What are you listening to/watching?

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elemtilas
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by elemtilas »

Nice!

Another take.

And this morning, some awesome fiddling!
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Egerius »

This, and this, and this, and this one. And those two.

I've listened to each of those at least fifty times this year already and, if I were more musically inclined, I could've written entirely new songs based off of those.

For tomorrow, It'll be this one with a re-enactment of this photo.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Man in Space »

Twin Aster megathread

AVDIO · VIDEO · DISCO

CC = Common Caber
CK = Classical Khaya
CT = Classical Ĝate n Tim Ar
Kg = Kgáweq'
PO = Proto-O
PTa = Proto-Taltic
PTO = Proto-Tim Ar-O
STK = Sisỏk Tlar Kyanà
Tm = Təmattwəspwaypksma
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by eldin raigmore »

Salmoneus wrote: 12 Feb 2021 21:28 Surely this has been shown in fiction ever since, you know, creators of fiction met people?
Bilingualism is not a SF invention!
Well, no, it hasn’t been.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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eldin raigmore wrote: 14 Feb 2021 03:01
Surely this has been shown in fiction ever since, you know, creators of fiction met people?
Bilingualism is not a SF invention!
Well, no, it hasn’t been.
What I heard in Space Sweepers, and that only the trailer, I don't think has been done in SciFi before. Or if it has, only very very rarely. I know some genres of European fiction go in for multilingualism of this kind, but I think even then the underlying text is in the principle language of the reader. The kind of multilingualism on display in SS is not common in SF. Certainly not American. I haven't read much SF in Spanish (and that in translation from English), but don't recall seeing any multilingualism there. If it happens, I'd think that French or German or perhaps Russian SF would be the greatest culprits. SF is also very popular in China & Japan. China being a rather closed and certainly censored market, I don't know what their SF looks like. I know there are anime enthusiasts here in CBB that can speak better to the point, but from what I've seen in the local book shops, I think actual Japanese works often include some level of English or other language inclusion.
eldin raigmore wrote: Also sometimes —— rarely in Maximilian but frequently in Space Sweepers ——, a speaker would take one conversational turn in one language and take their next turn in a different language!
That’s new! George Lucas didn’t do that!
A form of code switching perhaps. It looks like Space Sweepers is a kind of multilingual milieu where everyone talks their own language and everyone else somehow understands. I've never heard of it before, only saw part of the trailer, and don't have Netflicks so can't see any more of it. I'm presuming there's some kind of polyglottal translator service in use.
In Space Sweepers sometimes, if I am not mistaken (I could be), both speakers would code-switch!
IIANM sometimes one conversation would use three languages!
This is very common, especially in regions where lots of languages occur in the same area.
They used Korean and English and Chinese and Russian and Arabic and I think German and I think French and I think Vietnamese and I think some Indian (that is South Central Asian) language.
Edit: There’s some of a Philippine language, but they call it “Filipino”.
I’ve made enough guesses I’m almost sure to have made at least one wrong guess.
But I highly recommend both shows; especially “Space Sweepers”!
"Filipino" (or Pilipino) is a sort of project language that was intended to be the national language of the P.I. (along with English). It's basically Tagalog. I'm not sure what it's actual usage rate as opposed to Tagalog proper is among non-native Tagalogs. I can't imagine that many Tagalogs would actually use Pilipino. As for code switching, if you get enough Filipinos together, you can hear loads of it. Certainly Tagalog-English; you might also get Tagalog-Cebuano, Cebuano-Waray, Cebuano-Waray-English, Tagalog-Chavacano, perhaps Tagalog-Mandarin. You'll also get segments of mixed language, Taglish, Waraylish. You might also get instances of arte-arte na English, where someone will use out of place English words just to sound cool. And of course, you also find lots of situations where English or Spanish words have been borrowed / stolen and have replaced or supplemented native words or constructions.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by elemtilas »

Egerius wrote: 13 Feb 2021 22:36 This, and this, and this, and this one. And those two.

I've listened to each of those at least fifty times this year already and, if I were more musically inclined, I could've written entirely new songs based off of those.

For tomorrow, It'll be this one with a re-enactment of this photo.
Let me guess ... you're a devotee of Queen?

As for the reenactment, that I'd like to see! Looks like a veritable antique shop full of ancient machinery!
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

On multilingualism in fiction:
Spoiler:
OK, so, as a practical matter, in a written text, where the reader may not understand both languages, the convention is usually to simply say "he said in [X language]" or the like and simply directly translate the dialogue into English (or whatever the matrix language is). Actually depicting the second language is usually reserved for brief exchanges, for reasons of streamlining, since such depictions either have to be followed by a translation by the author or another character, or left mysteriously untranslated, which is only usually the preferred option when the speech is short and the meaning easily inferred from context.

