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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Hi Hye-Jin

In general, as a member I would support an acoustic piano rule, but I'm also mindful that you and a few others here have produced marvelous recordings using digital pianos. If a change were to be made, there might be a way to "grand-father" those already existing members who usually submit digital piano recordings. That way you and those other members would not be "expelled" and we could continue to enjoy your fine music. So I would think that the phase-in of a rule, should it come to pass, would apply to new people submitting to Piano Society. I think that would be fair in protecting the current members.

These hoaxsters that have appeared here lately annoy me and even anger me--and others too. As serious pianists we all "labor in the fields" doing conscientious practicing and making recordings to the best of our abilities. So when someone enters this website having created a midi recording with mere clicks on the computer, it's really an affront to those here who are so diligent in their art. So from that perspective, probably something needs to be done.

David

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:38 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Maybe it should be the rule for new members. Existing members who have proved their worth would get dispensation for it.

Yes, that is a good idea. Let's go with that from now on.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:43 pm 
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We must also write up something in the fine documentation, maybe even in the terms of service when they sign up. I'll need to chew on that a bit.
Again, any input and suggestions from our members will be most welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Quote:
Maybe it should be the rule for new members. Existing members who have proved their worth would get dispensation for it.


Personally, I don't see what the problem with digital instruments would be. I have a nice acoustic instrument to record on, but that's because it's at my parent's house (I myself practice and make video recordings on a digital in my apartment). But many pianists don't have the option to record on an acoustic, let alone a nice one, and in my limited opinion digitals can in fact sound much better than a whiny old upright or B-grade unrefurbished grand.

In any event, I think it should be abundantly obvious when a recording is being digitally manipulated. I haven't listened to this particular one and don't want to, because the result is always painfully apparent, no matter how much these computer geeks think they're fooling us. The Guybacos Chopin Etudes, for example, were risibly mechanical and tinkly-sounding, without a shred of real legato, natural phrasing, pedalling effect, or dynamic subtlety (maybe this michaelrose is yet another member of the Bacos fan club :P ).

In the end, it's all about the pianist, whether playing a digital, the finest Steinway concert D, or a box-o'-wood spinet. Digitals don't go out of tune, of course, but every other aspect of an honest performance will come across as human on these instruments as on everything else, the rhythmic glitches and overpedallings on the bad side as well as the rubato, dynamic range, and array of touches that only an infinitely fallible but nuanced being like man can create.

Anyway, I'm sure you can trust your instincts to reject something as actually digitally manipulated, and I do agree 100% that MIDI and such similar recordings have no real aesthetic value -- nor value of any type that I can perceive besides flattering the ego of the wannabe or sometime pianist turned techie -- and should not be accepted.

Just my two cents FWIW.

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:58 pm 
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Wait for me!

Uh, ... all the good stuff has already been said. :(

Maybe change the name to Pianist Society, so that any hint of engineered performance is rejected out-of-hand without a video to substantiate. Any recordings submitted on digital pianos will naturally give us a higher index of suspicion, unless the performer is already known to us. Just my 2 cents.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:09 pm 
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Allowing current digital pianists but insisting that new members submit only acoustic recordings is the best policy. If it means that a pianist has to go and find a nice piano to play on, then so be it. We all have to sacrifice at times...

(funny, Eddy!)

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:22 pm 
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Quote:
Allowing current digital pianists but insisting that new members submit only acoustic recordings is the best policy.


Not sure why that's the best policy. I've heard lifeless, uneven, technically incompetent performances on digitals just as I have on acoustics. Of course, e.g., Alfonso and Hye-Jin are existing members, but my worry is that you're potentially depriving the site of future performances and pianists that are on that level.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:23 pm 
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I keep finding it difficult to decide. With the ever dwindling number of members/posters, the last thing we want is discourage even more people from joining and posting recordings. It is inevitable that many people play digital these days and do not have the financial and/or logistical means for a real instrument.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Quote:
With the ever dwindling number of members/posters, the last thing we want is discourage even more people from joining and posting recordings.


Yes, a good point. And you also had no problem discerning that these latest recordings by Bacos and Rose were invalid. Usually after a bit of questioning of the "artist," that seems to become even more apparent.

