil. The key may be to try to maintain such tranquility at any speed.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:19 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Yes, the melody is nice here, Richard. But watch those edits. The obvious ones are at 0:26 and 1:37. There is nothing wrong with this type of editing (in between sections, or at repeats), but you don't want to leave a telltale click at the edit spot. Especially a piece like this which is so well-known; there cannot be editing clicks in the file at all.


I always have to suprress odd noises (pedals, stools, hair-dryers, daughters), though I must say I had to put my earphones on and turn the volume up to maximum to hear these almost imperceptible clicks.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:22 pm 
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I can't be the only one in the world who hears hiss and/or editing clicks. If it makes you feel any better, for a while I have been re-doing some of my older recordings that had 'questionable' sound, so I am not immune to our somewhat strict policy, either. It all boils down to quality - in playing AND sound. That's why Piano Society is the premier site for listening to free classical piano music :!: :)

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:20 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
I can't be the only one in the world who hears hiss and/or editing clicks. If it makes you feel any better, for a while I have been re-doing some of my older recordings that had 'questionable' sound, so I am not immune to our somewhat strict policy, either. It all boils down to quality - in playing AND sound. That's why Piano Society is the premier site for listening to free classical piano music :!: :)

For one, I don't listen with headphones, just the little Altec speakers on my laptop.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Quote:
I do not know about faster: I feel this piece as tranquil. The key may be to try to maintain such tranquility at any speed.
By no means do I wish to argue, but I wish to add on this subject that this is very much like the first movement of the Beethoven "Moonlight" in that it has an active flowing (triplets even) accompanyment under a sustained slow melody. In both, if you play the accompaniment tranquilly, you lose the continuity of the melody. Consider which you wish to be tranquil, the melody or the accompaniment. I don't think there is a middle ground, but of course this is arguable and a matter of interpretation.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:03 pm 
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Regarding hiss:
Where the quality of the recording setup makes hiss unavoidable, and if hiss removal in post-processing is deemed undesirable for its side effects, then one just has to live with it, provided it isn't seriously excessive. The hiss on this recording is noticeable, but far from intolerable. What I would suggest, though, is that having the recording begin with total silence before the hiss kicks in is going to draw one's attention to it more. Here we have about 650ms of silence, then about 100ms of hiss before the first note starts. I reckon it would have been better to have "proper" hiss for the whole 750ms (or even longer) instead of added silence. That way at least the ear can get used to it and it will seem less bad. It's better to have the "original" silence from the actual recording than synthetic silence replacing it.

Regarding clicks:
I didn't notice them until Monica pointed them out. Clearly it requires a very sensitive (and youthful) ear. Or better quality playing equipment. I was just using the cheap computer speakers. But the clicks are certainly there. I don't know what you used to carry out your edits, but whatever it was, it should be capable of working a little magic to get rid of clicks. I'm still new playing around with recordings, but have just been playing with Audacity, and with it have successfully removed the clicks in my copy of your recording at the places Monica indicated. It's not difficult.

Regarding tranquility and phrasing etc:
Your tempo does feel almost intolerably slow, but what contributes most to this perception is that it sounds as though it were in 3/4 (well, OK, 3/8), and you play every triplet as though it were equally important. You seem to be focusing on the music at too high a zoom level, seeing just one half bar at a time. You should zoom out and see the bigger picture. Give less weight to the second beat of each bar. Zoom out even more and give less weight to the second of each pair of two bars (pretend it were actually notated in 4/4 instead of 2/4, getting rid of half the bar lines). Zoom out further still and notice that bars 3 and 4 are the same as bars 1 and 2, and treat them as an echo. If you sort out this phrasing, it will give the whole piece more life and will help dispel the feeling of being too slow, even if you don't actually increase the speed.

When you get to a repeat sign, don't hesitate before going back (don't hesitate before going on either). Train yourself to make the transition smoothly when actually playing it, instead of editing the hesitation out later. The two edits Monica highlighted are in fact at repeat signs, and there seems to be an edit at 51.5s too, which is the 1st section repeat sign when you don't go back.

Halfway through the 2nd section, in the bar with the fermatas in it, you need to think about how you want this to go. You don't really want a pregnant pause between the C (last note of the bar) and the D (first note in next bar), you want it before the C, because the C leads to the D. In some sense these fermatas aren't the kind of pause where the music stops for a bit and then carries on. You need to maintain a sense of motion; all that should happen here is that you just slow down a lot, but not quite to zero, and then speed back up again. You did this much better on the repeat than the first time through. I also think you need to observe more of a rit where marked, don't just wait when you get to the fermata, the slowing down should be gradual, not sudden.


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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:01 pm 
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And to shake things up a bit ... :mrgreen:
Richard, have you considered that in this piece you can frequently play the 3rd 8th note of each LH beat with the R thumb, if it assists in the flow of everything. When a pianist starts doing more than one thing with one hand, however, it can be more difficult to voice properly, so it depends on your skill if this actually makes it easier to play or harder to play.

@rainer, very well said regarding the zoom aspect. I have tried frequently to use the same analogy but not quite as clearly as you did.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:31 pm 
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The cut at 0:50 is quite obnoxious too. At least I think it's a cut, it sounds like one.

This piece, that everybody seems to play, is so easily underestimated, rather like Bach's first prelude. It is an acid
test, all touch and phrasing, nowhere to hide, no excuses possible. I find it very hard to bring off convincingly, and
am not sure how well I succeeded when I set it down last year.

