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IS this cheating or not cheating???

Discussion in 'Technique' started by johnmar78, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    :lol:
     
  2. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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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
     
  3. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.
     
  5. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.

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

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    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?

    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.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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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 ?
     
  8. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.
     
  9. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.
     
  10. joeisapiano

    joeisapiano New Member Piano Society Artist

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

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hehe yes, sorry, could not resist that one. One backstabbing little sod, am I :lol:
     
  12. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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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
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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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.

    PJF
     
  15. wmgan

    wmgan New Member Piano Society Artist

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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.
     
  16. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist

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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.
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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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.
     
  18. wmgan

    wmgan New Member Piano Society Artist

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

    johnlewisgrant Member Piano Society Artist

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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
     
  20. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    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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