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What is wrong with Piano Society?

Discussion in 'General' started by jordanr, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I agree with evaluating on more than one level. Sound quality is a clear issue of its own. Accuracy is easy enough to evaluate, if one has a score. Musicality is more complex, as there will be interpretative issues where views will differ.

    I also agree with Richard's comment that anyone producing an assessment of a recording should provide reasons behind their decision, rather than just a simple numerical ranking.

    I think if we are going to trust experienced members to make decisions regarding quality of recordings, we should also trust in their judgement as to whether they feel competent to assess the music in question, rather than appointing X to do composer Y etc.
     
  2. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dear friends of piano music,
    I stepped into this topic by the advice of Francois in the Audition Room.
    This morning I found a bit time to read some of the contributions here, but not all.
    I would like to threw some aspects from my side, too:
    I found pianosociety to be a great idea since I have meat it in january 2008 and I have posted here quite a lot of recordings since then. I always have said to Chris, when it comes to the question, that the site comes to an end, because he will not be able anymore to be an administrator and there are no or not enough other persons, who can afford this, I would be ready to do this job.
    So, I´m ready now to try it, if you guys would like that. But it wouldn´t be bad to have some more help by other "core members" as someone above expressed it. And I would have to look how it works for me. So let say, first I could have the opportunity of a "test period", which I need also for myself. Also first I would have to learn a lot about the technical issues to do it rightly. And I would need someone, who teaches me that.
    I also like the ideas of a more democratic system, but it shouldn´t be anonymous, because this could be a great danger.
    The typical and unique feature of pianosociety always was that the recordings are discussed, judged and that you can get a lot of inspirations and ideas. This should be kept up! There is no other site on the internet offering this and with that the chance of a musical community, which is unique like PS.
    So, let´s stay open hearted and minded for a new area on PS!
    By the way, I always liked it, that there was the possibility to link to YouTube and don´t see the reasons, not to do this anymore. (But as I said, I still hadn´t the time to read all messages of this topic.)
     
  3. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    @Andrew: I made the suggestion to also rank musicality because, although somewhat subjective, it is the essential value. A recording can be technically perfect, with no wrong note, but if it bores you after 30" because of the absence of any feeling nor emotion of any kind, it has no interest at all !
    @Andreas: many thanks to volunteer about being an administrator. However, the point is to see how we can renew the site process, in order to have more people involved. I'm sure you should have good ideas in this matter.
     
  4. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Francois de Larrard wrote:
    I´m definitely ready to do this and to become something like a replacement of Chris, if you all here would wish and support that!

    I also like the idea of a democratic system of some "helping administrators", which could be a handful of core members, and may be two or three "main administrators". This really would be a relieve for the main administrators, which is necessary as we have seen with Chris and Monica. I also could imagine, that in times I will have a lot to do in my job, some things here on PS would have to wait, if there are no other helping administrators, and may be in some years or so I will feel burned out like Monica does now. To prevent from that we would need some more administrators.
    F.ex. if we would get at least 5 oder 6 administrators (better up to 10), we also could have the same range, but I think, at last we need two or three main or head administrators, who come to a decision, always orientating themselves at the democratic majority.
    A rating system could actually be a good idea to involve more members.
    In music interpretation there are two aspects: the first I would like to call the more technical and "objective" one (i.e. to play the right notes, to realize the text in general with all its musical prescriptions) and second the aspect of musical expression and to realize individual attitudes and mental approaches to the piece.
    And by the way, also the so called "objective" side is pretty subjective, because also these matters have to do with perception and cognition, which can´t be other than subjective. :wink:
    Both aspects should be considered, but on the other hand the demand should not be too high at an amateur site like this.
    So, if someone realizes the so called objecitive side of music, a recording should be accepted, even if the musical expression is not so intruiging. And reverse, if you feel a person playing very musically and expressively and transporting very much of the message of a piece we also should accept it, if some (few) matters of the so called objective side are not so perfect.
    We should not accept a recording, which is unmusically respective unexpressively played and has a lot of mistakes in the so called objective aspects (like some few of the very early recordings by Chris had, if I´m honest, but I said this already then, so it´s no revelation here :wink: ).
    This always was my opinion here on PS.
    Otherwise we only could allow absolutely perfect recordings for the main site and only professional pianists like Barenboim, Schiff and others should post here on PS. :wink: (And even some recordings of modern so called professional pianists don´t stand a demand of true expressivity and musicality in my humble opinion. F.ex. I don´t know, if I would accept all recordings by Lang Lang here from the aspect of true musicality. :p ).
    So, my suggestion is: let´s just be open minded and decide with a good feeling for an amateur site, not too severe and not too soft respective careless.
     
