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Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by robert, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi everyone, first recordings since 2008-02-27 so be kind to me ;). I took something technically easy (nothing is easy musically).

    I had to restart a lot of other things too but finally found the Edirol, download Audacity and the Lame encoder and I hope I got the ID3 tagging right.

    This is a one time shot and in the mode I was today and at least with me, this piece can come out pretty different.

    Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K.32
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very well played but I have to say the swimmy sound (pedal or reverb ?) and the creaking bench spoil it a bit. If you could do this in cleaner sound, and maybe a little faster, it would be a good recording.

    So it's been almost 4 years since you last submitted ! I hope this is a come-back, not a one-off.

    The naming is correct, the tags adequate though not quite complete. See this sticky post
    http://pianosociety.com/new/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=5115
    We also like the key signature with Scarlatti sonatas.
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Hello Robert,
    Good to hear a submission from you. I must agree with Chris about the reverb, but more so to the point, I feel there should be no pedaling here except to enable an occasional phrasing issue. The step-wise character of the melody and frequent appoggiaturas cause dissonance to the careful listener if performed ohner Dampfer. Regarding your tempo, I think it is spot on. This is a lovely Aria, and one that is at once plain, unadorened yet sadly beautiful. This simple piece is all about musicality. My apporach is one of a singer with lute (perhaps) accompanying. Musically, the most interesting feature is the use of the deceptive cadence 5 bars from the end (to Bb major). If you can feel the denied expectation, you will likely convey it in your interpretation. I for one would really love to hear another attempt on your part that included only occasional touches of supportive pedaling. IMO, the pattern for phrasing is first bar to first beat of second bar, followed by phrased appoggiatura. (For those with Longo's library this is L 423.)

    Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
    Eddy
     
  4. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks and I really hope it is not a one time shot. But I have some work to do to reach a decent technical standard. My joints feel stiff and my touch is insecure, so is the rhythm. I like to recall myself being very even on rhythm, even in fast scales...probably weak memory ;).

    Anyway, the chair is annoying and some of the noise comes from the pedal. I have gotten used to it but it sounds more on the recording than I feel it does IRL. Some oil probably fixes the problem. Also, I hear the hammers very loud in ear phones and probably because I placed the Edirol on top of the grand. Chris, you place it on a chair beside you right?

    The reverb is a bit too much (like the feeling of being in a church) and not from the original recording but the GVerb in Audacity. Experimented a bit with it and it didn't come out really as I wanted it.

    So less pedal...hm...yeah I understand but won't if sound too dry then? I'll try later tonight. About speed, I think it is difficult to play it this slow but when I listen, it feels right. Other recordings I have heard is usually slower, even much slower. Check Carnevale's recording for example (and this is a very well known pianist, from Italy too and a Scarlatti fan). It is beautiful but much slower!

    I'll experiment a bit more and re-record it and fix the ID3-tag.
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes I know how it is to have been out of it for some years. It will come back, don't worry.

    Nope, see image which shows my setup (except that I have the lid open when recording). Of all I have tried this seems to give the best results. Yes I heard your hammers too. Not a good idea to have the recorder on the piano. And don't put oil on your chair - get a new one ;-)

    Takes a while to find the reverb you want. In any case it must not be too obtrusive.

    Maybe the tempo is not too slow, but it 'feels' too slow because the playing is a bit stiff. I must admit I had not heard this sonata, and I don't know what the tempo indication is.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Nice to see you recording again, Robert!! :D :D I think this is a pretty little piece and you play it nicely. Some of those suggestions Eddy gave will really make the piece even more special.

    But I agree about the sound issues. The creaking chair is what I first noticed, followed by the sort of weird sound. At first, I thought you might be recording on your digital piano, but then I did hear the dampers lifting and things like that so I knew it was your grand. Then I thought perhaps you were recording on the 'silent' setting and maybe that's the way it sounds like that. So now I read that you actually put your Edirol ON your piano and that explains everything!! Try putting your Edirol near the open top of your grand but not too close and not too far. I'm too lazy right now to convert to metrics, but I usually go with placing my Edirol about 4 or 5 feet above the floor, and about 2 feet away from the open top of the piano.
     
  7. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Looks like a reasonable position. Tascam? Better sound?

    Monica: I hope I am back, but don't expect a flood. Maybe I re-record a few things than I am not happy with and then I maybe take on some more Swedish piano music...let's see about that.

