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 Post subject: IS this cheating or not cheating???
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:22 am 
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Hey....EVERY ONE.

I just got a new computer and comes with all BS wave pad and other music editing programs.
So I play around with it. I noticed in "wave Pad" you can alter the pitch . speed, reverb, hiss noise...all that high tec stuff. I know I am a bit slow in this area. You know I am a purist in music forms and I DO NOT edit my files.

So I want to see whats sounds like on a op66 after increase the speed by 20%......so its sounds still ok. But when gets to 50% plus its sounds too artificial???


I was wondering what if IF ANY ONE ALREADY DONE IT, play the all music scores(any) by 1/2 speed or less and EDIT the final version by increase its speed to "normal tempo" speed, would not that be nice???? or its so called deceiving customers? I personally think that editing sound recording has an art in itself but DO YOU think that's cheating??? eg like generic engineering.....

I would like to hear the general opnion????

Ps, I would not edit the files even the "hiss sound" if the recording is done in a proper studio in the first place.


Thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:25 am 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
when I use to rely on my friend to do the recording on his keyboard and computer program (to which we made no progress)...I played pieces half speed because I was still practing them...then I asked him to increase the speed a bit just to see how it sounded. Nice little feature to learn off of but not to use as a substitution, especially if you are a purist!

-JG


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:32 am 
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thank Pal, I would to get a mp40 myself for collection. I wouldnot mind to see yours.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:40 pm 
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It's not cheating as long as you identify exactly how you edited your sumissions. It would be interesting to hear your 10/1 at an artificially doubled tempo (perhaps comical too, as the decay rate would also double) not viable as an archived submission, but interesting as a pedagogical and motivational tool. It's a glimpse into your potential, IMO. I think the place for these fabrications would be the 'general' section.

I defer to the admins.

GO SAINTS!

PJF


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:00 pm 
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haaaa, so i do one for fun, add more bass and trenble and double the speed and NO SLIPS at all. All done in slow motion and carefully ARTICULATED........I will see......

By adding more bass and trenble and its MAY sounds like an expensive big grand.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:17 pm 
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This is a good and useful topic, and it would be great if all people were honest about how exactly they postprocess their recordings. Myself I have so far been guilty of following:

1) Splicing together diferent takes. I did that only twice though. In a Mozart Adagio that would not come off clean in one take and I got bored with repeating, and in a Szymanowski mazurka because I kept botching up the closing bars, so I recorded these separately a few times and tacked on the one with the fewest misses.

2) Cutting out a flub (like a wrong note that I immediately corrected) if it was possible to do so. More often than not it only makes things sound worse so I end up leaving it as is. But sometimes it can work wonders.

3) In a recently I decreased the volume of a lone chord that for some reason I had hit far too loud. I feel a bit rotten about that and won't do it again - the result was not even very satisfactory.

4) Cutting out an audible page turn if it was possible to do without disturbing the music.

5) Boosting the volume level with 3 Db

6) Adding "Light Concert Hall" reverb

I consider 1-3 a bit cheaty, but not very much so as they are rare exceptions and I honestly work hard on avoiding this (and often can't be bothered to do it). I do not think anybody will have a problem with 4-6. And of course one should cut out hiss, hum, recording plops, and intrusive noice as long as it does not affect the music.

But really cheating are IMO:

- adding or changing notes
- record slowly, then increase the tempo
- bar-by-bar or note-by-note recording

So johnmar, I am not in favour of your proposed trick with the Chopin 10.1. I doubt that it will sound any good anyway.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:03 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
techneut wrote:
4) Cutting out an audible page turn if it was possible to do without disturbing the music.

6) Adding "Light Concert Hall" reverb


#4...ha! I remember that one

#6...agree with you that this is not cheating. Don't the professional recording studios add in reverb after the recording?


Wouldn't you consider the submission of the WTC by J.L. Grant as "cutting a corner"? Also Claudio Colombo's website of http://www.claudiocolombo.net look at his vast amount of recordings all perfectly played (but a somewhat less than perfect keyboard/piano).

Just a thought.

-JG


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 1:09 am 
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techneut wrote:
This is a good and useful topic, and it would be great if all people were honest about how exactly they postprocess their recordings. Myself I have so far been guilty of following:

1) Splicing together diferent takes. I did that only twice though. In a Mozart Adagio that would not come off clean in one take and I got bored with repeating, and in a Szymanowski mazurka because I kept botching up the closing bars, so I recorded these separately a few times and tacked on the one with the fewest misses.

2) Cutting out a flub (like a wrong note that I immediately corrected) if it was possible to do so. More often than not it only makes things sound worse so I end up leaving it as is. But sometimes it can work wonders.

3) In a recently I decreased the volume of a lone chord that for some reason I had hit far too loud. I feel a bit rotten about that and won't do it again - the result was not even very satisfactory.

4) Cutting out an audible page turn if it was possible to do without disturbing the music.

5) Boosting the volume level with 3 Db

6) Adding "Light Concert Hall" reverb

I consider 1-3 a bit cheaty, but not very much so as they are rare exceptions and I honestly work hard on avoiding this (and often can't be bothered to do it). I do not think anybody will have a problem with 4-6. And of course one should cut out hiss, hum, recording plops, and intrusive noice as long as it does not affect the music.

But really cheating are IMO:

- adding or changing notes
- record slowly, then increase the tempo
- bar-by-bar or note-by-note recording

So johnmar, I am not in favour of your proposed trick with the Chopin 10.1. I doubt that it will sound any good anyway.