That said, direct inclusions of second languages are very ancient. They occur repeatedly in the Bible, for example, where phrases in Aramaic are left untranslated (or explicitly translated or explained in the surrounding text) - both the Father (or Paraclete, I guess?) and Jesus talk in untranslated Aramaic sometimes.

Both these approaches - direct speech inclusion of second languages, and explicit or implicit automatic translation - are common in literature, from 19th century european literature (the Count of Monte Cristo, for instance, wanders between France, Italy and briefly IIRC Sardinia, with Turkish, English and Catalan characters, and they don't all speak French all the time), through to modern fantasy and science fiction.

I can't off hand think of any sustained nonconvergent dialogues (though doesn't that happen in The Expanse?), but there are brief examples in Tolkien, for example - one character will say "hi!" in 'English' and another will reply by saying "hi!" or the like in untranslated Sindarin, for instance.

On film, however, simultaneous subtitling allows characters to speak in their own language and still be understood.

In English-language media, depictions of bilingualism tend to be rare simply because bilingualism is relatively rare in an English-language context. However, nonconvergent dialogue does occur into 'dialects' that exist in continua with standard English - Cockney, Hiberno-Irish, Scots, or various forms of creole. Othewise, nonconvergence is most likely to be depicted in either a humorous context - the old trope of the foreigner talking in their own language (subtitled or left untranslated) while the English people around them fail to understand them for comic effect - or in confrontational contexts, in which a non-English language is chosen as an active defiance of the norm to speak English (whether or not the interlocutor is expected to understand it). A good example of this would be the opening scene of "The Wind that Shakes the Barley", in which a Black and Tan speaks in English, but the person he's talking keeps replying in Irish (and is murdered as a result) - but there are plenty of scenes where this happens in war films and the like.
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eldin raigmore
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by eldin raigmore »

“elemtilas” wrote: I'm presuming there's some kind of polyglottal translator service in use.
Yes, in the very first scene, our hero with the Korean name approaches a big blonde woman and addresses her in English.
Before he finishes she pulls her translator out of her ear and bangs it on her desk and curses it in German saying words to the effect that “this damned translator isn’t working”, only she says it in German.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

Torco wrote: 13 Feb 2021 04:22 https://youtu.be/jpFj-h1sKvs

for me mrs segev's rendition of the prelude of bach's first cello suite is the best.
It's good, although her phrasing does't quite match how I'd interpret the piece (if I could play, that is).

Obviously there's plenty of great performances of this piece on the cello, but as a more radical option, have you considered what it would sound like on the viola? Here's a viola rendition of the entire suite. I'm not claiming that this is the best version ever - although I think it's very good! - but I do think it really brings something fresh to the piece. Specifically... freshness? Moving it up to the viola range lets it keep its dignity - I wouldn't put it on a violin! - but seems to cut the weights off its feet (not just because of pitch but also because the viola isn't as cavernously resonant as the cello), and makes it feel much lighter and livelier (perhaps a little too lively, even). Some renditions of the cello suites make them sound very formal and abstract, and forget that this is dance music (well, I guess the prelude itself isn't, but it's the prelude to a suite of dances, not to a funeral...), and to me the viola seems to bring back some of that vitality.

[whatever Bach initially intended the suites to be played on - the instrument is never actually specified - if it was a string instrument it would have been much lighter than the modern equivalent. If Bach heard it played himself, it would have sounded more like this. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that that's what it should be played on now, or even that it's what Bach would prefer it to be played on (I'm not sure Mozart would prefer his piano music played on a modern piano rather than a fortepiano of his era, but I'm certain Beethoven would have wanted his music played on the most modern, robust, overengineered piano we could find, 'authenticity' be damned!)
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

And speaking of viola music, I discovered this a while back, and just remembered it.

It's the Concerto for Two Violas, by Anton Wranitzky (also known in hindsight as Antonin Vranicky). Wranitzky is one of those composers from the damned generations of the late Classical and early Romantic eras - their music fell out of style rapidly, and ever since, when anyone does want music from that style, almost all composers from that era are completely overshadowed by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. When your contemporaries include four of the ten greatest composers in history, you can be perfectly accomplished and yet still forgotten. And in any case, it's shocking how many good composers there were from every era, who simply haven't had the good luck to be remembered.

In this case, Paul and Anton Wranitzky were two brothers deeply enmeshed in the Viennese School - they were both close friends of Beethoven and on good terms with Haydn (Paul was the preferred conductor for both the great composers). Anton took composition lessons with Mozart, while Paul stepped in after Mozart's death to mediate between Mozart's widow and the publishers. Paul was a conductor; Anton was a hugely influential violin teacher (he taught Schuppenzigh), and musical director at two theatres. And both were composers: Paul wrote 51 symphonies and 56 string quartets, as well as highly popular ballets and an opera that remained in the repertoire for decades after his death - his work was held to stand alongside Haydn's, while also being innovative and progressive (both musically and politically - one of his symphonies was banned by imperial edict as overly subversive); Anton wrote 13 symphonies, 26 quartets, 10 quintets, 6 sextets, and 15 violin concertos. Both men effectively represent in part the transition from Mozart to Beethoven (Anton's "Aphrodite" symphony, for example, is programmatic and buccolic, prefiguring Beethoven's "Pastorale").

