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Is this possible?

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Since some members really only visit the audition room, I am putting this thread here. I’ll delete it as soon as it has been exhausted.

    I was just on imslp looking for a certain Rachmaninoff piece and stumbled upon a Romance he wrote for piano, six-hands. And I got to wondering….

    Do you think it is possible for three of us here to each play one of the parts, and then with an editing program someone in the group could put the three parts together? The piece I saw looks very easy and maybe if the three players used a metronome while they play their part, and their pianos were well enough in tune, then it could work, right? Wrong?

    Here is the link to that Rach piece:

    http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/f ... 3-pnos.pdf

    Or perhaps you know of a better piece to do something like this – maybe even a four, five, or six pianos piece. I think it would be kind of neat to have a few players from different places on the globe join together like this. It would certainly be unique to Piano Society.

    Anyone interested in trying something like this out, or this a dumb idea?
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    It would not work because the accustics of the room will differ greatly. I could pick up a part, you the second, and find the third and we could all triangulate our locations to meet in the center and record on the nearest piano. (Of course I call dibs on the "easiest" voice). :lol:
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I dunno, J - I didn't think of that. But I think the acoustics would not matter much because we can add reverb and stuff like that. Plus, and this is probably just me, but I think it would be interesting to hear the parts when they are put together and see if acoustics are a major factor or not.
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    Hmmm... I've played a lot of Rachmaninoff, so could participate. The thing is, though, that ideally, of course, if the three pianos and pianists were actually together, it would be a true ensemble where there could be visual contact among the collaborators to cue certain things. I think that metronome practice is one thing, but then the rendition might sound too metronomic. And, don't forget that not all brands of metronomes are calibrated exactly the same, especially if someone might be using an older wind-up pyramid metronome, someone else an older electric model, and the third person a digital metronome--which could easily happen. Once the metronomes are turned off and the three recordings are made, all bets would be off! I would not be at all surprised if in the end, even the downbeats seemed out of phase, for example. Plus I think R's intent with the andante sostenuto marking is not just to hold notes for full duration, but depending on the nature of the piece, he might be speaking too to the lyrical, legato sound required throughout, which is bound to lead to some rubato here and there by the participants. Again, without visual cues in such late romantic music, the three parts could diverge somewhat and quite quickly. I know I must sound like a pessimist or naysayer, but I think this would be quite difficult to pull off with three long-distance pianists. Remember that piece where Chris played two parts separately, then attempted to synchronize the two recordings into one? He couldn't do it exactly, and that was just one pianist doing it all, not three. Just my opinion, Monica. But I like your sense of adventure though! :)

    David
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It's a nice idea but hardly possible to realize. For one thing, the pianos must be perfectly and exactly equally tuned, or cacaphony would result. Acoustics would maybe not be a problem if the masters were not postprocessed. Timing would be a problem - I recently tried dubbing myself and could not even get that done convincingly. Even though I had one part on headphones while playing another. Hard enough as it is to stay in sync with someone (even yourself), it seems that somehow my recording/mixing process causes phase shifts.
    I doubt that this could be pulled off and even if it could, that it would have more than curiosity value.
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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  7. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    These are all reasonable objections. Most of them can be overcome, I think, in a way or the other, but the main issue is, as Chris said, that all the three pianos must be tuned exactly the same, or at least freshly tuned (in a standard way). This is a starting point, a sine-qua-non condition, of course. Coming to the other big remark (synchronization) I believe that it is not a true obstacle to an acceptable outcome. After all Monica's idea is for fun and she's not aiming at a commercial recording, is she. So, I've looked at the score (let's use the one I've attached here, because it has bar numbers) and there's no need to use a metronome. The third pianist (bass register) leads till bar 32, then the first pianist leads till bar 53, then it gets a bit tricky because it's the pianist with the small value notes who should always lead. By "leading" I mean that a pianist decides about dynamic and agogic. Agogic is especially important because cannot be adjusted during the postprocessing, whereas dynamic can be adjusted. So, this piece can be divided into three sections and should be recorded accordingly. Here are the steps the 3 pianists would follow:

    • 1. The 3 pianists agree on a base tempo (for instance, 80 bpm the quarter note) ;
      2. Pianist C (bass) records the first section (bars 1-32);
      3. Pianist A (high) puts on the headphones with (2.), records the first section and goes on with the second section (bars 33-53);
      4. Pianist C puts on the headphones with A's second section and records his/her part to the end;
      5. Pianist A puts on the headphones with C's final bars and records from bar 54 to the end;
      6. A working file is made by merging the two tracks;
      7. Pianist B comes to action, puts on the headphones with (6.) and records his/her part from start to end;
      8. A second master is made with the three separate tracks, and then it is postprocessed adjusting the volume levels and all the other audio parameters as needed, therefore mixed down and compressed in one nice mp3 to be graciously uploaded on this wonderful site.

    I like your project Monica and feel optimistic about it. If there is an open position for pianist B (and using a digital piano is not an issue for you), I would like to apply.