Haaaaaaa, Chris, I am doing this just for fun see what outcome I will get. again i am still beleive a good pianist should rely on its touch. I allowed to cut the hiss or add some reverb. Otherwise, its against my natural???perhaps, money is not important or less business like???

My op10/1 is beteer and better after Petes advice.................


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 4:57 am 
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Quote:
Haaaaaaa, Chris, I am doing this just for fun see what outcome I will get. again i am still beleive a good pianist should rely on its touch. I allowed to cut the hiss or add some reverb. Otherwise, its against my natural???perhaps, money is not important or less business like???

I know of course. But you did ask whether this would be cheating. IMO it is, big time.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:03 am 
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Quote:
Wouldn't you consider the submission of the WTC by J.L. Grant as "cutting a corner"?

No. This is a purely synthetic rendefring, using Bosendorfer sampled tones in different volumes. It is positioned study object rather than a performance, and John is very open and clear about it. It lays open the contrapunt of the WTC like no 'real' pianist could do. But we happen to know John is a very accomplished pianist even though his fame rests on these WTC recordings.

Quote:
Also Claudio Colombo's website of http://www.claudiocolombo.net look at his vast amount of recordings all perfectly played (but a somewhat less than perfect keyboard/piano).

I don't find this believable either. It is too much and too perfect and too digital. I do not believe any 'real' pianist would confine himself to playing tons of stuff on a digital.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:18 am 
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great to see that ONLY few people replied this topic. I would like further stress that , this is not a confession room and IF you do use any of the editing function, YOU CAN HELP OTHERS by tell us YOUR LITTLE SECREAT. Because I got nothing to hide. There is no need to lose face than being an open diplomatic person :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:58 am 
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Last time we had this discussion (2 years ago), it became very infected eventuelly led to that Mei-Ting and Koji Attwood took off and founded Whitekeys (nowadays a pretty dead site). Lets not hope we end up there again ;).

Regarding professional recordings, you can be very sure that many are modified unless they are live. But not in the case we discuss here. They are not digital rendations or midi modified (of course, I cannot talk for all) but likely copy/paste from different takes. Gould was the first to really make use of the technique but some other famous recordings as for example Pollini's Chopin etudes also used this technique (Pollini's is even bar-by-bar). I think this is the reason why video recordings get more and more popular.

This raises another question. What is most important? That we have a musically good interpretations or that we know that the pianist is capable of playing it?
For us who play the piano, it is rather frustrating that the general public hardly give a damn about who the pianist is. It is the composer and the music that is of highest rank. It is not until you are a frequent listener to classical piano music that you begin to care about different recordings of the same piece and pay attention to who is performing it. For me, it is a combination of the composer's music and the pianist's interpretation that makes the music interesting and I cannot help being a bit disappointed if I learn that a certain recording is bar-by-bar or a digital rendation. It pretty much came as a chock when I learned about Pollini's Chopin etüdes for example. I am always interested in the person behind the recording and his/her thought and ideas about it. This is pretty much what this site is about.

Cheating, well I think it is a different matter from pianist to pianist and how open you are with what you are doing. I do not hide that I use different takes in some recordings to copy everything together into a single track and I did that a lot in some pieces in the Chopin preludes (8, 19 and 24 are the result of 7-10 takes) while most other recordings I have on the site are one take recordings. That is the reason why my output is low. I am a terrible score reader and must learn the piece by heart before I make a recording (that is usually the case). I have experimented a bit with editing programs but find the work utterly boring and I rather spend that time behind the piano keys than with computing programs. But I add a bit stereo effects with my recordings, use equalization and add reverb.

The rules of PianoSociety is that midi rendations must be really something extra to fit on the site and clearly marked. However, it is in some cases very difficult to differ manipulated recordings from one-takes. Especially if you do not provide much information of yourself as a pianist. One cannot help being suspicious when pianists arrive uploading incredible recordings of difficult compositions with no formal piano education or references.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:26 am 
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I think this is a healthy and necessary discussion and no need for anobody to get heated up about. The occasional cosmetic editing or splice should be no problem to anyone, but if it becomes structural, a means rather than an end, then it loses the link with reality and goes against the grain of this site. I prefer a person really playing, warts and all, to a doctored digitally perfect product of engineering any time.

The term cheating should be reserved for cases where somebody is not open about it.

Experiments like johnmar's of course are fine - though I am not sure they belong in the Audition Room as that is (or should be) reserved for 'serious' submissions. Perhaps the Technique section would be better if someone wants to experiment and/or monitor their progress ?

I like your diplomatic last statement Robert :wink: I guess everybody knows whom it pertains to.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 10:07 am 
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[

Cheating, well I think it is a different matter from pianist to pianist and how open you are with what you are doing. I do not hide that I use different takes in some recordings to copy everything together into a single track and I did that a lot in some pieces in the Chopin preludes (8, 19 and 24 are the result of 7-10 takes) while most other recordings I have on the site are one take recordings. That is the reason why my output is low. I am a terrible score reader and must learn the piece by heart before I make a recording (that is usually the case). I have experimented a bit with editing programs but find the work utterly boring and I rather spend that time behind the piano keys than with computing programs. But I add a bit stereo effects with my recordings, use equalization and add reverb.