And their music is hardly ever played. But fortunately, one good thing about this era (in comparison to the following century) was its interest in ad hoc instrument ensembles (composers would write for whichever good musicians were to hand). In Anton Wranitzky's case, that's particularly true of his concerti: alongside the 15 for violin and 1 for cello, there's a double violin concerto, two concertos for violin and cello, a trio concerto for two violins and cello... and this double viola concerto. [Paul, for his part, wrote a concertante for flute and oboe]. In these modern days, in which there is a surfeit of talented soloists for every instrument imaginable just looking for a repertoire, that (and the smaller, more affordable classical orchestras) is a big selling point. There's not that many viola concerti out there, and certainly not many for double violas - which is probably why multiple recordings of this instrument exist. It would be really great if this piece could come back more widely into the repertoire.

Because it's great! Oh, it's not going to compete with the best of the best - it's fairly disposable. But it's full of ideas, and very fluid - it never feels clumsy or uncertain. The first movement isn't thrilling, but is decently, pleasantly engaging, with a very welcome minor-key section (relentless cheerfulness can be a sin of the era); the second movement is honestly delightful - perhaps not a tearjerker, but elegant and affecting. And the third movement, although it probably goes on too long and gets lost a bit in the middle, has a robust pace and a catchy tune. Altogether, it could easily pass (at least to a non-expert) for a piece of minor Mozartiana. And it really shows off the two violas as deserving solo (or duo) instruments. [the big problem with viola concerti is that the viola's range runs up against the core of the orchestra's mass - it can neither soar over the top like a violin, nor creep underneath like a cello. This problem is a lot less of an issue, however, with a lighter, classical-era orchestra, where a violin can either power through the middle, or even just have the orchestra drop out entirely without the sort of jarring effects you'd get with a full romantic orchestra coming and going].

So... yeah. Anton Wranitzky, Double Viola Concerto. Worth a listen, if you like late 18th century music!
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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Salmoneus wrote: 16 Feb 2021 01:52
Torco wrote: 13 Feb 2021 04:22 https://youtu.be/jpFj-h1sKvs
for me mrs segev's rendition of the prelude of bach's first cello suite is the best.
It's good, although her phrasing does't quite match how I'd interpret the piece (if I could play, that is).
(...)
tbh a good part of the fun of the bach cello suites is that the original manuscripts are lost -probably forever- and what original sources we do have disagree on what exactly to slur: this is, I think, for the best, since each way to bow it really does bring something to the piece. btw I really like how mr Sabbah gives that G# its due emphasis in bar 11 (around sec 37): i think this is one of the few objectively correct choices with this piece, but I can't get behind his really fluty pianissimos. Still, a cello da spalla is a great compromise [:D]
(If you have cool ideas about phrasing I'm actually interested, I'm learning it and quite unsure of which bows I'll end up liking. whose take on it are you partial to? maybe Rostropovich?)

You're, of course, correct about gravitas vs. freshness, there's a reason why soundtrack composers have apparently decided the cello is the colour of choice of both stoic heroism and sadness but, also, apparently the suites are like the bible for cellists, and people tend to play em like it was an advanced maths exam cause... well, for them, it kind of was! none of this was, of course, Bach's fault. The cavernousness is known to have accrued the instrument way after bach's time, when court musicians and chamber music were sort of upstaged by bombastic orchestras and big ass venues: luthiers and performers needed to squeeze more volume out of instruments (this is still a concern for pros, i understand) and so raised the bridge, went to metal strings, and generally tightened the instrument up immensely, but it's not a difficult case to make that at least some of the gains in resonance are just plain good: it growls beautifully, and I can't help but think Bach would have approved of the growl... the open G that acts as the bassline for most of the piece seems to all but ask for it. Totally agreed about Beethoven, and on that note, possibly mozart would have loved the una corda.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

