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Topic: Dynamics in a Taped Recital  (Read 1092 times)

Offline jam8086

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Dynamics in a Taped Recital
on: May 15, 2006, 01:46:58 AM
Hello all,

I just watched a tape of a recital I played today, and, first of all, I would just like to tell everyone that if you haven't done it, you should, because it is extremely helpful (this is the first time I taped a recital, besides probably my first recital ever when I was about 7).  However, I noticed that in the tape, everything I played seem to be at about the same dynamic level.  I'm pretty sure I played with dynamics, and I mentioned this to my dad, and he said that he thought the tape cut a lot of the variation in dynamics out too.  The camera we used is about 10-15 years old, so its really not very good, and the sound was also extremely tinny, whereas live it was very good.  Has anybody else had this problem with taping a recital, or does the tape tell all truths, no matter how brutal, and I just played very unmusically?


Offline daniloperusina

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Re: Dynamics in a Taped Recital
Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 07:13:05 AM
Your description sounds as if there was an issue with recording level. Some recorders can be set to "automatic", which usually means that the machine regulates the level continously; i.e. when you play softly it raises the level, and when you play loudly it lowers it. On playback everything will sound as if it's played at the same dynamic level.

In pop music they generally use sofisticated equipment to achieve the same effect, called "compression". There it is used for two reasons mainly: to make a track sound as loud as possible, constantly near distortion-point but never crossing it (the theory being that the loudest song played on the radio will sell the best); and also to even out "poor" musicians and singers lack of capability to control their dynamic levels.

In classical (and jazz?) the opposite is often the case. One wants to hear every nuance in as great a detail as possible, so no compression.

Even the lowest quality recorders, and cheapest microphones, are capable of capturing your dynamics to some extent, and correctly set, it will always be clearly audible.

You probably need to check if there is a "manual" setting for recording level. If there is, you should set it so that your loudest playing is just below distortion point. If set too low, there will be to much noise, and the softest details will go unnoticed; if set too high, your loud playing will distort, and the difference between soft and loud will be compromised as the recorder reaches it's maximum level too soon and just distorts whatever is louder than that, without making it louder.

Please check and post again!

Offline quantum

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Re: Dynamics in a Taped Recital
Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 09:58:11 AM
I concur with the above reply. 

For normal voice conversations, people talking at parties, and othe social situations etc. the dynamic level can go up and down quite often and if recorded at a fixed level.  You would continually need to play with the volume on your TV set when watching the video in order to hear what someone is saying, and turn it down when there are some loud noises. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Dynamics in a Taped Recital
Reply #3 on: May 19, 2006, 03:14:51 AM
Definitely recording technology is not perfect, and anyways, people all hear something in a different way.  The great pianists of the past when recording on these old phonographs or whatever, apparently had to greatly reduce the sound of the left hand, as the recording machines picked up bass sounds much easier than treble.  They were playing normally of course, but it was the technology itself that interfered.  They learned though, how to cope.  If you have to record again with the same device, perhaps there are changes you can make in yoru playing to adjust to the devices faults.  If it is important to you.  it could be a fun exercise!

Walter Ramsey

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