Quote:
and do not have the financial and/or logistical means for a real instrument


Exactly. For people who live in apartments and don't have space or money for, or otherwise have access to, a nice instrument, that is what they are consigned to. Again I would ask whether it isn't obvious when, as was noted in the Bacos thread, something sounds completely mechanical or "too nice."

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:42 pm 
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I can always tell if it's a digital piano, no particular digital piano has ever fooled me. And when I hear a recording on one, even it's music very well-played, I can't get out of my mind that that person is sitting at a small plastic box and looks silly.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Quote:
I can always tell if it's a digital piano, no particular digital piano has ever fooled me.


I'm sure you can, and thus I believe you can also generally, if not always, differentiate between a recording that is digitally made by a computer and one that is on an actual digital instrument. For me, at least, the difference in sound is immediately apparent. I do wholeheartedly agree that if you even have any doubts about whether this is the case, the doubts are probably valid and you should simply reject the recording out of hand without further questioning or discussion.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:03 pm 
Quote:
I can always tell if it's a digital piano, no particular digital piano has ever fooled me. And when I hear a recording on one, even it's music very well-played, I can't get out of my mind that that person is sitting at a small plastic box and looks silly.


:D Does this look silly to you? http://www.kawai.de/ca91_en.htm

It sounds like you really have no idea what's out there. But if you want to restrict yourself to acoustic pianos that's fine with me. I uploaded this because I thought it would be fun to become a member here but as it looks like I stepped on everybody's toes I would ask you to delete my account.

Yes, I use modern technology to record my music. That includes playing an expensive high end digital instrument, recording on a high end digital hardware and software platform, editing and cleaning up on studio level production software. If that leaves too clean a piece of music that's at least debatable and you should let people have their own opinion. Unfortunately to me it looks like you don't want to allow this kind of thing and that's fine, that's your choice. But to me it's like fighting over whether a photographer these days is allow to use photoshop to improve his results.

Michael


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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:22 pm 
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michaelrose55 wrote:
Quote:
I can always tell if it's a digital piano, no particular digital piano has ever fooled me. And when I hear a recording on one, even it's music very well-played, I can't get out of my mind that that person is sitting at a small plastic box and looks silly.


:D Does this look silly to you? http://www.kawai.de/ca91_en.htm

It sounds like you really have no idea what's out there. But if you want to restrict yourself to acoustic pianos that's fine with me. I uploaded this because I thought it would be fun to become a member here but as it looks like I stepped on everybody's toes I would ask you to delete my account.


A serious pianist playing one of those still looks silly to me. But you're right - I didn't know they make a digital keyboard with a real wooden sound board. That's good! Still doubtful that the sound would fool me, though. Anyway, Michael, yes this forum is not a good fit for you. I give you credit for not 'attacking' us like the last 'Guy' (pun intended) did. Good luck with your music producing. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:47 pm 
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Quote:
I thought it would be fun to become a member here but as it looks like I stepped on everybody's toes I would ask you to delete my account.


Sorry, but this sad-sack passive-aggressiveness is so uncannily similar to some posts on the Bacos thread that I just can't resist replying to it, since I held my tongue on that one :P I don't believe you've stepped on anyone's toes here; you've just dishonestly presented a recording as legimate and, potentially, yourself as a real pianist.

Quote:
But to me it's like fighting over whether a photographer these days is allow to use photoshop to improve his results.


This fatuous analogy has become such a cliche that I think any reasonably intelligent person could recite it in his sleep. The fact that such manipulations, and even photography itself, are not art is immediately apparent to anybody that has studied traditional philosophy. In short, photography is not timeless and universal but a modern machine, just as is a car, a screwdriver, or any other technological innovation that man has devised to facilitate a process. That is, a photographer merely reproduces or manipulates a scene that is already there, created by God, for his own ends. Painting, on the other hand, goes back to the time of cavemen and has always been produced through sheer talent, sweat, and toil coupled with the most basic substances and tools that man has to create his own vision of something. So too does the pianist performer. Since music is an abstraction, the substance and intention of the notes in a work having no larger meaning apart from the life they are given by the performer, the pianist is involved in the creation of the work, as if it is happening for the first time. The photographer is merely capturing, say, a sunset, which has plenty of meaning in itself apart from what he can manipulate it to look like.

