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Topic: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

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  1. #1
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    Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    Zenph Studios is hosting a live concert performed by two piano virtuosi both of whom have long been dead. The Zenph software digitally transcribes performances even from old scratchy recordings and produces a faitithful transcription of timing, key and pedal pressure using high resolution MIDI developed by Yamaha.

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1517&e=6&u=/afp/afplifestylemusic

    "The music will be played on a grand piano that has been specially programmed to give a note-perfect, live rendition of ancient recordings made by Alfred Cortot in 1928 and Glenn Gould in 1962"

    The piano will replicate every note struck, down to the velocity of the hammer and position of the key when it was played," the British weekly magazine New Scientist reports in next Saturday's issue."

    The new software is able to detect single notes from polyphony - i.e. notes that are played simultaneously..

    Musicians will be dying to use this software

  2. #2
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    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    If this works, then I would say that these people have some extremely talented programmers. It's one thing to be able to analyze individual note pitches and rhythms, but fast note flourishes, thick chords, as well as dynamic information, that has got to be a really tough nut to crack.

    On a similar subject, I have a modern day recording of Rachmaninoff playing some of his works as well as those of other composers. They took some old player piano rolls that he had recorded and developed a process to digitally recapture the performances in a modern version of the player piano fitted inside a nice Steinway or Bosendorfer (can't remember which).

    It's on the Telarc label and was recorded wonderfully. Kind of interesting to think that you're listening to a pristine digital recording of Rachmaninoff performing.

  3. #3
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    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    And I wish they were able to do this with some of those old trumpet recordings of Rafael Mendez. What an unbelievable musician. Too bad there's no such thing as a "player trumpet". (Or at least not that I know of. Although I've heard of acoustical experiments where they hooked up mechanical embochures to wind and brass intruments to run some tests in a more exacting way, but I bet they didn't sound very good.)

    (BTW, here are some OLD Rafael clips for anyone who might be interested.)

    http://mendezlibrary.asu.edu/clips/index.htm

  4. #4

    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    I have one of those piano roll recordings of early Horowitz. This guy is one of my heroes. He often came so close to perfection it is scary. You mention Rachmaninoff... the funny thing is most people believed he played Rachmaninoff better than the man himself! Horowitz was the last living connection to the Romantic era and people just can't play like that anymore.


    Enough nostalgia... back to work!
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  5. #5

    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    I heard about that some time ago, in a Glenn Gould work review, and one of the most ambitious aim of the research was to create the base for a mathematic analysis of the great performance vs. the poor performance.

    I like scientific approach to human expressions, but I suppose that something inexplicable exist in a good performance: in fact great performers never play the pice in the same way, and every concert is a new "algorithm"...no way to capture the soul (...at least for now... )

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    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    Quote Originally Posted by jesshmusic
    I have one of those piano roll recordings of early Horowitz.
    Jessmusic, would you mind sharing the MIDI file so we can try some things?

    If anyone else has MIDIfied performances from piano roll, please let me know.

    Gary Garritan

  7. #7
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    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Zenph Studios is hosting a live concert performed by two piano virtuosi both of whom have long been. The Zenph software digitally transcribes performances even from old scratchy recordings and produces a faitithful transcription of timing, key and pedal pressure using high resolution MIDI developed by Yamaha.

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1517&e=6&u=/afp/afplifestylemusic

    "The music will be played on a grand piano that has been specially programmed to give a note-perfect, live rendition of ancient recordings made by Alfred Cortot in 1928 and Glenn Gould in 1962"

    The piano will replicate every note struck, down to the velocity of the hammer and position of the key when it was played," the British weekly magazine New Scientist reports in next Saturday's issue."

    The new software is able to detect single notes from polyphony - i.e. notes that are played simultaneously..

    Musicians will be dying to use this software
    Well, I guess I will play the nit-picking devil's advocate. The idea in principle sounds magnificent. But in practice, I find some problems.

    This presumes a degree of accuracy in the original recordings that was not possible at the time of the recordings.

    This presumes that the key force, key dip, damper travel, pedal pressure would be the same on all instruments, otherwise reproduction would not make sense. But, any pianist will tell you that the instrument being used will have a profound effect on their playing, thereby rendering the presumption false. Even two Steinway Model D instrments side by side will feel and sound different to the pianist.

    This must presume that the recording used was the definitive interperetation by the performer, but I don't think there is any such thing. What pianist of any understanding would play anything precisely the same every time? Actually, I know one, a classmate of James Levine, whose technique is masterful, but whose playing is just short of boring because his playing is without feeling, played note perfect.

    Probably I could ramble on a bit more, but I have offered my fundamental objections. So now let the bricks fly at me! I have my cyber forcefield shield in place.

    A very good use of this software would be to record your compositions as you play them at the piano, then perhaps you could use a midi transcription to prepare a score. But is see some interesting drawbacks here also. Play a few lines on your midi keyboard, then look at the resulting score! But I don't play nearly as well on a midi keyboard because the sound is so different than a real piano!



    Richard

  8. #8

    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Jessmusic, would you mind sharing the MIDI file so we can try some things?

    If anyone else has MIDIfied performances from piano roll, please let me know.

    Gary Garritan
    I should have specified... the piano roll is just an audio recording of a player or MIDI piano playing it. I would like that MIDI file... just to see how perfect Horowitz was.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9

    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottnorma
    And I wish they were able to do this with some of those old trumpet recordings of Rafael Mendez.
    As a budding trumpet player I was given my first Mendez recording, “Trumpet Extraordinaire,” for my 11th birthday. It was a very high standard to encounter at that tender age. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of hearing Mendez in a clinic situation on two occasions: The first, in 1961 when he was still close to the top of his game and then again about 15 years later when time had taken its toll. The first time was astonishing - he knocked off Hora Staccato and Moto Perpetuo without breaking a sweat, without a note out of place, without an attack less than pristine. He was everything I had heard on recordings and more. Plus, he was a very nice man with a fine sense of humor. While I was standing in line to see one of his concerts he passed everyone to enter through the front door (horn case in hand.) As he walked by he said, "Don't pay to see this guy, HE'S TERRIBLE!!" He smiled at everyone and entered the hall to play, shall we say, hardly terrible!

    Tom

  10. #10
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    Re: Concert from Beyond the Grave - R.I.P.

    Tom, you're very lucky to have seen the legend in person like that. He was definitely one of a kind - built from the ground up to play trumpet like no one else. The closest I've ever come to a legend was driving by Stravinsky's former houses here in LA, but he was already passed on for over 20 years before I was even able to do this.

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