Thank you to all those who donated in 2015!



DONATION STATUS
Needed before 2016-12-31
$ 2,500
So far donated
$ 595

Period Instruments

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by musical-md, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Physician
    Location:
    Springfield, Missouri, USA
    LOCATION:
    Springfield, Missouri, USA
    Moved this to a new post.

    Regarding the subject however, I would add that this is very much like the appreciation of style in art (all forms) in that it is best appreciated in the context of the period, which means having good knowledge of what came before so as to understand the novelty of the period/artist/style innovation in question. An early pianoforte, or fortepiano if you prefer, is really only inspiring (to me anyway) when compared against the limitations of the harpsichord and clavichord. Being inspired by such early efforts in the evolution of the technology is for most an academic one. Who really wants to use the first hand-pumped vacuum cleaner or drive the first Benz automobile? These are historical curiosites for sure. In a similar way, I would be inspired by a pianoforte or early square piano, as I would only in viewing a museum piece. Do you like the sound of Renaissance instruments such as a rackett, crumhorn or cornamuse? I'll take their modern-day reed progeny any day!

    PS: Thurston Dart did write an excellent little book on the interpretation of music (I think that is the title too).

    Edit: Added PS.
     
  2. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    My opinion is this.

    One should not really make a comparison between an instrument
    and a piece of engineering which improves as knowledge and materials in engineering develop.

    When keyboard-instruments are made professionally to a high standard
    they have their own perfection whatever age they were made in.
    There is no development.

    In fact, if one listens to the tonality of for example a Clementi Square Piano of about 1812
    or a Graff, their tonality has more character than many modern pianos.

    The trumpet is another example.

    The wooden trumpet is not an early trumpet in the development of trumpets,
    it is a perfect instrument in itself and has its own character.

    What I find interesting, is to try and appreciate the tonality of instruments
    used at the time when a composer writes a score.

    If one takes for example Baroque Music one should really try to understand
    the instruments which the composer was writing for
    and which the composer may have used at that time.

    The same thought can be applied to the organ and harpsichord.
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Physician
    Location:
    Springfield, Missouri, USA
    LOCATION:
    Springfield, Missouri, USA
    Do you mean timbre of the instruments?
     
  4. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Please, I don’t want to be "scientific".

    I was once walking through the RCM when they had the early music exhibition
    and I heard a beautiful sound of a guitar wafting through the corridors
    and I just followed the sound to find out what type of guitar this was.

    All I am interested in is the sound of an instrument.

    I always recall the words of a golf-professional who said:
    “Paralysis by Analysis”.

    One does not want to go into detail
    it is purely the sound which is either ugly or beautiful.
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Hi again, Kristinaolga.
    I understand your interest in the 'sound' of period instruments. Although I appreciate the full and rich sound of our present-day pianos, I do think it's very interesting to hear the sound of a piano that, for example, Chopin may have played. One is hearing the sound of that piano (the music) the very same way that Chopin heard it, which I think is very neat!!

    On the other side of the coin - I once heard a man play a concert on a clavichord, and I was astonished at the sound; how quiet that instrument is and couldn't help thinking that composers in that era would be shocked by the loudness of modern-day pianos. I also wonder if 'our' piano will be altered yet again in the future. Will people 150 years from now say that our pianos sound primitive?
     
  6. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, pianolady,
    Interesting thoughts!

    The modern “loud” piano (with the cast-iron-frame) was invented
    so that concert-pianists could reach a much larger audience.

    The invention of this new loud piano made it very difficult for piano-manufacturers
    to retain the character of sound.

    Some manufacturers managed to achieve and keep a discernible character,
    but as time went by and audiences grew into the thousands,
    more emphasize was put on loudness at the sacrifice of tonality (the beauty of sound).

    So, most modern pianos have lost individuality and they all sound the same
    and maybe in the distant future pianists will look back at this period
    as being one where the "beauty of sound" was sacrificed for “bums on seats”.
     
  7. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    P.S. It is far more lucrative
    to play to a hundred thousand people in Wembley Stadium
    than to play to forty people in the launch... :)
     
  8. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Church Musician, Choral Accompanist, Musical Theat
    Location:
    Illinois
    LOCATION:
    Illinois
    The piano is already being altered again in the present. They are called "digital pianos". Though they have not made it into the "art music" world to any degree, who is to say that they will not in the future. The piano is one of the most difficult instruments to synthesize, but manufacturers are improving them at an extremely rapid pace.

    Imagine that in the future a performer could perform a piano recital with his Bach on a harpsichord (with a period tuning and temperment), Mozart on a Stein, Beethoven on a Broadwood, and Chopin on a Pleyel with only one instrument on stage. And the venues can be larger and larger, not needing to deal with the issues of miking an acoustic instrument. Also, since these instruments are more easily transported, the performer is able to travel with his/her instruments and not need to rely on the instruments at hand.

    Following this, someone will then rediscover an antique acoustic piano and start a whole new craze for HIP performance on such instruments. Of course the first acoustic discovery will be of an old spinet and the musicologist of the future will create whole erroneous systems of performance based on how the spinet must have been our ideal..... :roll: :wink:

    Scott
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    I really hope in the future that classical piano concerts and not played on a digital piano! First of all, a digital piano is such a small little box, compared to a concert grand. What would they do with all that extra space on the stage if a dinky digital were sitting there? Maybe they could keep the full-size grand and stick a digital inside it to make it look prettier....? In addition, a man in a tuxedo or a woman in a gown would also look a bit silly sitting at a digital, don't you think?

    Although, it would be cool to hear various 'keyboard' sounds relating to the era of the piece being played. But still....I just can't picture a digital unless like I said, they make them larger or something like that.

    Btw - did you know that Pollini travels with his personal concert grand? I bet that's very expensive!!
     
  10. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, again,

    I think the first thing about all wooden hand-made key-board instruments
    like the Harpsichord, Virginal, Piano-Forte etc. is, that they all have their very own character of sound.

    Composers and key-board-players of that period had a chance to choose
    an instrument which appealed to their ear.

    In addition, if they had to play on a key-board-instrument having a different character
    they could modify their playing to adapt to the instrument and bring out that instruments character.

    What I am saying is, that there was then a tremendous variety
    of sound-characteristics of key-board-instruments.

    If you have an electronic instrument playing for example a Harpsichord-sound
    it may be a sound which no great Harpsichord-player would have liked.
    And there is no way of changing the characteristics coming out of the electronic instrument
    or adapt to them.

    Early electronic digital key-board-instruments often incorporated an organ-button,
    but as we know, every organ has its very own very particular sound.

    These electronic instruments were and still are mostly used in popular music
    for composers to colour their compositions with a variety of different sounds.

    Therefore the digital key-board instrument has no real place
    in the world of true non-electronic key-board instruments.
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Hello again, again... :)

    I appreciate what you say about the character of keyboard instruments, but I think our present-day pianos have plenty of character of their own too. They can be warm and mellow, or bold and bright, etc. Plus, we can even change the sound of our own piano just by changing/voicing the hammers. I remember when I chose my piano - there were about ten of them lined up in a row and I played each one. The one I chose was the one with the sound (character) I liked best. Perhaps pianos sound mostly the same when it comes to professional recordings. But here on our site, we have lots of different sounds/characters. (some goofy characters/people too.. :lol: )
     
  12. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, pianolady,

    I agree that modern pianos also differ in character of sound.

    I have also listened to a few recordings here on this site and I feel very much inspired.
    Of course, I have only just started to listen to some impressive recordings here
    and I really look forward to listen to many more.

    Kind regards from Kristinaolga.
     

Share This Page