The rules of PianoSociety is that midi rendations must be really something extra to fit on the site and clearly marked. However, it is in some cases very difficult to differ manipulated recordings from one-takes. Especially if you do not provide much information of yourself as a pianist. One cannot help being suspicious when pianists arrive uploading incredible recordings of difficult compositions with no formal piano education or references.[/quote]

woh...Rob, you are far advance in editing than me by miles. You able to edit your muscic(7-8 takes) into one final version. You must be a very patient person. Like mine op53, the amount of time I managed to do one final take is worth while than editing several takes into one. This is very much like a moving making.... :lol: Lat week for the first time after several"critique" sessions, i managed to do TWO takes of op53 with similar performance(perhaps after I had a small nap).

Meanwhile, I stick to my own rule....back to the practice room, ready for more charity recitals---maily for the church function.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:05 am 
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Referring to the list from Chris, I would declare points 2 and 3 as cheating. Point 1 - cutting together from different takes partly perhaps to, I did as well with a Chopin Waltz this way. But I think on professional recordings they do it as well. At least one was able to play it in the given quality once.

That's why I value live recordings so much - one can expect to have no editing stuff here. And that's why I always be sceptic regarding digital keyboard recordings. There are some Chopin Etude recordings here, done on a digital keyboard. I doubt that they are all done without raising the speed artificial, to be honest. I doubt that if someone can play a Chopin etude at concert speed and worked months or years on that, that he/she would record on a digital keyboard. So if I listen to such a piece posted here in the recording section, played in the same fast speed as Pollini plays, without errors, but on a digital keyboard, I get iffy.
It is sooooo easy on a digital keyboard to raise the speed - that is, recording as midi file, playing back with another speed. And edit some wrong notes with some mouse clicks in the midi file. That is INAUDIBLE and EASY, no transformation losses and quality issues like on audio wave file speed conversations.
That comes to the old discussion what we had here already, whether to label a recording as done on a digital keyboard or not. I would prefer to have this label. The one who like to have clean record quality and perfect tuned recordings, can choose digital keyboard recordings. The other might prefer real piano recordings.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 12:17 pm 
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Quote:
Referring to the list from Chris, I would declare points 2 and 3 as cheating.

Yes definitely. I plead guilty :oops:

I will certainly not do 3) again, but I'll probably not be able to resist the temptation to cut out a really horrific wart if possible. Luckily these seem to happen less frequently (actually most of my recent recordings are unedited).

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:14 pm 
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MindenBlues wrote:
And that's why I always be sceptic regarding digital keyboard recordings. There are some Chopin Etude recordings here, done on a digital keyboard. I doubt that they are all done without raising the speed artificial, to be honest. I doubt that if someone can play a Chopin etude at concert speed and worked months or years on that, that he/she would record on a digital keyboard. So if I listen to such a piece posted here in the recording section, played in the same fast speed as Pollini plays, without errors, but on a digital keyboard, I get iffy.
It is sooooo easy on a digital keyboard to raise the speed - that is, recording as midi file, playing back with another speed. And edit some wrong notes with some mouse clicks in the midi file. That is INAUDIBLE and EASY, no transformation losses and quality issues like on audio wave file speed conversations.

I assume that this post is directed to me as no other etude Chopin pianists are active in the forum ;). I have three recordings up which are 10/1, 10/2 and 10/6. 10/1 and 10/2 are very difficult and some voices were raised a couple of years ago so I made a video recording of me playing it 10/1. I actually made a little joke to the "speed daemon community" and made a video recording of the 2:nd with me wearing a mask :).
None of these two are one takes and that is actually audible (especially in the second). I did not either play a couple of takes and then cut the best part together. I deliberately just made a passage until that was finished. Took a break (days apart as you get very tired playing these) and continued with the next etc. That could be named cheating but I do not really care. I know I played both these etudes inside and out and practised them daily in about 2 years before I made the recordings. I preferred to be sure that my recordings sounded well and put music in the first room and the performance in the second.
BUT, I did NOT manipulate the tempo or edit notes (not in any other recordings either) and as one can hear, there are quite a few mistakes there, especially in 10/1. But I have experimented with midi (inspired by Mr. Grant) but was pretty desillusioned as in fact, it is extremly time consuming (it is NOT that easy at all), it often sounds bad and to me counterproductive as I lose the musical inspiration.
Why I use my Yamaha CLP-170 before the Nylund & Son or my Schimmel in most of my recordings? It simply sounds that much better.

So if the question was directed towards me, I guess the above is the answer 8).

When it comes to the other recordings, I know for certain that Grant's is a midi rendation. All his recordings in the site are. About the other pianists, I don't know.

MindenBlues wrote:
That comes to the old discussion what we had here already, whether to label a recording as done on a digital keyboard or not. I would prefer to have this label. The one who like to have clean record quality and perfect tuned recordings, can choose digital keyboard recordings. The other might prefer real piano recordings.

The discussion started off from that there exist wav-editing audio tools with the possibility to very simple raise the tempo (much more advanced tools than in the example in the Audition Room). That makes the discussion regarding marking recordings made by digital keyboards more or less obsolete.

Also, we have 1041 recordings on the site and have no possibility to know if the recording was made on a digital or acoustic piano, nor do I feel a need to put the power in to implement this as 1) We need to contact all 78 pianists (many of who we no longer have valid contact information to) 2) It is hell of a job which I prefer spend on other technical issues (we are about to move to a more reliable server, but I hope you never even notice the change but from future lack of down times) and in reality, not possible .

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:47 pm 
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For sure, postprocessing and trying to cut out a slip is a hell of a tedious donkeywork, especially on a slow PC like mine. With my latest bunch of recordings I spent far more time on that than on the actual recording. Indeed I would just as soonl avoid that, cut down on the slips best as can and learn to live with the remaining mistakes. Just create a batch job for the amplify and reverb and be done with it.