Torco wrote: 16 Feb 2021 02:54
Salmoneus wrote: 16 Feb 2021 01:52
Torco wrote: 13 Feb 2021 04:22 https://youtu.be/jpFj-h1sKvs
for me mrs segev's rendition of the prelude of bach's first cello suite is the best.
It's good, although her phrasing does't quite match how I'd interpret the piece (if I could play, that is).
(...)
tbh a good part of the fun of the bach cello suites is that the original manuscripts are lost -probably forever- and what original sources we do have disagree on what exactly to slur: this is, I think, for the best, since each way to bow it really does bring something to the piece.
This is the pleasure of Bach for a player - even when there are proper markings, you still have to work to discover the music to a much greater extent than most later composers... and even if your intepretation is 'wrong', even objectively so, it's still often good music (which is why he adapts so well into jazz, for instance).
It's also the frustration of Bach for a listener. Yes, each performance is a little different... but none of them are quite right, damnit!
btw I really like how mr Sabbah gives that G# its due emphasis in bar 11 (around sec 37): i think this is one of the few objectively correct choices with this piece, but I can't get behind his really fluty pianissimos. Still, a cello da spalla is a great compromise [:D]
(If you have cool ideas about phrasing I'm actually interested, I'm learning it and quite unsure of which bows I'll end up liking. whose take on it are you partial to? maybe Rostropovich?)
I'm afraid I know nothing about string playing, and I also have no ear at all, and I'm pretty hopeless at describing music. So I can't be of much help. [oh, I didn't realise you played the cello] Also, I'm hopelessly unsophisticated and gauche in my musical tastes, so I'm not the best to ask!

But in general, particularly with earlier music, I like clear, three-dimensional intepretations - I generally like it when musicians are able to pick out and keep distinct contrapuntal lines (the drones throughout the prelude, and the upper notes in the middle of the piece and at the end), rather than having them blur together - those drones should form an independent melodic line, not be digressions from a single main line that otherwise takes place high above them - and I tend to like the use of dynamics to accomplish this, and to make clear the structural function of each section of the piece. I generally like the way Sabah structures this piece - although I think he makes the beginning too light and quick. (Often, when a piece is so well known it becomes a cliche, as this piece is, there's a period in which people emphasise what the audience like about it, favouring over-dramatic interpretations; and then, good musicians often respond by intentionally de-emphasising these things, favouring more austere, and these days often much faster, interpretations, and I think the way Sabah begins this is a good example of going too far in that backlash). Yes, he's right to make it sound a little light on its toes, but that doesn't mean he has to, in effect, mutter the dramatic opening lines of the oratory under his breath (and yes, shakesperian actors the same thing now as well).
[I also generally want a more flexible intepretation of tempo than the modern establishment insists upon, since I think that's almost certainly truer to the composer's intent in most cases - that's how almost all music around the world is played, and of course the metronome was only just beginning to be used in Beethoven's time. However, Bach is an example where it's right not to be too flexible - if you weaken the rhythmic lattice in Bach, it's too easy to lose control of the melody altogether, since the rhythm plays a big part in holding it together. In addition, in most Bach, the impression you should be aiming for (in my opinion) is of a great, chaotic energy... that's being held back and restrained. Only occassionally in Bach should the energy break free of the cage you put it in - which is part of why the finale of this prelude is so uplifting. (for the piano equivalent, see the first prelude of the WTC - playing it (it's the only one I can play!), it really feels like you break through at the end and are on the verge of breaking into boogie woogie...). Mostly this cage is harmonic, but it's also in part the way that a strict rhythmic frame is holding in this unformed, meandering, often syncopated melody]

But now I'm going to contradict myself.

I think there's two ways to play this prelude - and the best way is probably somewhere in the middle. One way is to treat the upper arpeggios (or lower, in some cases) as the source of the energy, in which case the drones below turn into a sort of limp in the music - the higher notes wants to be dancing on, but every so often they're, as it were, pulled back by the need to drop down to that drone, like a weight around their ankles. If you play it like this, the drone tends to be quieter, but particular sharper. It's like the cello is swimming, and every so often it has to put one toe down on the bottom just to keep itself afloat, but only the tip of its toe, and only briefly. And this approach does make sense in terms of what I said about Bach as music held within a cage - the music is trying to burst free but that drone is holding it back, until eventually it shakes loose of it. It also keeps the piece more dance-like.

However, I instinctively prefer the unsophisticated approach instead. In this approach, instead of a dancer on the beach, you're a whirling engine, or one of those test-your-strength machines at funfairs where you hit a button with a hammer and it sends a little rocket shooting up the scale... and then it falls down. In this metaphor, the drone is the hammer; the drone is the moment your mechanism comes into contact with the kinetic energy stored in the flywheel. The drone is a kick of energy pushing forward, and the arpeggios are the lightweight rocket that gets kicked up, or the fidget-spinner that you keep accelerating. It flutters up, it falls, and when it touches the drone it gets kicked up again. Here, the finale isn't the upper part breaking free FROM the weight of the drone, it's being finally shot into orbit BY the drone. If you play it like this, the arpeggios tend to be lighter, while the drone... isn't necessarily that loud, but kind of digs in.
This is in some ways probably less historically faithful to Bach's intent - perhaps. It's a more Romantic interpretation of the piece, more dramatic, more filled with struggle. On the othe hand, I think it makes it easier to get that Baroque clarity of counterpoint, because it helps you make the drone line into something independent in its own right, rather than just a limp in the upper line.