As far as the notes, not much wrong here. They're all there. And in that there-ness maybe lies the problem... It is
too much a sequence of notes played after another, with little sense of a singing line (maybe you had this sense
while playing, but it does not project to the listener IMO). A little breath between the phrases would help already,
and also some dynamic shading within the phrases. Like a little crescendo when you go up, a little diminuendo when
you go down, just the slightest of ritenuto at the end of the phrase, and maybe just the slightest lingering on the first note of a phrase. A bit stereotype all of this, but it generally works unless you overdo it or let it become an automatism. I did not check the previous version. Maybe this one is better in some respects, but I think it's not
quite good enough right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:36 pm 
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I thank everyone for their comments. I have redone the recording, though I did it before I read all these posts, so maybe I have "ignored" your points, but maybe they came out. I speeded up a bit and I was thinking of question and answer.

I have taken out the hiss and it seems to me there was little sound quality loss. I must confess again I could only hear it at full volume with earphones on. I am doing the same as you, Monica: I want to redo all my recordings (Chernov excluded and the Camilleri is done), because I believe now the sound quality is much improved. That leaves 3 short pieces. Once that is done, I plan to go forward.

As for your suggestion Eddy, I play every single third note of the triplet with my right thumb. It has never occurred to me to do otherwise. My policy is to move the hands as little as possible and to avoid at all costs leaps and bounds. As for the Moonlight Sonata... I have been practising it at such a speed as you suggest and I must say it sounds completely different but so much more attractive!


Attachments:
schumann-15-1-willmer.mp3 [3.17 MiB]
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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:42 pm 
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rainer wrote:
Regarding hiss:
Where the quality of the recording setup makes hiss unavoidable, and if hiss removal in post-processing is deemed undesirable for its side effects, then one just has to live with it, provided it isn't seriously excessive. The hiss on this recording is noticeable, but far from intolerable. What I would suggest, though, is that having the recording begin with total silence before the hiss kicks in is going to draw one's attention to it more. Here we have about 650ms of silence, then about 100ms of hiss before the first note starts. I reckon it would have been better to have "proper" hiss for the whole 750ms (or even longer) instead of added silence. That way at least the ear can get used to it and it will seem less bad. It's better to have the "original" silence from the actual recording than synthetic silence replacing it.

I don't generally bother with the hiss in my piano recordings which I think is no too bad, but for my organ recordings I have recently started to make the ambient noise (caused mostly by the wind machine) do smooth fade-in and smooth fade out at beginning resp. end. That really sounds a lot better than it just switchin on and off. The idea could be used for hiss also, if it is higher than usual. CoolEdit has a nice Envelope function where you can do this kind of stuff. I guess other tools may have something like that.

As for clicks due to cutting, I believe there should never have to be be a click if you cut properly. You just need to find the right spot, and make sure you have multiple options just in case one does not want to cooperate.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:54 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I have taken out the hiss and it seems to me there was little sound quality loss.
That aspect seems fine now.
Quote:
I want to redo all my recordings, because I believe now the sound quality is much improved. That leaves 3 short pieces. Once that is done, I plan to go forward.
You should not feel obliged to put off going forward until you have righted all past wrongs. :) You don't have too much baggage, but some of the folk here could never go forward if they did that!
Quote:
As for your suggestion Eddy, I play every single third note of the triplet with my right thumb. It has never occurred to me to do otherwise.
I'm relieved to hear you say that, because I almost made a similar comment. The leaping and bounding which the left hand would otherwise have to do would increase the technical difficulty and would force you to slow down. I suspect Eddy and I were both thinking that this might be why you play this piece so slowly. And if that isn't the reason, we still don't know.

You probably did no edits this time to get rid of the breaks you made at the repeat signs, but do PLEASE just stop making the breaks. The repeat sign happens to have a fat line as part of it, but that's just a printing convention, it doesn't represent a wall at which you need to stop to gather your strength before jumping over it. Just treat it the same as an ordinary bar line when going on (and also when going back, except of course for the fact that you go back instead of forward).

There isn't enough emotion in the vicinity of the fermata bar. Try to put more into that section, and indeed into the whole piece. It isn't enough for you to feel the emotion when you're playing it, you need somehow to try to get it across to the listener. That is what performing, or interpreting, is all about. It's not the same as playing just for yourself. It's not just about emotion, but about communication of emotion.

I noticed that the second last note of the piece failed to sound, and that made me wonder whether it might be a good idea to omit the last two notes deliberately. Purists might shoot me down in flames for even suggesting such a thing, but there is, for example, a practice (fairly common, though not universal) in Haydn symphonies where in the minuet and trio movement the minuet section ends in a bar which begins with a tonic chord followed by a dominant/tonic note pair in the bass line. These last two notes are (when the aforementioned practice is observed) generally played when the second section of the minuet is played for the first time, and also for the second time when leading into the trio, but are omitted the last time on the da capo. Doing something similar here seems worth considering because the last two notes (B G) are really nothing but upbeats to the repeat, and if there isn't going to be a repeat, there is no point in having the upbeats to it, is there?


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 Post subject: Re: Schumann rehash
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:18 am 
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techneut wrote:
As for clicks due to cutting, I believe there should never have to be be a click if you cut properly. You just need to find the right spot, and make sure you have multiple options just in case one does not want to cooperate.


Surely, Chris, but how does one know if there is a click or not after you cut? One listens. If listening at normal levels with normal equipment one detects no click I do not believe one is going to comb though a whole recording with earphones and the volume set at maximum in order to find clicks. After all, one does not go looking for strawberries in the herb garden but that does not mean some may not be growing there. I only heard two faint ones by doing this (and this way the hiss was louder), you heard three (or did you only hear one?) Rainer heard none. Now, pick up any CD by any musician and listen just like that and one will be maddened by the violin bows hitting the strings, by the oboe keys clicking, by the singer breathing, by the action of the harpsichord dampening the strings and all these tend to be much louder than these clicks ever were.

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