  5. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    @Andreas

    I agree on the fact that we cannot be as demanding as would be a professional CD producer. We have to find the reasonnable level, which corresponds to me to the one which makes, for the 'honest' auditor, a pleasurable listening experience. I'd like to insist on two points:

    - giving three notes instead of one (pass or fail). If one submits a recording, and if, say, 8 evaluators give a bad note for the sound, this sends a strong message about recording quality (or tuning the piano or anything influencing the sound quality). Therefore, the proposer knows in which direction he might go to improve its recording, and the message has more weight than an individual advice;

    - anonymous ranking. First, the vote is anonymous in all 'real' democracies. There should be some reasons... A more comparable context is the one of articles evaluation for scientific journals, a matter where I am involved as a researcher for about 30 years. Here again, referees write a report to tell the publisher what they think about the paper, but the identity of the referees is never communicated to the author. Sometimes, when the scientific community is very small, the rejected author makes assumption about who criticized his paper, and this may lead sometimes to 'countermeasures', revenges and other bad behaviors. To come back to PS, I was sometimes hesitating to criticize some of the administrator's submissions, knowing the risk of some more or less conscious reactions from him regarding my submissions. Secret votes allow to express your opinion with no (or less) interference with human relationships. Of course, the fact of voting anonymously does not prevent to comment in a transparent manner, as it has always been the case at PS.

    Regarding the role of administrators, if we adopt such a collective and anonymous evaluation process, their role becomes at the same time less heavy and less critical. But we still need dedicated people to manage the site, upload the recordings and maintain the important pages. Also, we need one or several moderators to act as a policeman (even if we see few bad guys on PS, fortunately !).
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    With the way the site functions now, an admin has to process a recording (meaning, check the tabs, title, kbps,) upload it to the main site, update the respective pages (or create new ones) on the main site (composer's page and artist's page), and then go back to the forum, delete the attachments, and make them links to the new recordings instead. We will still need someone like me who knows how to do all this. Richard is hopefully working on changing the way these things are done, and eventually people will do most of these steps themselves. But until then, someone needs to do these for newer people...those whom we have not given permission rights on the site yet. That's what all this is about. I plan on staying on and will therefore do these things as needed. Richard knows how to do all these things too, so there are still two of us. So as far as the technical side of the site goes...behind the scenes so to speak...we're okay for now. You core members are to be given rights to the site so you can update your own pages and everything else. So that's a great relief to me already! And really, when you all know how to do those things, you will basically be an administrator and can do all the same work as I have been doing all these years, and therefore I can go on vacation sometime... :)

    I just read Francois' comment from a moment ago. Basically what I'm talking about too. Having members take the burden of having to listen to every new recordings off the admins shoulders is a BIG help. All the other stuff is equally time-consuming though, so.....I guess we'll have to see what Richard comes up with as far as making things more automated.

    Btw - MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!!! :D :D :D
     
  7. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Andrew, the question of accuracy is not so easily resolved with a score, as the pianist and the evaluator might be using different ones. I remember once when Monica and others commented on a forte I had played in a Scriabin Prelude when, according to them, it should have been a piano. It turned out that my score had an error. I also had a score of Satie's Gymnopédies and it was always an issue when I was still learning, because ther teacher always corrected me in a certain passage and it turned out our scores had a different chord.

    Do I get you, Monica, that some of us will be able to upload directly our recordings? My question then is, who will mind the minders, that is, who will make sure one that none of us, is an access of enthusiasm, uploads a dud? Will we be evaluated too before been given the go ahead?
     
  8. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Merry Christmas to all of you!
    Richard, I think we might upload ourself our recording once it has been accepted by the committee. This would mean that the site has a system of lock which would be removed when the acceptance decision is taken. Would you be able to program such a function (same question for the collective evaluation system)?
     
  9. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    First the most important:
    Merry Christmas to all of you!

    @Francois:
    Of course, the sound-quality is also an important matter, which has to be considered in the evaluation.
    Principally I agree to your argument concerning anonymity, but I have doubt in one point: there could be people taking revenge or just by malice respective personal non- sympathy by giving bad judgements to a recording. I have experienced that on YouTube f.ex., that there was suddenly something like a run of the dislike button, though it was a good recording, and I fear this was from personal reasons like I described. (I experienced this only in one or two cases some years ago, so it does not happen often or regularly to me, fortunately.) But o.k., may be one has to live with that risk in a democratic system.
     
  10. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, Andreas, this is why I wrote that not only a ote should be given, but it must be justified and remember that we are anonymous to the person being evaluated, not to each other.

    Another thing, I would not like there to be confusion between Richard the site owner me the humble pianist.
     
  11. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, like this it seems to be a very good idea to me, I just ask me, if resprective how this technically can be realized. But that´s a question for our new site admin, Richard Jordan, who seems to have experience and knowledge in informatic technology.
    And really, I think, we all here have to thank him from all our heart, that he engages and invested so much for this site! Seems that otherwise we would have been more or less lost here without Chris (though I don´t know how much know how Robert has about computer things, at least I am a layman in these matter)...