(the two approaches have to come together at the end - even if you start off with the energy in the lower part, it has to end up in the upper part after that crescendo)

I think Segev takes the former approach. I like it in theory, but I hear it too much as a single line. Sabah on his viola goes a bit more in the other direction. Yo-yo Ma also tends to go the flywheel route - an example - although he's played it so often over the decades that I imagine he must have played it every possible way by now. There's a couple of places in this rendition where he actually goes a bit too far digging it in, in my opinion, and risks being loose with the rhythm. [I also think this particular rendition sounds a bit too squeaky in places, but I don't know if that's his performance or the recording]

So... yeah. Unhelpfully vague and impressionistic opinions with no scholarly foundation!
You're, of course, correct about gravitas vs. freshness, there's a reason why soundtrack composers have apparently decided the cello is the colour of choice of both stoic heroism and sadness but, also, apparently the suites are like the bible for cellists, and people tend to play em like it was an advanced maths exam cause... well, for them, it kind of was!
As the Well-Tempered Clavier is for pianists ("The Old Testament" - the New Testament is the Beethoven sonatas). I don't think the violin partitas and sonatas have the same status for violinists, though - although the Chaconne in itself certainly does.
The cavernousness is known to have accrued the instrument way after bach's time, when court musicians and chamber music were sort of upstaged by bombastic orchestras and big ass venues: luthiers and performers needed to squeeze more volume out of instruments (this is still a concern for pros, i understand) and so raised the bridge, went to metal strings, and generally tightened the instrument up immensely
Yes and no. Yes, this is what happened. But the process began much earlier. Indeed, the process is why the cello exists at all!

The cello is essentially what happens when you make the viol more robust. It's not quite as simple as a strict evolution of one to the other - there was a long period of coexistence, and also some indirect evolution, because in general the violin modernised quicker than the cello, so some of the evolution was in effect from viol to cello via the violin - but that's effectively what happened*. The process then continued throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries - in part for the practical reason of needing more volume**, but more fundamentally also because once those initial changes had been made from the viol, the further progression was in a sense inherent to the essence of the instrument: the decision to play the cello rather than the viol was choosing a certain set of acoustic priorities over others, and from that point on the instrument simply developed to maximise those priorities more successfully as technology improved. And that means, yes, volume, but also a purer singing tone.
, but it's not a difficult case to make that at least some of the gains in resonance are just plain good: it growls beautifully, and I can't help but think Bach would have approved of the growl... the open G that acts as the bassline for most of the piece seems to all but ask for it. Totally agreed about Beethoven, and on that note, possibly mozart would have loved the una corda.
Beethoven would probably have loved the una corda piano! At least for brief periods of time. He was actually noted for his use of the una corda pedal, back when it was genuine. In his later life, many pianos he encountered (I can't remember the facts about the ones he actually owned) would have had not only an una corda, but also TWO moderators, plus a bassoon and/or lute pedal, and in some cases a janissary.

[you probably know, but for those who don't: notes on the modern piano generally trigger a hammer to hit one (in the extreme bass), two (in the bass) or three (everywhere else) strings. The details vary (some pianos even have four strings to a note). Originally, the "una corda" pedal made the hammers instead hit only one string, regardless of pitch. This makes the sound quieter, but is also changes the timbre, making it softer and clearer. However, modern pianos have lost the ability to do this: instead, the 'una corda' pedal only reduces the number of strings hit by one - so for most of the piano's range, it's actually a due corde. (in fact, Beethoven-era pedals were both una corda AND due corde - you could half-depress for two strings, and fully-depress for one string). This is an 'improvement' because it lets you play more quietly while limiting the change in timbre. But it's also a huge loss to the instrument, precisely because it loses the timbral variation. (losing timbral variation and gaining dynamic range was the big theme of piano development in the 19th century. In the case of the janissary pedal (which triggers a series of bells and whistles) this was a good thing, but I do wish they still had a genuine una corda). Anyway, someone's now built a pure una corda piano, with only one string per key, and a generally lighter construction - the sound is closer to what Beethoven or even Chopin would have intended for their soft passages (but it comes at the cost of not being able to generate the same power or weight in the harsher passages). It would make a really great domestic piano, to be honest, since most people don't need - and in terraced housing may actually regret - the power and volume of the modern piano.]

Mozart would have loved both the modern piano and the UC piano, because he loved all new instruments - he wrote pieces for glass armonica and flute-playing clock and basset clarinet - but I think he'd regret not hearing his music on pianos of his own time, which have a much plinkier, clavichordier, sound. That's part of the difference between him and Beethoven - Beethoven angrily wanted to 'improve' musical instruments to fit how he thought his music should sound, while Mozart was happy to write to meet the capabilities of any instrument he encountered...



*The biggest change historically is the design of the back and sides. Early fiddles often had the back and sides carved out of a single piece of wood - only the soundboard was meant to resonate at all. The viol family have separate backs, but they're flat (until angling up to the neck at the top). The violin family have curved backs and narrower sides.