    Monica, as a word of warning I leave you with a neat Gould anecdote. In 1976, Karajan was conducting in NY and Gould The Secluded wrote out an elaborate scenario for a distance collaboration on the Bach D minor concerto and the Beethoven second (soloist and orchestra would record their parts separately). This collaboration cleary established Gould as the director and Karajan as his deputy. After a number of steps the scenario ended as follows:

     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I get my piano tuned every three months, so tuning is not a problem with me. Not a problem with you either, Alfonso - you are fortunate with that! So let's assume that tuning is not a big issue, since we all generally keep our pianos in tune. But another thing - even if the three pianos are way-different in sound, (not tuning - but the kind of sound from the different pianos involved) I think that would make an even more interesting experiment. Depending on which three participants/pianos we use here, we can select the piano for one of the three parts that would enhance the overall sound of the piece, sort of like setting up the orchestra. And maybe if it's not 'goddamn awful' we can even put it up on the site.

    As far as processing/editing the files, I don't mind doing that or if someone else wants to do it that's fine with me too.

    So, we have myself and Alfonso lined up. Who will be our third player?
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    My piano is now tuned sharp to concert pitch (above A440) to counteract winter conditions, causing pianos to go flat in this climate. Also, if I had to listen through earphones to synchonize, my PC is far removed in a different room away from the living room where the piano resides. So the logistics at this end would not meet the requirements. Sounds like Monica and Alfonso could try it, but still need a third pianist who can easily meet the requirements.

    David
     
  10. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Monica and Alfonso,
    o.k., let´s try it. I will do the sound-editing with Wave Lab 6.0. I can dub the recording of you, Monica, to my Zoom H4 and use it as mp3-player (or wav-player), when I´m recording the third piano. May I take piano 3? I think, this will be a funny experiment. Why not being commercial and - if the result becomes good - sell it and take the money as a donation for our nice site here?
    I think, the recording-steps Alfonso suggested, are very reasonable.
     
  11. s_winitsky

    s_winitsky Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Well if you guys figure out the details it would certainly seem to open up a whole new opportunity to collaborate online via the pianosociety.

    I am guessing it must be possible only becaue I thought commercial recordings do this all the time (maybee not with classical music but with popular music.)? If I remember correctly this music was meant to be played on 1 piano with 6 hands as opposed to 3 separate pianos (not that it matters)?

     
  12. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    s_winitsky wrote:
    It´s for one piano and six hands, but it would be possible to play it also on three pianos, of course. I think, there exsists also a Valse for six hands of Rachmaninof.
    I found a recording (it´s from youtube) with Martha Argerich:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqXkCb7gCXE
    and
    http://www.pianoblog.com/piano_blog/200 ... ff-fo.html

    I think, crotchet=80 is a bit too fast, what do you think, Monica and Alfonso?
     
  13. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    You mean by "piano 3" what I called Pianist B, do you? No problem, I can play whatever part you and Monica wish, they are equally easy. I chose Pianist B (the one playing in the middle register, or second part to be precise) because the ugly sound of my digital piano would be better concealed by the bass and the treble sound of acoustic instruments.

    Regarding the tempo, 80 the quarter note was just for illustration. What do you think a good tempo should be?
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yay, I'm so excited! I think this will be very cool if it works out. And if it doesn't, then who cares... At least it was interesting to try. I still think it can work, though. A duet would obviously be easier. Maybe the next time...

    So, I don't care what part I play, either. Alfonso, are you saying that you will play the middle part, what the music calls piano II? Guess that leaves the upper part (piano I) for me, which is fine. Or do I have that turned around?

    Tuning - Alfonso - this may a stupid question, but is your piano a perfect 440? I think once I get my part down, I'll then call my piano tuner. As soon as he gets the job done and walks out the door, I will right away sit down and record. Andreas tunes his piano himself so he can do it anytime.

    Tempo - what Argerich and her group did sounded nice. I don't have my metronome handy, so can one of you figure that out?

    As far as the order of recording goes - piano III records first right (Andreas)? Then what? I'll have to go back and read Alfonso's directions, but I have to get back to work now so I'll do it later.
     
  15. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Monica and Alfonso,
    I´m also a bit excited and I´m looking forward very much to work together with you both.
    Alf wrote:
    No, I meant the undermost/deepest piano (what you called pianist C), which has a "III" in the score, the third part, which is notated with two bass-keys at the beginning. This was, what I would like to play, because may be my Grotrian has a nice bass, I thought, and it will give a good foundation. But I´m open like you also for any other part. So, I suggest: Monica takes part I (Primo), you take part II (Secondo) and I take the undermost part III (Terzio? right expression?)

    Alf wrote:
    I figured out the tempo of Argerichs recording. It is between crotchet=66 and 72, their tempo isn´t constant. So, I suggest crotchet= 69 as a "middle-value" or "base-value". I think, we don´t want to play like a metronom, but playing musically with some agogic, may be little rubati and so on.
    I think, if we try to feel in each other, it will work.