    I hope I can make a new recording tomorrow...if people can get quite around me for some minutes.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Definitely, a couple of people here agreed with me about that. I posted some comparative recordings which I have unfortunately thrown away since, see viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4597
     
  9. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Robert,

    I had a listen to the recording of your Scarlatti performance. Your playing is good. To me it sounds like you have a good sense of the music, but the dynamics could be made more of (that is, more difference in the softs and louds) I felt like I could hear your fingers on the keyboard, you said you put your recorder on your piano, maybe that is the reason? I have had the problem of practicing too much on a piano and then the pedal becomes squeaky. Though I didn't hear the chair squeak, but my headphones are cheap.

    This is somewhat unrelated to this thread so I'll keep it short, I really like your recordings of the Bach inventions :lol:

    Hope to hear more recordings from you,

    Riley
     
  10. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Riley. With some luck, I'll give this another shot today with less pedal and with the Edirol behind the grand. It is too close as you say...and you can hear my fingertips on the keyboard! I must listen back :).
     
  11. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Just uploaded a new recording and hope this is better. No effects added, less use of pedal and with the edirol on the ironing board behind the piano.

    Only thing bothering me is the white noise which gets a bit high when you listen in earphones. If I did chose a high input level, it got very sensitive and picked up other sounds in the house and this piece hardly every raises beyond piano.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Sounds a lot better with respect to reverb/pedal, and already you sound more comfortable playing than the last time.

    But yes, the hiss is quite obtrusive, and there are still too some mechanical sounds. I guess you will have to raise the sensitivity
    and just make sure everything is quiet in da house .... Or apply a hiss filter but personally I think those affect the sound too much.
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I agree - your playing is even better on this now, but yes, the hiss is bad. Actually, I could hardly hear the piano because the balance between piano sound and hiss is about equal. I don't understand if you had the input level too high or too low, but if it helps you the way I heard it was pretty soft. I had to turn the volume up all the way - which of course then also made the hiss loud too. I do run a hiss-reduction through my recordings, but I use the lowest setting. I find that it takes away some of the hiss without altering the sound quality that much. I still think you should have your recorder closer to the piano and then use a lower input level. My recorder is near the front and open top of my piano and I use an input level of about 14.
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh for the millionth time, don't exaggerate :roll:
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I am not exaggerating at all!! How do you know what I hear? I guess I can listen to this again when I am home tonight and on my computer that has better speakers and see if I still hear the same amount of hiss.
     
  16. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    It's not that terrible and if I listen on low volume on my computer, I don't hear it at all unless the house is dead quite. Ear phones is another thing, there you hear it for sure but it is not worse than putting on an old vinyl recording.
     
  17. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    By the way, what do you mean by hiss? What I hear is a volume and sound constant noise throughout the entire recording. Do you refer to the same or do you hear something else?
     
  18. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Robert,

    I listened to your re-recording, and I think your playing sounds even more dynamically varied than your first, more color in the melody, it sounded nice.

    About the audio quality of the recording I agree to what you say, that I don't hear hiss when I listen back on my desktop speakers, but on headphones, the hiss is quite noticeable. I was recording a piece last summer and the signal-to-noise of the recorder was so loud someone thought the hiss was a vacuum cleaner in the background. :lol: Anyways I don't usually listen to the piano recordings with my headphones, only when I'm editing and I want to hear the music in detail, so I still am able to enjoy it with the speakers.

    Riley
     
  19. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I mostly listen on headphones, and they're much better than what I used so far so I hear hiss more often. I also hear it in my own recordings but in this particular one it seems much louder than necessary - actually quite distracting although I can clearly hear the piano, too :p Did you adjust the input level to the maximum value that just avoids clipping at full fortissimo ? That is the value to use.

    Edit - As Riley suggests, you might also want to check the signal-to-noise ratio of your recorder. Could also be you have the Gain setting set to Low ?
     
  20. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I listen to most music with my earphones on either my computer, my cell phone, my ipod, or my Kindle. So I listened to this again tonight on my home computer with my good speakers and decent earphones and still I hear a lot of hiss. And yes, to me it is about equal to the sound of the piano. To answer your question about what I hear, or what is hiss - it's the white noise that runs constantly in the background (sometimes foreground) and almost sounds like a heavy rain storm. It's not as noticeable without earphones, but I can hear varying degrees of it in my own home if I transfer a recording of mine onto a CD and then play that CD on different stereos. It's something that drives me nuts, as I don't like it and try to eliminate it the best I can. But it's tricky because you run the risk of altering the sound of the piano if you use too high of a setting on the hiss-reduction functions in editing programs.

    Well, what we really need here is Didier to come to the rescue! :wink: And I probably should not comment anymore about sound issues. I'm trying to help, but maybe I hear things differently than everybody else and my chiming in never seems to go over very well. I hope you can find a good recording setup/solution, Robert. :)
     

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