The ultimate driver here is string tension. Increasing tension increases volume, but also creates a purer tone, which became the hallmark of the violin family. But the tension puts strain on the instrument. So how do you deal with that?
First, reduce the number of strings - cellos have four strings, whereas the viol had six or even seven. Second, ditch the gut frets - higher-tension strings just cut into them. You also don't need them as much - the fret helps to create a sharp pressure point on a low-tension string, but higher-tension strings are already less elastic so don't need the help. [losing the frets also helped the instrument play nicely with tempered harpsichords]. And make the strings thicker, eventually introducing wire-wound or even purely wire strings. This was necessary not only to withstand the higher pressures, but also to maintain bass pitches - as you increase tension, you increase pitch, unless you either increase length or string weight to compensate. But the big problem was the back and sides: the viol construction was too flimsy to withstand the strain. So instead, you make the sides narrower and arch the back to match the front (even the arched front was an innovation, of course, as seen from guitars, which retain the older flat front). This has the advantage that you can actually make the sides thinner, letting more sound out. But it has the huge disadvantage that the symmetrical back and front cancel each other out acoustically, so the violin only became viable once the soundpost was invented, which acoustically couples the front and back boards. Changing the back in this way ot only allows more tension - the original intent - but also increases volume in its own right, and inherently results in a purer sound (the viol, as well as having the scrape of the loose string, also has a sort of wobble from the loose construction of the soundbox).

This creates an instrument that is louder, but also much purer in tone (the viol is politely described as 'breathier', or impolitely described as having more of a scraping sound) - yet much less agile*** and intimate, and much harder to control phrasing and dynamics on. This resulted in a naturally escalating process: as composers wrote, and performers preferred, louder and less agile music, the instrument was both pushed forward, and freed from restraint from the need to perform the older style of music. So it gradually got louder and purer and louder and purer. The desire to compete with louder orchestras and pianos, and bigger concert halls, was certainly an additional pressure... but it's likely that the same thing would have happened eventually anyway! (it also happened to a lesser extent with instruments like the guitar, which remained domestic).


**why did they need it to be louder? Interestingly, the renaissance marked a deviation in the nature of performance. In the middle ages, most music was to be played outdoors - everything is designed to be loud and garish, hence all the shawms and bagpipes. In the renaissance, of course popular music did continue, but there was a big shift away from that and toward genteel concerts for refined folk - wind instruments almost disappeared and gentle string instruments preferred. [similarly, mediaeval musicians were most often employed by the municipality - the town band - whereas in the renaissance there was more emphasis on self-employed musicians or musicians personally employed by a wealthy person]. Then throughout the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras there's essentially a gradual reversal, as musicians are expected to perform for large and larger audiences.


***we often think of the viol for soft, melancholy music, but listen to this extract from the viol part from Marin Marais' variations on the Folia. Not that I'm suggesting you throw away your cello for a viol, of course...
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Torco »

I only play since.... oh, a year or two. very much a begginer, but if one is got to learn, why not do it with bach.

I hadn't heard that particular version of Yo-yo's. the separate bows for everything deal sort of emphasizes the mathematicalness of bach. It's a bit like "yeah, I know this was dance music, but it isn't anymore. the future is now old man". I like the analysis, and it vibes well with the extant primary sources for the piece: If you look at anna magdalena's version, the only thing that's slurred are the top notes of the arpeggio for the most part, the rest of the notes getting their own bows, and if you play it (I've not heard it done like this by pros) it really gives the piece a sort of jumpy, on-your-toes quality.
Yes and no. Yes, this is what happened. But the process began much earlier. Indeed, the process is why the cello exists at all!
Entirely correct: trying to build something that makes more sound is probably as old as instrument making, since the point is kind of to, you know, make sound. It's likely we forget how relevant this is in the age of the pickup and the mike.

I share with you the lamentation for the standarization of the piano. you can make so many cool timbres out of a keyboard, and everyone's just chasing after the same bombastic sound Liszt conquered. Thank god for MIDI.
***we often think of the viol for soft, melancholy music, but listen to this extract from the viol part from Marin Marais' variations on the Folia. Not that I'm suggesting you throw away your cello for a viol, of course...
Oh, I considered it! more precisely, my interest in the cello started as a vague notion of "I should pick up the viola da gamba". but then I noticed that gambas were expensive af, and I would probably not find any good teachers, whereas more orthodox instruments are much easier to find teachers for (especially teachers that take on adult begginers, a lot of people just work the kids), not to mention supplies. this is kind of a backwater after all. (to give you an unrelated example, there are literally no units in stock of the CPU I want to get for a new computer). Still, I fully anticipate that I'll be buying a gamba sometime in the future. I can't seem to stop myself, he wrote surrounded by a digital piano, three guitars, a violoncello and a cheap, cheap viola.