No point in trying to determine the status of existing recordings, I think so too. What we could do for new submissions is ask the pianist to provide any details they might want to share on their level of editing. Or would that be a bad idea and create a wrong atmosphere ? I guess this will always be a difficult subject (except for amateurs like us who have nothing to lose or gain :wink: )

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:55 pm 
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techneut wrote:
For sure, postprocessing and trying to cut out a slip is a hell of a tedious donkeywork, especially on a slow PC like mine. With my latest bunch of recordings I spent far more time on that than on the actual recording. Indeed I would just as soonl avoid that, cut down on the slips best as can and learn to live with the remaining mistakes. Just create a batch job for the amplify and reverb and be done with it.

No point in trying to determine the status of existing recordings, I think so too. What we could do for new submissions is ask the pianist to provide any details they might want to share on their level of editing. Or would that be a bad idea and create a wrong atmosphere ? I guess this will always be a difficult subject (except for amateurs like us who have nothing to lose or gain :wink: )


I fully support your idea and it would be compulsory.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:02 am 
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For the record, any recordings submitted by me will not be edited in any way. Editing is overrated. It's like getting a bunch of cheat codes to fly through a new video game without daring to take any risks. That's boring, IMO. Mistakes can be exhilarating. I performed Chopin's etudes 10/1, 10/5 and 10/7 last week during recital hour. I went a little crazy with the tempo. The audience had a really strong reaction (positive) in spite of my note errors. A slow, sanitized performance would have been more comfortable, and as plain as unsalted oatmeal.

Pete


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:43 am 
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PJF wrote:
and as plain as unsalted oatmeal.

Pete


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 2:57 am 
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Robert, what about Pollini's Etudes? Don't tell me they're edited. My head's gonna explode if I find out the 10/1 is edited. I spent four years making my performance as clear and powerful as his.

say it isn't so

PJF


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:15 am 
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PJF wrote:
Robert, what about Pollini's Etudes? Don't tell me they're edited. My head's gonna explode if I find out the 10/1 is edited. I spent four years making my performance as clear and powerful as his.

say it isn't so

PJF

Well, I am not sure my answer would be the best for your health but lets put it like this.
At the age of 14 (I think he was 14...my memory can be a year wrong or so), Mr. Pollini became famous when he performed the entire cycle of Chopin etudes of op.10 and op.25 in a competition so there exist NOT DOUBT that he could play them. I mean REALLY play them all. I have found no Internet references of that he made a bar-by-bar recording of the Chopin etudes but was told so by Koji Attwood who is one of the founder of Whitekeys.com and previously a member of this site. Koji mostly responds to kind and friendly put emails so please go ahead and ask him what his references are.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:00 am 
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Quote:
For the record, any recordings submitted by me will not be edited in any way. Editing is overrated. It's like getting a bunch of cheat codes to fly through a new video game without daring to take any risks. That's boring, IMO. Mistakes can be exhilarating. I performed Chopin's etudes 10/1, 10/5 and 10/7 last week during recital hour. I went a little crazy with the tempo. The audience had a really strong reaction (positive) in spite of my note errors. A slow, sanitized performance would have been more comfortable, and as plain as unsalted oatmeal.

Yes, got your point and agree with it. I only use editing to correct a real horrible error (if it is possible, many times it isn't), which I assume you do not make anymore. A tiny slip in the fray of a difficult passage is not worth the trouble and indeed adds to the human experience.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:08 am 
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Quote:
At the age of 14 (I think he was 14...my memory can be a year wrong or so), Mr. Pollini became famous when he performed the entire cycle of Chopin etudes of op.10 and op.25 in a competition so there exist NOT DOUBT that he could play them. I mean REALLY play them all. I have found no Internet references of that he made a bar-by-bar recording of the Chopin etudes but was told so by Koji Attwood who is one of the founder of Whitekeys.com and previously a member of this site. Koji mostly responds to kind and friendly put emails so please go ahead and ask him what his references are.


Robert, you know that the question about the bar-by-bar recording rumor by Pollini did arise already here in the forum, also in the same context of cheating. At that time I sent a pmail to Koji Attwood and asked him - kind and friendly - about the background he knows about this Pollini recording. The pmail left the outbox, so Koji must have read it. He never answered!
So for me it remains a rumor that Pollini did a bar-by-bar recording on the Chopin Etudes until it is really proofed. It can be dangerous to spread such rumors, by the way. That takes from professionals are cutted together is one thing, and seems to be in common use. But bar-by-bar recording is a big claim!

Regarding the Chopin Etude discussion on digital keyboards I sent a pmail to you.

Quote:
When it comes to the other recordings, I know for certain that Grant's is a midi rendation. All his recordings in the site are.


His Chopin ballade recording is a midi rendation too??? :shock:
That MUST be noted, otherwise it is really cheating!!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:53 am 
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MindenBlues wrote:
Quote:
At the age of 14 (I think he was 14...my memory can be a year wrong or so), Mr. Pollini became famous when he performed the entire cycle of Chopin etudes of op.10 and op.25 in a competition so there exist NOT DOUBT that he could play them. I mean REALLY play them all. I have found no Internet references of that he made a bar-by-bar recording of the Chopin etudes but was told so by Koji Attwood who is one of the founder of Whitekeys.com and previously a member of this site. Koji mostly responds to kind and friendly put emails so please go ahead and ask him what his references are.


