Piano Society
Free Classical Keyboard Recordings
It is currently Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:32 pm

All times are UTC - 1 hour




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 2:09 pm 
I've just finished reading the article quoted earlier by cocobill. There is quite a bit to take issue with. While the fundamental point, that different striking techniques can provide some extremely subtle variety of tonal effect on a given piano (we are, after all, talking about an acoustic instrument sensitive to every minute environmental condition), is, of course, valid, the author jumps from this basic, isolated fact to a far-off conclusion: that adherence to one technique over another will yield vastly different results, and, much further, that one of these tonal results is absolutely preferable over another.

I should state here that I steadfastly believe what I wrote earlier, that technique and tone need to be considered in the context of music. Supposedly controlled lab tests of musical instruments are of no great use; the entirety of a fine instrument's sonic character is imparted through the vast nuances of the materials and methods used to construct and operate it, and any attempt to isolate and examine the tiniest of distinctions is doomed to meaninglessness. Myriad failed attempts to study and replicate Stradivarius violins have proven this point true.

This is certainly not to say that all instrumental/acoustical research is pointless, but just to point out that the sheer infinity of variables involved in certain types of experiments inevitably leads the scientist down such an involuted path that he drifts farther and farther from relevance to the actual fundamentally performative, essentially artistic function of the instrument.

This article on "Tone" is an example of a person attempting to squeeze musical meaningfulness from raw data, and falling flat on his face in trying to do so. In the article, he spends pages explaining the initial sound created upon the impact of the hammer on the string, the "prompt sound," as a 6 or 7 millisecond window of sound during which the energy of the dissonant natural frequencies of the hammer are translated into the harmonic frequencies of the string. He says, "the prompt sound, which lasts for the first one or two hundredths of a second, contains the harsh dissonant frequencies; the after sound consists of only the natural string frequencies."

However, the entire scientific endeavor is proven pointless by this single sentence: "One wants to reduce the prompt sound, but it is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate it completely; its presence contributes to the unique sound of the piano." Thus, after going to such great lengths to explain the physics of the piano, the author returns to a statement fully verifying and validating the subjective nature of music and the pointlessness of such ridiculous examination. First of all, a question: does one really want to reduce the prompt sound, if its presence contributes to the unique sound of the piano? In fact, "contributes to" is a bit of an understatement; the Wikipedia entry on "Timbre" states the issue as such:

"...if one takes away the attack from the sound of a piano or trumpet, it becomes more difficult to identify the sound correctly, since the sound of the hammer hitting the strings or the first blat of the player's lips are highly characteristic of those instruments.

So the "attack" sound of a piano is, indeed, what makes it sound like a piano. And does one truly want to play an instrument in a manner which seeks to make the instrument sound less like itself? The answer, at least to me, seems obvious. It is why digital piano manufacturers record the attack sound as well as the sustain sound for a piano key sample. When I play a key on my digital Yamaha piano, I can hear the actual recorded "thud" of the hammer mechanism moving and hitting the string, as well as the real "thud" of the weighted action of the keyboard.

There are so many variables in the creation of a piano's sound, from the construction of the piano itself to the way it is played, and this, of course, makes up the enormous bulk of any acoustic instrument's appeal.

/////////

Suffice it to say, the point of all this must be that in the end, after all the minute scientific data in the world is collected on the nature of an instrument's sound, even the most rigorous scientist still has to make a completely subjective, personal, emotional decision on the value of any data in actual, performative application.

/////////

Maybe someday I'll figure out a way to get some recordings of myself actually playing the piano onto this site, and spare you all these words :D


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:02 pm 
I guess there's a basic question that I haven't answered directly yet, the question of whether a musician, through technique, can alter the particular tonal quality of a given piano. My answer is: not to any appreciable degree. As I've implied in my first post, during the performance of a piece of piano music, notes are hit with varying accelerations and velocities. The varying tonal responses of the instrument to these different inputs are all components of the particular instrument's tonal character, or timbre.

One piece of music played by two different pianists on the same piano, however wildly different the pianists' respective interpretations of the piece are, will sound with the same timbre: that of the particular instrument at hand.

//

It's fun having a conversation with oneself.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:18 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:38 am
Posts: 647
Location: Sydney, Australia
agree with pfj,sandro,,,,lifting gives a harsh sound...but wait.....sometimes striking key with higer finger actions does give a BRIGHTER sound. Lifting action WHEN required.

This is what I would do----how about do two recording on two differnt touches within a mimium time span and play back on the hifi to see if you can hear the differences. Sometimes, our mind are tricked to what we Actually play/ hear so make sure you plug your ears up when strike the key during the sample recording.. So just do the recording on scales-a sigle notes and compare the pitch on the auidacity--this wise, the recording is non biased. you can not beat science.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:34 pm
Posts: 1278
johnmar78 wrote:
agree with pfj,sandro,,,,lifting gives a harsh sound...but wait.....sometimes striking key with higer finger actions does give a BRIGHTER sound. Lifting action WHEN required.

This is what I would do----how about do two recording on two differnt touches within a mimium time span and play back on the hifi to see if you can hear the differences. Sometimes, our mind are tricked to what we Actually play/ hear so make sure you plug your ears up when strike the key during the sample recording.. So just do the recording on scales-a sigle notes and compare the pitch on the auidacity--this wise, the recording is non biased. you can not beat science.


You raise an excellent point John; our perceived performances can be very different from our actual ones. If we record ourselves, we can hear from our audience's perspective. This is a powerful practice tool.

Also, we must remember that key-strike noise may be audible to the performer but not the more distant spectators. In the recording studio, these percussive sounds are most noticeable. To someone 30m away however, such noise may be totally undetectable.

Pete


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:12 pm
Posts: 57
Location: The Netherlands
For most pianos. there is no difference between a and b, simply because most piano have a mechanism (Renner) that is designed to make no difference. After the impression, the hammer is on its own. Only bad designed or very old pianos can transfer vibration for the finger to the hammer.

Difference in timbre come from such factors as:
- how the key is released (slow release makes the silencer create extra sounds)
- whether keys are pressed exactly simultaneously or not.
- how the impressions of the one note follows the release of the other
- etc..

And of course technique a) and b) have different results with regard to these factors. So timbre is influenced in an indirect way by influencing these factors, not in a direct way by influencing the initial tone.

Greetings from Peter Schuttevaar


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC - 1 hour


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group