Musical instruments, kids, not even once.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Egerius »

elemtilas wrote: 14 Feb 2021 17:42 As for the reenactment, that I'd like to see! Looks like a veritable antique shop full of ancient machinery!
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by elemtilas »

Egerius wrote: 17 Feb 2021 01:00
elemtilas wrote: 14 Feb 2021 17:42 As for the reenactment, that I'd like to see! Looks like a veritable antique shop full of ancient machinery!
Follow this link.
Ironically, there is a jealous Macintosh sitting at the opposite corner of this room.
[B)]

Looks good! And it's always good to see the old machines still up and working! And of course, younger folks taking an interest in the old machines!
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by lsd »

I like the yellowing...
that seems to cling to things as to our memories that we have of them...
and to our visions that slowly become blurred...
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

Torco wrote: 16 Feb 2021 17:14
Yes and no. Yes, this is what happened. But the process began much earlier. Indeed, the process is why the cello exists at all!
Entirely correct: trying to build something that makes more sound is probably as old as instrument making, since the point is kind of to, you know, make sound. It's likely we forget how relevant this is in the age of the pickup and the mike.
Well, yes and no. Yes, volume is usually a goal of instrument-builders. But not always to the same degree, which is why a lot of instruments are considerably - sometimes even radically! - 'suboptimal' in this regard. A lot of instruments around the world are actually designed to be relatively quiet - sometimes they're even 'improved' by making them quieter. The most obvious example to hand is the oboe: a quieter, more genteel instrument that entirely replaced its predecessor, the shawm. [the shawm has a wider bore, so moves more air, but also has a massive conical flare, which makes it both very loud and very brassy; it also has a pirouette, which again increases the volume]. In the shift from the external town band to the internal consort, volume was de-emphasised, and sensitivity and warm tone were prioritised - at the same time, fiddles and rebecs were replaced by viols, metal-string citterns fell behind gut-string lutes and guitars, cylindrical flutes were replaced by conical flutes with wider bores (not necessarily quieter, but much less piercing), and wind and brass in general fell out of fashion.
I share with you the lamentation for the standarization of the piano. you can make so many cool timbres out of a keyboard, and everyone's just chasing after the same bombastic sound Liszt conquered. Thank god for MIDI.
Well, I'm glad to some extent that the piano was standardized. It enables piano music. And the quality and power of modern pianos are incredible. I also don't think that the piano, with its remarkable dynamic versatility, really needs all the registration stops/pedals that were experimented with early on.
That said, that shouldn't mean that experimentation should stop. One of the big tragedies of the decline of the classical music tradition is that musical instruments aren't (outside of random inventors and their little-seen youtube videos) being developed to the same extent as before, and even the 'last' generation of instruments were never given a repertoire - the saxophone managed to transition into jazz, but the poor, poor heckelphone is left stranded!

If I had a lot of money, and time, and connexions, there's a whole bunch of musical instruments I'd have built! Acoustics and manufacturing have both improved so much, and yet...

And coming back to the piano, it's a shame that the standard piano is SO dominant over anything else piano-shaped. The harpsichord has survived, but the clavichord should still be a thing (seriously, it's much smaller, cheaper and more portable than a piano - a good, mass-produced clavichord would actually be a very valuable teaching instrument for children!), and we should make more use of viennese fortepianos (and not just replicas) - I love Mozart on a modern piano, but we should also have more historically-informed performances of him - and why can't we still have tangent pianos damnit!?

If I really had money to burn, though, I'd have someone build a plucked piano. Modern piano tensions and string weights, but plucked. And plucked like a muselaar, not like a harpsichord. [I know there'd be mechanical problems, but that's what modernity is for, solving mechanical problems].
***we often think of the viol for soft, melancholy music, but listen to this extract from the viol part from Marin Marais' variations on the Folia. Not that I'm suggesting you throw away your cello for a viol, of course...
Oh, I considered it! more precisely, my interest in the cello started as a vague notion of "I should pick up the viola da gamba". but then I noticed that gambas were expensive af, and I would probably not find any good teachers, whereas more orthodox instruments are much easier to find teachers for (especially teachers that take on adult begginers, a lot of people just work the kids), not to mention supplies. this is kind of a backwater after all. (to give you an unrelated example, there are literally no units in stock of the CPU I want to get for a new computer). Still, I fully anticipate that I'll be buying a gamba sometime in the future. I can't seem to stop myself, he wrote surrounded by a digital piano, three guitars, a violoncello and a cheap, cheap viola.