    I have to admit, that in the first moment I have heard from our new admin, I have thought, that could be you. :wink: But Monica told me then, that the name of our new admin is Richard Jordan, not Willemer. So I was well informed. :)
    Seems, that at this moment I´m the first "test person" of the "core members", who has an admin access here. So I have tried to upload and to link my recent recordings myself and I always get useful help by Richard. I have to say, it´s a pleasure, though it´s a bit confusing sometimes here and there, but at last it always gives a very good feeling, if you have learned something and had success! I appreciate that! :D
     
  12. jordanr

    jordanr Administrator Staff Member

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    Based on this very helpful discussion, I will be updating the software. I will set it up in such a way that all uploads will go to the right place for inclusion in the PS database.

    The process I envision will still require an admin to approve and update the database. I will make this process as smooth and minimally time consuming as posible.

    Thank you so much to everyone for their input and please continues sharing...!
     
  13. alf_reregistered

    alf_reregistered New Member

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    Hi all,

    I chip in after reading about this discussion on Monica's FB timeline. And just for old times' sake since I stopped submitting recordings and actively participating in the forum 5 years ago or so, as some of you already know, because my life took a different turn and I didn't have the time to play the piano (and seemingly wouldn't for a long while). Hey ho, one more stop-over in my on and off amateur piano journey.

    I see that a few things have changed lately. There's a new owner and Chris left as administrator and contributor. I really don't have any clever suggestion to offer but what strikes me the most about PS is that it has always been a place with a very small number of active members compared to other Internet piano communities, and apparently even more so now. I counted just a dozen members intervening in this topic and some of them rarely or like me no-more contribute to the forum. I don't know if this is caused by the way the forum has been run over the years, the rules of engagement or the general quality of posts and comments. Also, the most valuable asset of PS, the huge amount of freely downloadable recordings, is almost nothing compared to what you can find on Youtube or Spotify, either for quality or quantity. Sorry if this seems to belittle your genuine efforts to improve things up but I don't see any effective way to change the course of PS decline if not radically rethinking the business model.

    On a bright note, happy festivities to you all guys and good luck to PS!

    Alf
     
  14. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Alfonso,
    nice to see, that you still are well and alive. But I think, we all here haven´t known anything about the changes in your life, because you neither didn´t inform us nor said good bye in anyway, at least as far as I remember.
    That´s a pity, because we really had a nice and somehow unique collaboration (which still can be seen at the bottom on the start site of the main-site: piano society ensemble music videos, Rachmaninof sixhands experiments).
    To be honest, in summary if feel your advices to be pretty counterproductive:
    I think, this principally is no disadvantage respective negative. There simply is no other piano community on the internet, where you can discuss the recordings of other members like on pianosociety. At least as far as I know.

    We already have recognized the problem of a lack of participation. Not necessary to repeat this here and to mention some reasons, which are pretty indeterminate. Make a suggest of to change it! That´s why this thread is made.

    Of course, you can listen to many recordings on YouTube, such of old and well-known pianists as such of amateurs, but you don´t have a discussion there, which at least makes an effort to be qualified and professional. I have a YouTube channel myself (with 247 videos at the time), but I never get comments of a qualified manner like on PS.
     
  15. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    You know where you can find one. :wink:
     
  16. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, Andreas, but on the main site there are no discussions, only on the forum, and the discussions are only for the few who belong to the latter. This is a good thing, of course, as only YouTube is free.

    PS's membership will always be low compared to, for example, piano Street. A closer look at the latter, however, will show that by the time all the junk is weeded out, the decent posts are few also.
     
  17. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have some reservations with the anonymous reviewal system. Firstly I think it is better, presentationally, to show a human front rather than have a recording rejected by an apparently faceless bureaucracy, even if it is one which gives reasons. Secondly, on the practical level, if various forum members are to give a review, the traditional method has been to do so in the thread directly pertaining to the upload - if this is to contine AND it to be done anonymously, then reviewing posters will need the capacity to post anonymously. I don't see that the alternative, of sending reviews amongst ourselves and then coming to a decision internally, is particularly suited to "normal" internet forum discourse.
     
  18. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    There's a lot of white noise of course on other classical piano forums, but on Pianoworld for instance they have monthly themed e-recitals with the free participation of any member who feels like to study and contribute with a piece. All the submissions get lots of comments. Plus, there are recording corners where people comment on other pianists' random submissions.
     
  19. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I am not acquainted with Pianoworld. I shall look into it.
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, you are right, but I knew that, of course. So I wonder, if you write this to me at that place.

    I have not had really the time to care about other piano related sites, if I´m honest, but I will have to look to become better informed.
     

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