I've known people that can't draw at all but are damn good at the technical skill of photography, which is on the artistic level of being a rock DJ or a race car driver. Just as there are people who can't play the piano at all but think they have a wonderfully unique conception of a work and who are manipulating computer programs to achieve it. They might think it sounds wonderful because they're narcissists, but the rest of us hear it for what it is: vapid tripe. Sorry, but there really isn't even any opinion about this. It isn't art; it's chicanery pure and simple.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:08 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
I thought it would be fun to become a member here but as it looks like I stepped on everybody's toes I would ask you to delete my account.


Sorry, but this sad-sack passive-aggressiveness is so uncannily similar to some posts on the Bacos thread that I just can't resist replying to it, since I held my tongue on that one :P I don't believe you've stepped on anyone's toes here; you've just dishonestly presented a recording as legimate and, potentially, yourself as a real pianist.

Quote:
But to me it's like fighting over whether a photographer these days is allow to use photoshop to improve his results.


This fatuous analogy has become such a cliche that I think any reasonably intelligent person could recite it in his sleep. The fact that such manipulations, and even photography itself, are not art is immediately apparent to anybody that has studied traditional philosophy. In short, photography is not timeless and universal but a modern machine, just as is a car, a screwdriver, or any other technological innovation that man has devised to facilitate a process. That is, a photographer merely reproduces or manipulates a scene that is already there, created by God, for his own ends. Painting, on the other hand, goes back to the time of cavemen and has always been produced through sheer talent, sweat, and toil coupled with the most basic substances and tools that man has to create his own vision of something. So too does the pianist performer. Since music is an abstraction, the substance and intention of the notes in a work having no larger meaning apart from the life they are given by the performer, the pianist is involved in the creation of the work, as if it is happening for the first time. The photographer is merely capturing, say, a sunset, which has plenty of meaning in itself apart from what he can manipulate it to look like.

I've known people that can't draw at all but are damn good at the technical skill of photography, which is on the artistic level of being a rock DJ or a race car driver. Just as there are people who can't play the piano at all but think they have a wonderfully unique conception of a work and who are manipulating computer programs to achieve it. They might think it sounds wonderful because they're narcissists, but the rest of us hear it for what it is: vapid tripe. Sorry, but there really isn't even any opinion about this. It isn't art; it's chicanery pure and simple.
Joe, that is a wonderful flurish of aesthetic thought. Vivre la philosophie toujours!

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Last edited by musical-md on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:30 pm 
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michaelrose55 wrote:
It sounds like you really have no idea what's out there.

Thank goodness not. And we'll be quite happy to leave it like that, and instead go and tickle the old ivories of our archaic wooden hammer boxes.

michaelrose55 wrote:
But if you want to restrict yourself to acoustic pianos that's fine with me. I uploaded this because I thought it would be fun to become a member here but as it looks like I stepped on everybody's toes I would ask you to delete my account.

It shall be done.

michaelrose55 wrote:
Yes, I use modern technology to record my music. That includes playing an expensive high end digital instrument, recording on a high end digital hardware and software platform, editing and cleaning up on studio level production software.

Somehow this does not jibe with your initial post, where you said you play piano, after a long hiatus, just for the fun of it. Your fun is evidently in something else, which I can well understand in someone who is so inclined. I just do not understand what the point is, and what you expect people to make of it. Did you expect people to acclaim that at long last, Alkan has been done right in a musically and technically superior, unique definitive rendition ? The result is so lifeless, mechanical, and doctored that music lover would applaude it. Did you expect people to marvel at your computer skills ? Quite possible in a geek community but this is not one of those. Did you expect us simple pianists to gawp at your expensive gadgets ? Did you expect us to marvel at your piano playing skills, by presenting something that is impossible to play like this ? Did you expect us to want this on the site, for people around the world to enjoy ? Honestly, what did you expect ?

michaelrose55 wrote:
If that leaves too clean a piece of music that's at least debatable and you should let people have their own opinion. Unfortunately to me it looks like you don't want to allow this kind of thing and that's fine, that's your choice. But to me it's like fighting over whether a photographer these days is allow to use photoshop to improve his results.