Robert, you know that the question about the bar-by-bar recording rumor by Pollini did arise already here in the forum, also in the same context of cheating. At that time I sent a pmail to Koji Attwood and asked him - kind and friendly - about the background he knows about this Pollini recording. The pmail left the outbox, so Koji must have read it. He never answered!
So for me it remains a rumor that Pollini did a bar-by-bar recording on the Chopin Etudes until it is really proofed. It can be dangerous to spread such rumors, by the way. That takes from professionals are cutted together is one thing, and seems to be in common use. But bar-by-bar recording is a big claim!

It is a pity we do not have this discussion left as Internetnu.net chopped us off. I am 100% certain that Koji did reply me this in public and that someone else backed him up.

I wrote that I was extremely impressed be Pollini's extreme fast 2 octave jumps in the 10/12 which in timing took about 0.08 seconds or so. Koji replied that you can afford to take chances in the studio when making bar-by-bar recordings and so the discussion was took off.
Just some weeks earlier, I had a discussions with a local piano dealer in Gothenburg who told me the story that Pollini did the etudes recordings without re-takes. Quite the opposite so to speak. This is nothing but rumours and it would be very good if Koji replied you. If he is not sure what he got this from, perhaps I should cut that away from the entire discussion to stop this rumour?

MindenBlues wrote:


Regarding the Chopin Etude discussion on digital keyboards I sent a pmail to you.

Quote:
When it comes to the other recordings, I know for certain that Grant's is a midi rendation. All his recordings in the site are.


His Chopin ballade recording is a midi rendation too??? :shock:
That MUST be noted, otherwise it is really cheating!!!!

And I have replied you the missing pieces about the Chopin etude puzzle. A bit too confusing matter to be posted in this topic ;).

Grant first uploaded the WTC I and then wrote a biography and text about his recording was created. Afterwards he gradually uploaded a couple of new pieces and we never changed the biography. I'll send John a note about this.

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About Grant's Ballade 3, you may remember Robert, that I wondered whether it was digital too, as it seems to be so totally perfect, I mean Joe-like perfect. If I remember correctly you were quite positive that this was a 'real' recording. And now you suggest that it is a midi too. I would like to know the truth about it - are you going to ask him about that ?

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Grant first uploaded the WTC I and then wrote a biography and text about his recording was created. Afterwards he gradually uploaded a couple of new pieces and we never changed the biography. I'll send John a note about this.


Thank you for that! One can have different opions on Grant's recordings, can call them perfect, but beside how they were produced, all things sound to me kind of cold and sterile, even his Chopin 3rd Ballade recording. Only personal opinion.

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techneut wrote:
About Grant's Ballade 3, you may remember Robert, that I wondered whether it was digital too, as it seems to be so totally perfect, I mean Joe-like perfect. If I remember correctly you were quite positive that this was a 'real' recording. And now you suggest that it is a midi too. I would like to know the truth about it - are you going to ask him about that ?

Joe-like perfect. :twisted:

Sorry Chris for my confusing replies. First I thought it was "real" (Joffrey had most of the contact with Grant and it was Jof who sent Grant an encouraging email that we would like to have his recording on the site, John did not himself actively seek to be up here) but remember asking him a bit later in another matter and believe I got the reply that is was a midi rendation as well as all of the uploaded recordings. But now I get a bit confused myself. Can the memory become weak in the age of 35 already?! ;)

I will send him a little email about this unless he reads and replies himself.

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Joe-like perfect. :twisted:



i wish you were talking about me...lol[/quote]


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Joe-like perfect. :twisted:

Hehe yes, sorry, could not resist that one. One backstabbing little sod, am I :lol:

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techneut wrote:
Quote:
Joe-like perfect. :twisted:

Hehe yes, sorry, could not resist that one. One backstabbing little sod, am I :lol:


I believe that there is a saying, "You know you have a true friend when he stabs you in the front" :P


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I believe that there is a saying, "You know you have a true friend when he stabs you in the front" :P

"Amigo, I kill for money. But you are my Friend, I kill you for nothing" :twisted:

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I can usually detect edits right away. (There's an edit near the end of one of Pollini's Chopin Scherzos, 3 or 4.) His etudes sound unedited. Having seen Pollini play, I don't believe his recording needed any edits. The man is bionic. There are note errors to be found in his etudes, not many, but they're there.

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I think you have to bear in mind that most recording artists also perform regularly, so even if they release edited recordings, you know that they can perform most of the pieces they record. The concert hall and a CD are two completely different mediums — when you attend a live concert, you have a different set of expectations than when you listen to a recording. A live performance is what it is — but when you record a piece, especially if it's for commercial distribution, you want the recording to represent the best of your playing abilities, and your idealized interpretation at the time. So I see nothing wrong about splicing together sections from different takes if that creates the version you envision in your mind.

If you consider splicing to be cheating, how about recording different movements of a piece separately? In fact, what about taking breaks between recording different pieces in an album, or *gasp* recording different pieces on different days and putting them on the same album? Does that show that you don't have the mental or physical stamina to play a whole hour of music?

We have to draw a line somewhere, and I think that most musicians would consider splicing between takes a completely acceptable — and common — thing to do. More extreme "techniques" like recording a piece measure by measure, or even recording a piece at a slower tempo and digitally speeding it up, would definitely be treading on very dangerous ground, and requires some justification or at least mention of it in the documentation accompanying the distribution of the recording (liner notes, website, etc.).

I do think that live recordings advertised as such, however, should not be edited (and by editing I do not include things like noise removal or trimming of applause or anything else that doesn't affect the performance itself), though I know they often are.

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You have many valid points in what you say. Concert and CD:s are different things and one should have different expectations on them. Where the line is drawn is individually and I hope you all understand the problematic situation Chris and me sometimes have.

