Interesting, different opinions!
For better or worse, more and more pianists turn to digital
instruments as it they have some great advantages over acoustics.
If I see the development for music performances in Germany, I watch almost just the opposite. I never have seen a serious performer playing classical music on a digital keyboard, so that has not changed.
But there are tendencies to play in historical correct manner. Old cembali are used again, especially organs get reconstructed to use old pipe materials, in order to come close to the orginal tone. That combined with a corresponding playing style, so for baroque music in old fingerings in order to get that typical groovy baroque sound you will hear in literally every new professional baroque recording (in opposite to the more romantique oriented playing style you find in 30 years old recordings). The point is that there are tendencies too towards a more puristic approach.
I don't deny that more and more pianists buy a digital piano - I did too, for practising purposes, to not disturb others while playing with headphone. The only thing under discussion is the appropriate way to record in the final stage.
It might be easier in Europe to get your hands on a decently regulated piano and try to do an okay recording hoping there won't be too much background noise from other people around, but here in Québec you need a pass to enter a campus and get access to a piano for obvious security reasons after certain unfortunate events in schools. Of course, there's always the common variety of pianos in terrible condition, that hasn't been regulated since years, etc. For this reason, I don't think that using an acoustic instrument is always the best option for a recording.
Cydonia, I see your points. Maybe it is in Germany much easier to find a good piano to record - I only can speak what my experiences are. Of course, also in Germany the schools are closed at night, you cannot simply walk in. Especially an offer for a tuning opens the door also for good quality grands in schools or churches. Maybe one simply needs to ask and do it? I don't know whether you asked Cydonia, but I did, and my experiences are positive!
On the other hand, with the technology and latest audio software available today, it is as easy to edit
and trick an audio recording coming from an acoustic instrument than it is to modify one coming from a digital one. You just need a dry enough sound, a good software and some time. Pitch, amplitude, audio length corrections are all as easy to achieve on audio now than MIDI editing.
Sorry, but midi files are by far more easily to manipulate. To replace a wrong note by the correct one is a matter of some mouse clicks for a midi file. For an audio file it is impossible I believe, it is only possible to substitute the passage - and at least the pianist showed that he/she mastered that passage once. Also, amplitudes maybe corrected, but with that you would get a passage only softer or louder, but no accordingly change in tone color like on a real piano sound. With a midi file, the tone color would be changed as well, in an easy manner.
That's why, Cydonia, although I can follow the rest of your argumentation, I still believe that midi based recordings are much, much simpler to manipulate, and also to a far-reaching extend (wrong note correction e.g.), as real audio recordings.
If many great pianists needed much more than one take and/or used editing techniques available in their time (even in the 60s) for studio recordings so to get the results they wanted on the medias, I don't see why guys like Rubinstein should be considered any less impostors than someone here who uses a digital piano.
For me the point is, I see a difference between substitution of audio passages what seems to be done even or especially in professional recordings, or midi editing work. The first thing shows at least still what the artist played, however he/she did not play it in a row. Midi editing has nothing to do anymore with artistic work, so that's the difference for me.
Beside the view that midi editing has nothing to do with art, instead artificial it is the same regarding the sound. Excuse my highly personal view - but a digital piano is a dead part, has no soul and what comes out of this sounds accordingly - more or less artifical. A sligthly detuned piano with all its weakeness shows at least something living. But I respect of course other opions - a digital piano recording sounds always clean, noisefree, tuned 100%. Too clean for me, however...
And I would certainly not disqualify a majority of genuine players because of that.
Totally agree. I tried only to think over alternative recording possibilites for those honest submitters with digital recordings, to overcome the inherent problem of midi recordings.
So, you may want to disregard all of this, but...I really, really hate all this midi file stuff. How do you make a midi recording, anyway?
Yeah, I hate it too, sounds so bloodless and cold.
How to make a midi recording? Connect the midi cable from the digital keyboard to the PC, record something, play it back on the PC and edit the midi file until you get the level of perfection in the result what you like to have, the speed, dynamics, reading errors or slips removed. Why practise the wrong passages for half an hour if the editing needs only some seconds? Then play it back, and record the audio file. Gets always perfectly clean recordings, no need to get nervous during recording, no need to practise at the end. A midi file can be seen like a text document - one can edit until there are no mistakes anymore and print it out at the end.
That's the whole misery I see.