    Pianolady wrote:
    If we try to feel in each other, it will work and if not, who cares, I agree. An interesting experiment it is and if it works, we could also try piano duets or works for two, three or more pianos... (f.ex. Beethoven-symphonies???!!! This will be very difficult, I suppose.) :)

    Pianolady wrote:
    My piano is on 440 Hz. I will test the tuning with my tuning-advice and evtl. retune it. But in this moment, the tuning of my piano is still o.k., I think.

    Pianolady wrote:
    In the first step I will record bar 1-32, then I will load up the mp3-file for you, then you will record bar 1-32 while listening with headphones to my recording. Then you load up your result (only part I, bar 1-53) I still have to look, how I can mix the files in Wave Lab, I have never done such things before. Or may be I will use a sequencer to mix the files and then edit the result in Wave Lab?!
    When I will have mixed my and your first recording, I will record my part up to the end (while listening to the first "mix") and mix it again into one file. Then I will upload this result and you continue with step 5, Alfonso described. Then you upload your result and I will mix it again together. Now we have the complete piece of pianist A+C, then it´s Alfonsos turn to record the Secondo-part (pianist B) while listening to us both. Alfonso will upload his mp3-file and finally I will mix all together. Easy, isn´t it? :lol:
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok, I think my piano is good to go right now too. When I hear your piano (Andreas) I'll know if I need to call the tuner. So, are you going to record your part soon, Andreas? There is no rush at all, I'm just curious. There is no time table for this project so we can 'get our act together' (haha) whenever we like, but I'll get working right away if you will be recording soon.

    And I must say I am glad you and Alfonso are doing this with me. It may be my idea, but I had no idea how to get this editing and recording directions figured out. You guys are so smart! :)
     
  17. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yes, Monica, I´m also glad, that you and Alfonso are my partners.
    I have an idea: I found out, that my Zoom H4 is also a 4-track-recorder, it has a multi-track-function. So it should be possible to record the new file while playing back another file. I will try this. I think, if I record with the Zoom H4, the sound-quality of the end-result will not be too different. (I think, Zoom H4 and Edirol sounds quite similar.) So, I don´t use my Neumann-mikes.
    I would like to know the exact position and distance you put your Edirol from your piano, please. I will try to put my Zoom H4 in the same/similar position to my grand-piano.

    I have some other suggestions:
    Please, don´t put any effect (f.ex. reverb or normalization) to your recording. Just let it completely natural. I will do the editing at the end.
    Please, listen to my recordings several times to feel in, before you add your recording. I will do the same with your recordings, of course. :wink:

    My Zoom H4 works in 4-track-modus only with 44100 Khz, 16 bit, so I either have to resample your mp3-file or may be you could record also with 44100, 16 bit and load this up to rapidshare.com.

    Please, give me your distance and postion of Edirol still this afternoon, if possible. May be this evening I will make the first try!
     
  18. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It's Terzo. How dumb of me, of course you meant that.

    OK. Anyway, you start and so you set the tempo.

    Just a caveat, Andreas. We should work with wav files and make the MP3 only at the end of the process. This to avoid bad recompression. You may have to adjust the volume of each track to avoid audio imbalances, but I'm sure you perfectly know what must be done.

    One more thing. Is it OK for you to use the score I posted here, instead of the IMSLP one? So I know which one to print.
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Alfonso - I am using the score you posted. It looks easier to read than the one on ismpl.

    Andreas - I put my Edirol up about 54 feet high off the ground, about 1 foot away from the piano and facing the inside of the piano, and it is about 2 feet in back of the keyboard.

    So - I record in a wav file with 44100 Khz, 16 bit, right?
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Alf wrote:
    Ah, thanks. How dumb of me, that I didn´t know that. :wink:

    Alf wrote:
    hähä, shall I be mean and play as fast as possible?! :wink: :lol:

    Alf wrote:
    That´s right, Alfonso. I will do a level-regulation, so that all our files "are on the same level", of course. And in every case, it´s better to record first in wave-format (44,1Khz, 16 bit), because the end-result will have a higher quality (every compression is a lost of quality and so we only compress the whole thing one times).

    Yes, it´s o.k. I still have printed the score you have uploaded. I will start some tests now and try out the mulit-track-function of my Zoom H4. I found out how to make "Audio-Montages" with Wave Lab. There you can mix (bounce) uncountable tracks together (it´s also possible to mix Video, surround and midi-clips and much more). I made a little experiment: I have mixed to preludes of Bach together to an "audio-collage". I tested how to get the right in-point and how to reduce the time of the other track, so that the two tracks end exactly together. Nice to listen to the result! :lol:

    Pianolady wrote:
    Whew, now I have to convert this into meters. I´m totally not used to meter something in feet. But thank you very much. :D

    Pianolady wrote:
    Yes, please, do so. The files will become quite big (more than 100 MB or so), so I suggest to upload them not here, but on rapidshare come, because I suppose the download will be faster from there. You get a link there, which you would have to send to me, so I can download your recording from there.
     

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