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Wui-Ming, you pretty much sum up our thoughts on the subject. It is clear there is a line, as you can clearly see on both sides of it, but where exactly that line is can be impossible to say.

Perhaps we should reserve the term "editing" for splicing and cutting out warts, as long as it does not change or add to what was already there. Things like noise filtering and reverberation could be called "postprocessing". That leaves the term "cheating" for the real bad stuff like changing notes, dynamics, or tempi. Even then there will be a gray area - like when does splicing degenerate into bar-by-bar recording ?

BTW - With a live recording, we never cut out the applause at the end (unless the pianist wants that). It's what you have worked hard for. Applause or talks at the beginning we do cut out, unless the pianist has a good reason to want hem there.

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"It's a fine, fine line. . . ."
— Avenue Q

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Excuse this very much ex post facto contribution. I only just discovered this discussion.

As I am, or appear to be, at the root of this embroglio: let me respond by saying the following:

1. Common usage of the word "piano" is changing (for better or worse). Nowadays, many people are happy to refer to various kinds of electronic keyboards as "pianos." What's more, when the average listener downloads, he or she is quite liberal about content. As long as the general quality of the music meets a certain standard, the listener doesn't ask, "Was that a REAL piano?" or "Was that a REAL pianist?" The only question is, "Do I like it?"

2. Sampled pianos. which is what I use, ARE real pianos, but real pianos every note of which has been recorded PRIOR to the instrument being played. Once you allow that piano music is just as valid when "recorded," as when heard "live," then you cannot consistently deny the equal validity of sampled piano music. This is because the only difference in principle is AT WHAT POINT the recording process took place. Steinway has recognized this and has recently authorized an official sampled version of its Steinway "D".

3. The real issue, then, comes down to how the music is "played." Is it midi or sequenced, or is it played by a real pianist? Again, I don't think the average listener cares. (I would even go so far as to say that even professional pianists and musicians don't care, in the end.) But, quite rightly, the objection at Piano Society is that at this site we are making music IN A CERTAIN WAY, that is, BY CERTAIN MEANS. That is what the phrase "Piano Society" implies. The public might be happy to hear sequenced or electronic piano music; but what the public thinks is secondary. Again, advocates of this perspective are not saying that midi, electronic, or sequenced piano music is "wrong." The concern is just that it belongs somewhere else.

4. Issue #3 above leads of course to the question, Where to draw the line? Unfortunately, there is no practical answer: modern technology has made it very difficult if not impossible to draw it. This is because the modern "player" piano has completely erased the distinction between "sequenced" and "real" piano-playing. It is now possible to have any real piano play a completely "sequenced" (which really means "super-edited") piece. If you were to sit in front of the instrument blindfolded, there is absolutely no way the trained ear could tell whether or not there was a pianist sitting at the keyboard. The only possible audible difference might be in the nature of the playing: the sequenced playing might sound "mechanical" or "metronomic." Then, again, it might not: because some sequencers are very clever....

So from a practical standpoint, all you can do at Piano Society is ask the pianist, "Did you play the music?" Then, having asked the question, you have to trust that the pianist has answered truthfully.

In short, whether or not a pianist chooses to say how his or her music was made is entirely a matter of trust. You will be unable to tell merely by listening.

For these practical reasons, then, at Piano Society the bias is towards, I think, allowing any piano music that is convincingly real. Editing, even super editing or sequencing is allowed. But there is still a premium on playing with your hands, because another requirement is that the pianist say HOW he or she made the music.

Again, all of this rests on trust, because there is no way to tell whether the music was "real" or "sequenced" or whether it was created by one of the gradations in between... some editing, moderate editing, or editing every bar!

JG


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:39 pm 
Highly interesting post IMHO, very precise and focused on the problem.

> The only question is, "Do I like it?"

And also here I agree. The problem (not claimed here) could born if we consider not an audio recording but a video/audio recording. In this last case the variables change, and probably
the image of a sequencer or of a piano self-playing could not be the best.
The human gesture and the body language of the player could be necessary (hmmm...let's tell
"useful", and not necessary....in my modest experience of my own video productions I use not only editing skills, but I begin to consider also other images than the pianist who plays the music heard)
In audio domain you have all reasons



> because there is no way to tell whether the music was "real" or "sequenced" or whether it was created by one of the gradations in between... some editing, moderate editing, or editing every bar!

Yes, this is only the truth.
If one doesn't like this..... there are the concerts, the old recordings (maybe), the videos (maybe).
And.....if music is NOT a thing to be heard, but to hear-AND-see?
And if all the only-audio world a good business for industry but not for music?
I'm escaping from the thread question, I apologize....
All best and sincere congratulations for your recordings, that demonstrate a more human
and pleasurable use of technology than certain industry CD of pianists that play (maybe) the piece
from the beginning to the end,
Sandro


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Here's an interesting irony. I put up a recording at Cnet that I made at the keyboard last year of the C major prelude, WTC 2. There is no editing. Many takes. But no editing. Frankly, I do not like it, which is why it is not here at Piano Society. I do not like it for conceptual reasons. It is not the interpretation that I have in my head of this prelude. My fingers are not doing what my head wants. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy playing that prelude. But the enjoyment that one gets from playing a piece reasonably well at the piano is not the same as the enjoyment one gets from listening afterwards to what one has done. You always find things you can improve. And personally, I am never satisfied.