Musical instruments, kids, not even once.
Oh, I know. Lacking money, and lacking any ability to play anything other than a keyboard, I only have a few, cheap instruments. But instruments are probably the one thing I could see myself spending ridiculous amounts of money on if I had the opportunity. Cars, watches, clothes, never really been that interersting to me, but I wouldn't mind having a bassoon, and a simple-system flute, and a heckelphone, and a rackett, and a baryton, and a....
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Torco »

this is true, there are other design constraints which are sometimes more relevant. responsiveness, tone, hell, sometimes just aesthetics: look at electric guitars. that being said, audibility and volume are not the same thing: oboes are not that loud, but they sure cut through an orchestral texture.
If I had a lot of money, and time, and connexions, there's a whole bunch of musical instruments I'd have built! Acoustics and manufacturing have both improved so much, and yet...
oh, my dude, that's the dream! someday I'll have like a house, besides which there'll be a wood shop, and then i'll join the ranks of those six sub tubers featuring their brass oversized mando-viola or whatever.

a plucked piano huh? honestly the piano mechanism is a good start: take out the final lever of the hammer and hook it up to a plectrum on rails... okay, that's gonna be at least seven thousand pounds or something.
Cars, watches, clothes, never really been that interersting to me, but I wouldn't mind having a bassoon, and a simple-system flute, and a heckelphone, and a rackett, and a baryton, and a....
Same, tbh. give me like a good second-hand subaru and I'm golden... and a guqin, have you heard that shit?
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

Torco wrote: 20 Feb 2021 06:06 this is true, there are other design constraints which are sometimes more relevant. responsiveness, tone, hell, sometimes just aesthetics: look at electric guitars. that being said, audibility and volume are not the same thing: oboes are not that loud, but they sure cut through an orchestral texture.
Oh, sure - but not to anything like the degree that a shawm does. Nothing cuts through an orchestra like a shawm, except for a bagpipe, or a buffalo being strangled. [or some of the south asian metal shawms, those are... vibrant]
If I had a lot of money, and time, and connexions, there's a whole bunch of musical instruments I'd have built! Acoustics and manufacturing have both improved so much, and yet...
oh, my dude, that's the dream! someday I'll have like a house, besides which there'll be a wood shop, and then i'll join the ranks of those six sub tubers featuring their brass oversized mando-viola or whatever.
I'd suggest wind instruments, actually - there's a lot of things you can do there that haven't been done, or at least haven't been done in a modern, western aesthetic. And many of them are actually easier to make (less glueing, more bore-ing).There certainly are things you can do with string instruments, but it's a smaller conceptual space, I think.

a plucked piano huh? honestly the piano mechanism is a good start: take out the final lever of the hammer and hook it up to a plectrum on rails... okay, that's gonna be at least seven thousand pounds or something.
Oh, the action could be much simpler than on a piano, actually! Piano hammers have to deal with three problems: turning a small motion of the key into a big motion of the hammer (in order to accelerate it to the required high velocity using only a small initial force); making the velocity of the hammer proportional to the velocity of the key; and making sure the hammer immediately bounces back off the string (because otherwise it immediately damps the sound, or redefines the string length). This is insanely difficult, which is why it took centuries for anyone to invent a working piano action, and several centuries more before the modern action was perfected. Harpsichord jacks, by contrast, are extremely simple - once you realise you can pivot them out of the way after plucking the string, you're sorted (they're ultra-light and you only need a small motion to pluck; plucking velocity doesn't translate to volume so there's no point even trying to conserve key velocity informaiton; and because plucking goes past the string rather than into it, you don't have the problem of removing the quill). As a result, harpsichord actions have only four or five parts, whereas piano actions have dozens.

For anyone who doesn't know how a piano works, here's a diagram of a piano action: working out what's going on here is left as an exercise for the ingenious reader! (personally, I couldn't tell my spoon from my wippen...). Upright pianos, by the way, are even more complicated, since they can't cheat by using gravity.

Now, a centre-plucked instrument would have additional complications compared to a harpsichord. In particular, rapid notes are more difficult, so I'd probably have two strings, or sets of strings, with some sort of alternator system so that alternate keystrokes trigger alternate string jacks.

You could make it dynamic-sensitive with a pivoting device that slides the jack further from or closer to the string... but that would probably require a much bigger instrument, to create enough space between the strings, as well as some complicated mechanisms. Instead, I'd go the route of multiple registrations - in particular, by playing with the dampers. Instead of harpsichord-like manual registration levers, you could have register keys, or just take advantage of the fact that velocity and key-press-depth would be 'unused' information slots that could be rerouted to control registration...

(if you ever become a millionaire and want to build one of these, get in touch and I'll go into more detail!)

Cars, watches, clothes, never really been that interersting to me, but I wouldn't mind having a bassoon, and a simple-system flute, and a heckelphone, and a rackett, and a baryton, and a....
Same, tbh. give me like a good second-hand subaru and I'm golden... and a guqin, have you heard that shit?
Yes, I have - the guqin is one of the big inspirations for the main instrument of my main conculture. Although personally I have limited patience for actual guqin music - the instrument itself has a great sound, but all the string-scraping, sound-of-silence business I'm less fond of. At the other end of the timbral universe of plucked zithers, presumably you've also heard the zheng?


-------

This week's instrument-I-hadn't-heard-of-before: the tartold. It's basically a renaissance rackett, but in the shape of a dragon.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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