Sure, to each his own opinion. We shall agree to disagree and go our separate ways. No hard feelings, only puzzlement.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Surely the real distinction one wishes to make is not what kind of instrument (acoustic or digital) has been used, but whether a performance has been played live or generated by computer (even if it's just "manipulation" of data the input of which involved using a keyboard played more or less in real time, but not necessarily at the right speed). The latter allows the production of "perfect" performances, bypassing the need to master the technical pianistic skills which would otherwise be required. Because much of the hard work is avoided this way, we consider it to be cheating. Our goal is not the production of a high quality recording, but the production of a reasonably high quality live performance, of which a record is then made.

Of course some latitude must be allowed when deciding what "live" really means. We don't (and shouldn't) require a recording to consist of one perfect take from start to finish. Post-performance edits are OK for the purpose of eliminating page-turn noises and correcting mistakes, and some processing to reduce hiss, adjust levels, perhaps tinker with dynamics, and so on, and even though in some sense that too could be considered to be another kind of "artificial perfection", this is acceptable provided that all the material from which the final recording is spliced together does actually come from live takes.

But that is no reason to reject digital pianos altogether, provided they are used in live mode. I think it would be wrong to make special exceptions for existing members, because it is unfair to would-be newcomers whose intentions are every bit as genuine as those of existing members, but who for whatever reasons (probably for the same reasons as those which apply to existing members) don't have access to a real instrument or to acoustic recording equipment.


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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:59 pm 
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Quote:
tinker with dynamics


This is the only slight detail in what you said that I would take issue with. I think this borders on doctoring and artificially enhancing the actual elements of performance.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:38 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
tinker with dynamics
This is the only slight detail in what you said that I would take issue with. I think this borders on doctoring and artificially enhancing the actual elements of performance.
I don't disagree with you here, particularly as "borders on" leaves room for latitude.

The question of which side of the border one is judged to be on might be answered by the motivation for the tinkering. If it is to add dynamics to a performance which contained none, that should be frowned upon. If it is merely to exaggerate dynamic contrasts which are actually there in the performance, but which the recording does not reproduce well, it could be excused.


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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:13 pm 
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rainer wrote:
Of course some latitude must be allowed when deciding what "live" really means. We don't (and shouldn't) require a recording to consist of one perfect take from start to finish. Post-performance edits are OK for the purpose of eliminating page-turn noises and correcting mistakes, and some processing to reduce hiss, adjust levels, perhaps tinker with dynamics, and so on, and even though in some sense that too could be considered to be another kind of "artificial perfection", this is acceptable provided that all the material from which the final recording is spliced together does actually come from live takes.

This particular patch of ground has been covered many times already. Actually I find it a bit OT here. There is a world of difference between a little cosmetic post-processing of one's recording, which I think most of us do here, and heavily manipulating some material of doubtful origin to create something grand and supposedly unique (and then not saying so upfront).

But while on the subject, I agree with Joe that tinkering with dynamics seems to be on the wrong side of the fence. Though I plead guilty of occasionally decreasing the volume of a closing note that came out too loud despite my best efforts at playing it ppp or pppp.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:59 am 
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Yes, all other things being equal, acoustic is preferable to digital. But realistically I don't think it's fair to make a stipulation that digital recordings should be rejected. Ultimately what that does is to punish perfectly genuine performances because of the sins of the few. Digital pianos are far more practical for many people nowadays, living in apartment blocks, or moving regularly between accommodation to due to pressures of work or education.

What I think is to be condemned is when someone attempts to pass off a digitally rendered performance which has not even been played in the traditional sense. There are plenty midi files of various pieces out there and there is no guarantee that some of these performances are even the original work of the "artist" (sic). There's pretty close to no reasonable excuse nowadays for being unable to produce a video of a work on demand, assuming the capability to play it: the camera on my mobile/cell phone is significantly better in terms of video specification than my camcorder!