That is the beginning of the journey of editing, which can get quite tangled. You can wreck a piece by editing it. In the world of sequencing--which permits infinitesimal changes to the music--it is very easy to wreck a piece. Yet, I find that my sometimes heavily edited versions of the p and f from Book 1 are still enjoyable to me. There are, of course, many passages that I would now change. Some of these changes seem to me a matter of taste; other changes seem, relatively speaking, an objective necessity!

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Quote:
I do not like it for conceptual reasons. It is not the interpretation that I have in my head of this prelude. My fingers are not doing what my head wants.


To me, that is what making music at the piano is all about. Most of the time my fingers don't do what my head wants, either. But in the rare times when things did go right, I am filled with a great sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and joy.

IMHO, when you take one of your recordings and 'fix it up' you cannot get that same feeling because it is as if you have cheated. Sorry - I don't mean to make anyone mad, but I am totally against editing, except for cutting and pasting in sections when you have recorded them many times and you are taking the best one. Maybe that's a little cheating too, but I do that.

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Personally, I can't stand when somebody edits their works at all.

I can safetly say that I have yet to ever edit anything in any regards... I've never cut and pasted, modified tempo, dynamics, sound effects, etc.

I suppose that's pretty much the only thing I'm strict about when it comes to my piano playing. I might not regulate my playing as much as somebody else would, but I do regulate my recordings. I figure, if somebody wants to hear real emotion, you can't expect it from a machine. Even if the machine is guided by human hand. I would say that you need the real, true expression.

I'm willing to bet I could record a lot more if I just made even "minor" edits. For example, I had to play through that silly little Satie piece that I recorded the other day something like 30 times to get it right. And I'm still not entirely happy with it... but I could have had a recording done within, let's say, 5 takes, if I had done some minor edits, copy and pasting sections together, or something like that. Most of the time, I'll play one section nicely... and then screw up the next. And the next time I play, I screw up the first, but play the second section nicely. It's just a matter of playing it enough times to finally get it right.

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Quote:
To me, that is what making music at the piano is all about. Most of the time my fingers don't do what my head wants, either. But in the rare times when things did go right, I am filled with a great sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and joy.

IMHO, when you take one of your recordings and 'fix it up' you cannot get that same feeling because it is as if you have cheated. Sorry - I don't mean to make anyone mad, but I am totally against editing, except for cutting and pasting in sections when you have recorded them many times and you are taking the best one. Maybe that's a little cheating too, but I do that.


Everyone is different, I suppose. I love playing, even when I get things "wrong." But "wrong" is a funny word. My experience is that "wrong" one day often seems "right" the next. I'm talking about emotionally or interpretively wrong, of course. That is one small part of the reason why music is (for me) endlessly fascinating. But writing, or composing, or painting is no different: we see things differently, hour to hour, day to day, month to month. We change perceptually and emotionally. Perhaps that change implies a refinement of the mind and the senses. Or perhaps it is just seeing things from a different perspective or point of view. I'm not sure.

I do not entirely understand what you mean when you say: "I am totally against editing, except for cutting and pasting in sections when you have recorded them many times and you are taking the best one. Maybe that's a little cheating too, but I do that."

Here we have the dilemma, nicely summarized in a previous post, of where to draw the line. Personally, I am not troubled by recordings (such as Pollini's Chopin referred to above) that are heavily or completely edited. It is, I think, an entirely subjective matter. I understand that many people, on discovering that a much-loved recording has been edited even "a little", can no longer listen to it. For others, "a little" is OK; but finding that something has been edited "a lot" brings them past their own personal threshold. There are, of course, total purists--like my parents--who really can't listen to anything outside the concert hall. The mere act of recording, placing microphones in particularly advantageous positions, or the electronic transfer of sound waves to the medium of the loudspeaker, seems to wreck the experience for them.

There is nothing right or wrong with these perceptions or predilections. Music is art; and all of it is subject to personal taste, unless you are living in a totalitarian society, in which case all bets are off.

I recall, as a child, listening to a very early recording by Rubinstein and Dimitris Mitropoulos (conducting) of Tchaikovsky's PC 1 and marveling at Rubinstein's technique, and also of the incredible beauty of Rubinstein's interpretation of this piece (which has never been equaled in my view, ancient though the recording may be.) My young mind was filled with images of playing this concerto in front of a huge audience, and impressing all of them with my fantastic fingers. I sometimes think this is what we pine for in performance. Bach's solo keyboard music, however, does not readily lend itself (for me anyway) to that kind of emotion or desire to be heard. And when we listen to Gould's recording of, say, the Inventions, we--or I at least--cannot imagine it played in a hall in front of an audience. There is, in fact, very little ambiance in that recording.

Modern recordings of solo Bach keyboard music are leaning back to the "ambient" side, which I am fond of. But now the image in my head is of someone playing the music in a nearly empty church cathedral. Perhaps only one person is listening, or overhearing a performance--or perhaps better an interpretation--which interpretation is entirely a personal expression, not really intended for anyone but the performer himself or herself.

In my mind, there are no limits, really, or no hard and fast "rules," that define what I like and what I don't. In fact, my likes and dislikes change from day to day, and I don't think there are any strictures that would restrict what I can listen to.

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Quote:
Personally, I can't stand when somebody edits their works at all.


Wouldn't this rule out almost all recorded music?

Everyone's threshold is different. But if indeed any editing wrecks the music for you, I take it that you only enjoy "live" recordings, which are few and far between. But are you sure that you can listen to a recording and TELL whether it has been edited or not?

I think this is the dilemma for what might be called the "purist" line: for it to be defensible in a practical sense, you have to be able to demonstrate that you can listen to two recordings of the same piece, one edited, the other "not edited at all," and tell the difference.

