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Maestro

Recordings and edits

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I have been told that there's an edit in every 30 seconds of classical music recording. So if you do compare your playing with those polished recordings, be aware of this fact.

I recently saw a recital of Perlman, he took a long time to warm up. If that concert had been a recording, there would have been many re-takes.

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Next week, I'm going into the recording studio to record ALL of Paganini's 24 Caprices one after another.

I am not going to edit any of the playing, though I might rerecord an entire track if the playing is too atrocious.

I would rather you criticize my REAL imperfections than marvel at my EDITED gems.

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I heard something like this. I guess that there are/were only a few musicians brave enough to face the critics and audience with their skills. Rubinstein and Casals were good examples. Actually, recordings made before the 50's were not edited because back then there was no technology to do that. You should hear Rachmaninov making mistakes while playing his pieces! But I guess, these things don't really make much difference. No body is perfect, but because we have the technology to make our recordings 'perfect,' I think we might be setting our standards too high (a bit unrealistic?). That's is why I was so fond of live recordings, but I hear that they are, too, edited.

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I've worked as a recording engineer. I'm not sure where you've heard this, but it seems to me to be a huge exaggeration. Edits in orchestral music and, particulary live orchestral recordings are extremely impractical and would only be performed in very rare situations.

The problem would be numerous accoustic instruments with mics that are set up at least a couple feet away from the instruments. It would be very difficult to isolate one instrument or group of instruments so that an edit or overdub would sound natural. This is even worse in a live situation where only a couple mics are used for whole sections of the orchestra and you've got audience noise in the background. Finally, since classical music is usually not done to a click track, getting the timing right would be a nightmare. These simply aren't problems that technology can readily cure.

It becomes more practical the smaller the group becomes or under very controlled studio situations, like recording movie soundtracks, where you can isolate instruments and control timing of a piece with a click. However, if you're sucessful as a session player in these situations, you don't need many edits. Most classical groups only function well as a unit and would be extremely resistant to this kind of thing. Other forms of music, particularly those that rely on electric instruments, are much easier to do this with.

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I've forgotten how hard it is to play MUSIC.

One of my students was playing Twinkle for me.

I asked her to infuse the piece with her own spirit, providing examples.

Instantly, her pristine technique went to bits . . . and she went "Whoa".

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HKV: Are you recording the Paganini caprices? Wow! Please send me a copy! smile.gif

Maestro: I think one edit per each 30 seconds sound rather exaggerated. I have done some recordings with various groups, but unless we had catastrophic mistakes, we did not do any splicing.

Toscha

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When my band recorded our CD, we recorded live -- partly because we couldn't afford all the studio time it would've taken to record each instrument separately, and partly because we rely very heavily on eye contact and visual cues from each other when we play. When one of us goofed during a track, we all had to start over on that track. It was really a pain! As a result, some of the tracks have mistakes that we hate, but at the time we just couldn't face re-recording the entire track so we said "Good enough". If we record a second CD (we'd like to), I think we'll try it the other way -- record each instrument separately. Besides, that lets us do cool things like having my wife sing and play flute on the same song, or having my fiddle and bouzouki trading off the melody. smile.gif

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Well, the truth lies somewhere in between. Orchestral recordings can be, and sometimes are, heavily spliced. Not "every 30 seconds," of course, but some have a dozen or more cuts in a movement. For a real ear-opening experience, listen to the Heifetz/Reiner Brahms Concerto with good headphones. The number of patches is astonishing, and takes a tiny bit of luster off Heifetz's alleged "perfection."

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Here's my 2 cents. Edting, as in splicing bits of more than one take together, is not nearly so common in classical music as Maestro indicates. However, I know that it happens some. In a master class, Ricci once told us a story of his recording the 24 capricces using the then new direct to disc technology (mid 70s). They didn't give him his 4 hours to warm up so, although he almost got through them then, he had a "goof" as he put it. They had to start over from #1. This technology did not allow retakes at all. I did read once that one of Menuhin's recordings of one of the Paganini Concerti was a spliced composite of something like 30 takes. I heard the recording and I believe it may have been. But his name sold records so they kept pumping him for product, even when he was having significant problems.

However, modern technology can easily correct for anything like slight differences in tempo or even pitch to produce a clean splice, so who knows what is happening now, especially in solo or small group recordings.

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There was a recent Telarc release (orchestra & chorus) said to have over 100 edits in it-- this story spread by the company who made the editing device. Editing time costs less than studio time, even when the raw material is truly bad.

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People told me that Shlomo Mintz`s recording of the 24 capricci are very "edited". However, I saw him playing some of them alive, and it was great( no mistakes at all). Actually, I feel a little guilty writing something bad about him, because I met him personally, and he`s one of the kindest persons I ever met. I will never say something negative about him again...

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A kind personality doesn't make up for bad violin playing.

(I'm not saying that Mintz is a "bad" violinist, I'm actually saying that if I don't like a performance, meeting the person and even having a few beers with him/her isn't going to change my mind.)

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There is another feature of modern recording techniques which I for one find much more disturbing than splicing, and that is the practice of doctoring the acoustic environment after the recording has been made - adding extra reverberation, changing balance between instruments, and the like.

The problem here is that any self-respecting musician or group of musicians will take note of the acoustics of the room they are playing in and adapt their performance to it - moderating quick tempi in a very reverberant chamber, for example, or holding staccati and sforzandi a little longer in a particularly dry one. This is part of both the privilege and the duty of the performer; and the same is true of balance within the ensemble. If an engineer comes along afterwards and, over the artists' heads, replaces their resolution of these problems with a completely different one, two very undesirable things will happen: the recording will be falsified, and the musicians, bewildered by the way balance and overall sound-quality have been taken out of their hands, will devote less care to these aspects thereafter. I believe this does happen, and that recording practices are to blame for (e.g.) the hideously coarse and out-of-context brass playing which one often hears in live orchestral performance today.

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Just listen to the 'marvellous' Goldmark concerto recording by Milstein (released by Testament), I think they've got something that might interest you on the very last track.

People are getting a little unrealistic with the editing technique and personally, my teacher simply 'déteste' the idea. No one is flawless and sometimes a flaw in a recording DO achieve wonderous results....K

How long do you take for the recording sessions HKV? 24 caprices, that's really something...thumbs up

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Don't know about professional edits, but when a few of my violinist friends and I made a CD of ourselves we made a few small changes.

One of them being putting Ian Czerkow (sp??) (a.k.a. really good violinist) playing the first few lines of Beethoven's Romance #2 instead of me. We took the orchestra out using my friends CPU. To this day my family thinks I just played those lines with a divine inspiration.

Edits may taint the original performance, but they don't hurt the music every time. wink.gif

DM

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Forgot to mention, HKV: put me down for a caprice cd too. If i ever become good enough to feel confident about making a cd, i'll do it too.

Although after the above post, I hope you aren't skeptical about whether it's me or not. smile.gif

DM

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Don't worry about it, DM. A lot of people are skeptical that I'M real.

I remember hearing a top young soloist in concert and then hearing a broadcast of the same exact performance on the radio.

I couldn't even recognize the playing, it sounded SO MUCH BETTER coming through speakers!

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quote:

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

A kind personality doesn't make up for bad violin playing.

(I'm not saying that Mintz is a "bad" violinist, I'm actually saying that if I don't like a performance, meeting the person and even having a few beers with him/her isn't going to change my mind.)

I agree with you. However, knowing more about his personality can help to understand his musical goals. About technique, obviously it doesn`t help.

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