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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:50 am 
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Hi andrew,

Quote:
There's pretty close to no reasonable excuse nowadays for being unable to produce a video of a work on demand


I'll probably be called a Luddite opposing the Ugly March of Progress. :lol: But the truth is I have no cell phone. (I prefer a land line and don't want a cell phone intruding into my life when I'm away. Also I have no patience for "Can you hear me now?" Plus they have potential health hazards.) I don't have an iPod (prefer to listen to music at home on piano sites, CDs, FM broadcasts or better yet to play the piano and make the music myself.) No Kindle either (I like the feel of a real book in my hands, not a piece of plastic). No laptop (with an excellent Dell Inspiron PC, don't need one as computer stuff can wait until I return home). No iPad (see reasons above). Recently our daughter gave me a Garman navigator. That I like because my wife too often suggests that I make wrong turns. So now I can say "I told you so." Even if I were a techie, the piano and PC are at opposite ends of the house.

Anyway, I definitely fall into the "pretty close" category. :lol:

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:46 am 
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Ha, I knew there would be an exception. :wink: I'm only one step behind you on the Luddite spectrum. However, my phone does play music, video, perform satnav, and makes a pretty decent attempt at being a laptop.


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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:05 pm 
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For me, standalone digital pianos are fine and (dare I say it) even some MIDI keyboard based pianos could be fine in some cases as long as the sample set and keyboard are good enough.

A digital piano and a MIDI keyboard based instrument aren't much different - they both use a velocity sensitive electronic keyboard (glorified switches with a velocity sensor), some sort of processor (PC based for MIDI, embedded for digital piano) and a set of audio samples to produce the sound. The digital piano has some more specific processing perhaps for polyphony and pedalling but not much more.

But, I think, what is important is that what is submitted to this site is a true representation of someones performance including dynamics, tempo and execution of the notes. If the recording is of a good enough quality as well then that should be sufficient for an "Audition".

To take any recording and "tinker with dynamics" (on any piano) or edit a MIDI file to alter speeds and change notes, or indeed, create the MIDI file from scratch shouldn't be acceptable on this site (at least in the Audtion Room) - there are plenty of sites for MIDI enthusiasts.

I'm not sure there is any need to ask for a video as it is quite clear from some recent submissions that PS members can spot the suspect recordings very easily.

But, I do think that some guidance as to what is acceptable might be useful for the future to avoid potential arguments.

Ideas anyone ? (!)

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:50 am 
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Thanks for your thoughts everybody. We'll take them all into consideration when formulating updated rules.
For now, I have removed the OP from the forum.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Posts: 1040
You should write:

"In priciple only acoustic pianos are acceptable for submission. Recordings on digital pianos will only be accepted under special conditions and at the discretion of the board. MIDI files are only accepted on the forum for illustrative purposes and no other."

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Richard Willmer
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He is doing his best."
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Last edited by richard66 on Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:03 pm 
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Location: Netherlands
Thanks Richard, I'll take that into account too.

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Chris Breemer


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 Post subject: Re: My first upload: Alkan Allegro Barbaro
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:13 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
I guessed this would pop up again.

The OP was honest in that as soon as he realized this is not the right place he asked to be removed. This suggests the problem is information. Sure we can post rules but there will always be a grey area, and many newbees will post without reading all the rules and without lurking to find out what goes.

I suggest that we enforce the principle that whenever someone posts a recording it is mandatory to provide detailed information about how it was done, and with what editing. This goes for all of us. If it is a single take just say so. If someone posts a recording without this an admin can summarily lock the thread, asking the poster to re-post with this info. Based on this information the admins can decide if the recording is acceptable. This procedure also highlights that in this forum we really care about this.

Granted, this will not protect against deliberately dishonest posts but I think those are much rarer than honest mistakes. I think this would have stalled the OP in this case, and even the infamous Guy. He is well known in his area, so had he really wanted to be dishonest he wouldn't have used is real name. He had the very misguided idea to try us out as an experiment, not understanding that this is not a done thing here.

There still remains the issue of actually defining admissible production and editing procedures. I suggest we err on the liberal side. After all, if all information is immediately available, those not interested can simply stop reading the post. In particular I would be sad to see a ban on DPs. Granted, they do not sound as good as a good grand, but they can be better than many physical out of tune pianos. I respect those who have an aversion to DPs, but perhaps their misery is mitigated if they know this is the case from the start so they don't have to listen.

I don't believe in partitioning people in "trusted" and "suspect" categories, with different rules. This will make this forum a kind of closed club and may reduce good submissions. We want (I hope) to welcome all new people to submit.

Joachim


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