Either that, or you are committing yourself to determining the authenticity of every recording before listening to it, for fear of discovering after the fact that it might be edited and thus having the experience ruined for you.

Whatever the case, everyone's threshold different, and it is also entirely personal and subjective. There is no "right" or "wrong," in these matters, merely personal "likes" and a "dislikes."


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I just try and hope that most works are unedited.
And then if I find later on that they are, I begin to lose respect for them. Especially if it's not specifically advertised as edited.

While I may not like doing things like copy+paste or dynamic control, if other people do that, I'm okay with it because it's so minor. However, massive measure-by-measure editing isn't something that I can feel quite so good about.

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demonic_advent wrote:
I just try and hope that most works are unedited.
And then if I find later on that they are, I begin to lose respect for them. Especially if it's not specifically advertised as edited.


As many people wonder how I produce so many recordings, I thought I'd explain again my position on editing.

Many of my recordings (though not all) have one or two cuts in them where something went wrong and I had to restart. I don't feel bad about that as I simply do not have the time to make 30 takes (and also doubt that would help improve the freshness of the interpretation). Of my 17 tracks of yesterday, I think 6 or 7 are completely naturel. The rest had one or two cuts, and I think there was one that had 3. Not bad compared to some recordings of the past, that were either full of mistakes or full of cuts. Probably not bad compared to many professional recordings either. I don't think this compromises the artisticy and authenticity of the recordings in any way. Obviously the goal is to avoid edits altogether. Careful preparation will go a long way towards this and that is a improvement from the past where I sometimes slapped things on record on a whim.

The more gory details...
Occasionally, I cut out a hesitation (doesn't happen often as I rarely hesitate) and *very* occasionally I cut the volume level of a closing chord *gasp*. My grand's heavy action makes it almost impossible to go from piano to pianissimo and below, otherwise I would not have to do this. In one or two cases, I have combined multiple takes, and a couple of recordings that I am not particularly proud of (like some of the Dvorak Watzes) have many more than the average number of cuts making them a bit of a patchwork. That is as far as I go.

Oh yeah, and I apply 'Concert Hall Light' reverb to all my recordings.

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Quote:
I don't think this compromises the artisticy and authenticity of the recordings in any way.


But when push comes to shove, everyone has his or her own personal "artistry and authenticity" threshold.

There is no objective or independent criteria that sets a point at which editing defeats "artistry and authenticity".

It is entirely a matter of personal judgment, as is any artistic or aesthetic judgment.

Any other perspective smacks of elitism and, at its worst, the kind of state control of "what counts as art" that typifies the worst regimes of this and the last century.

An entirely separate matter is what Piano Society wants to make its mission or purpose. The members of the site have a perfect right to stipulate what kind of material they want to put up, how much editing they are prepared to allow, and whether or not a real instrument recorded by microphones is all that should be permitted. Clever sequencers or anyone else will, as I have said, have no difficulty ignoring such rules, and even those who abide by them in spirit will be tempted to go beyond what is allowed, because there is absolutely no way of policing the rules.

That is the practical problem.

The intellectual or aesthetic problem is that some of the material that is ruled out by theoretically strict (or at least stricter) rules about editing may be of very high artistic value. Not, perhaps, to those (like my parents, for example) for whom only the concert hall is the only really authentic musical experience, but to those who, once they have discovered how much a recording may have been edited, lose interest in it.

But, again, this sort of aesthetic issue boils down to personal preference, at least in my view. I do not think the alternative view, that authenticity and artistry can be objectively measured, is politically or aesthetically defensible--and it has very few if any adherents in the history of aesthetics and philosophy.

JG


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I can't argue with anything you write John, nor do I feel the need to even try. Believe me we are well aware of this problem in PS. It is a continous pain in the bottom especially because, as you say, people will try to push any boundary that we try to set, and try to bend every rule that we try to impose. It's like nailing jelly to the wall.

Indeed it comes down to personal judgement in the end, and that is not a task I personally relish. I'd rather not have to pass judgement about things that are subjective and can not be checked. But there needs to be some semblance of reality check here, otherwise we may as well open up the site for each and any digital p*ss artist. If we had unlimited resources, like YouTube, and if we abandoned the idea of site administration, that could be an option. It would be the end of PS as we know it, though.

Not sure all this makes sense... It's more a gut reaction than enything else. This discussion keeps popping up and I am quite tired of it. Especially as it's never going anywhere useful. I'd much prefer to talk about music than about all the technical tricks people can do with it.

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Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:18 am
Posts: 97
Location: Toronto
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This discussion keeps popping up and I am quite tired of it. Especially as it's never going anywhere useful. I'd much prefer to talk about music than about all the technical tricks people can do with it.


I have to admit that I haven't, myself, tired of the subject of "editing" or "technical tricks," I suppose, at least not yet. And I find it very useful and interesting to know where the pulse is on this subject. I guess you've written or thought about it a lot. I haven't lately. The last time I remember posting on this subject was years ago. Maybe I've missed something in the mean time?

"Technical tricks" ARE of course boring; at least they CAN be. But it isn't always easy to separate a technical trick from the music it enables. Hence some tricks, while not interesting or relevant to some, can be tremendously interesting and relevant to others.

The entire landscape of music is changing dramatically with technology .... for better or for worse. I find it difficult to separate the two.

Of course, it may well be a subject boring to some: the relationship between music and technology. But it is very, very hard these days to talk about one without talking (or just thinking) about the other!

JG


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