Classical Corner Classical Music Corner (thread #70)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 7, 2015.

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  1. Bachtoven

    Bachtoven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Davis, CA
    This new SACD is simply fantastic, from the thrilling and incisive playing to the demonstration quality sound.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    Now playing CD4 - Works by Debussy from the following box for a first listen ...

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Daedalus

    Daedalus Forum Resident

    I have been working through this box ( and several others). There are some wonderful performances of very diverse repertoire on that box. Another desert island box set.
     
  4. George P

    George P Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
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  5. John S

    John S Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Barenboim claims that there is "blurring" caused by the lower strings crossing over the higher strings, and that a straight strung layout corrects that. Maybe, but I'm betting the difference is mighty subtle and not discernible in a high-res recording.

    The other question is, since a straight strung grand doesn't add that much bulk, why did Steinway cross the lower strings in the first place?
     
  6. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    George,

    Just a thought: the gorts are now allowing topics to exceed 1,000 posts, they let them run infinitely - the current Jazz Beat thread, for instance. Why not do the same here?
     
  7. George P

    George P Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    I don't know, J.A.W. Have you asked a Gort? I have to assume if starting over in this thread was unnecessary after 1000, then they would have told me when I requested the last few to be locked.
     
  8. George P

    George P Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Since this is the second time this topic has come up (and I don't have the authority to answer) l have contacted the Gorts to get clarification, J.A.W.
     
  9. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    I recently was told by one of the gorts that they now let some threads run infinitely; they don't want to interrupt "the flow", so to speak. The Jazz Beat thread is one of them, but there are others too.
    I'll "report" this post, so maybe one of the gorts can chime in.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  10. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    I think the, er, short answer is, because with overstringing you can get a longer bass string, and hence a lower fundamental, for a given overall length of piano case. That may well have been a particular issue back in the 19th c., when casting iron in the size of a one-piece iron piano plate was a major technological accomplishment. I imagine anything that reduced the size of the plate would greatly reduce the challenge of the process.
     
  11. Bachtoven

    Bachtoven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Davis, CA
    Scarlatti played on a Bosendorfer Imperial Grand? Yes indeed, and they sound great! (No, he doesn't actively use the extra octave of bass, but it probably adds some subtle overtones.) Compared the ferociously difficult music that he normally plays (Sorabji, Godowsky, Busoni, for instance), these sonatas must seem like child's play, but his astounding technique allows him to effortlessly play some rather tricky ornaments. and he lavishes each one with special care regarding dynamics, phrasing, and touch. Superb sound. This is the first of 3 volumes--each has 90 sonatas contained on 6 discs, so he's about half-way through the set!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. George P

    George P Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    I have Grante playing the Godowsky etudes on the same label.

    Trivia - some of his recordings of these etudes were used in the Hatto-hoax.
     
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  13. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Actually, the Scarlatti may be even more demanding, because it's so exposed. Play a wrong note in a big, thick score by Busoni and there's a good chance nobody will notice. Play one in Scarlatti, and it's right out there for everyone to hear. Combine that with Scarlatti's fondness for hopping all over the keyboard in rapid-fire leaps, and you have a veritable keyboard minefield.
     
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  14. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
  15. John S

    John S Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I'm not sure what you mean by "lower fundamental" because wouldn't a longer bass string change the actual frequency? Anyway, the difference in the size of the plate seems to be minimal in the two.

    The Barenboim:
    [​IMG]

    The Steinway:
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    At least this is not like the set by Scott Ross with 35 or 36 CD's IIRC. Over 30 CD's for Scarlatti works in a box is a bit much for me, even for someone who enjoys piano music ... :righton:
     
  17. jukes

    jukes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern Finland
    Interesting, after the first listen I thought: that's the Brahms cycle for the rest of my life (it's a hires flac set: that could have influenced me). Then, afterwards, I began to wonder why I'm not overwhelmed by it even though the most important aspects (beginning with interpretation) are all fine: there's not a young dude fiddling with a province orchestra & making weird decisions during the recording process. (For some reason Szell haven't made me wholly convinced, but Klemperer sure belongs to my top three too.)
     
  18. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    OK, you asked for it! ;) From Wikipedia [oh, bother: the forum treats the symbols as images and won't let me post everything as one message, so I'll have to break it up across several]:

    Once the speed of propagation is known, the frequency of the sound produced by the string can be calculated. The speed of propagation of a wave is equal to the wavelength [​IMG] divided by the period [​IMG], or multiplied by the frequency [​IMG]:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    If the length of the string is [​IMG], the fundamental harmonic is the one produced by the vibration whose nodes are the two ends of the string, so [​IMG] is half of the wavelength of the fundamental harmonic. Hence one obtains Mersenne's laws:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    where [​IMG] is the tension (in Newton), [​IMG] is the linear density (that is, the mass per unit length), and [​IMG] is the length of the vibrating part of the string.
    Therefore:

    • the shorter the string, the higher the frequency of the fundamental
    • the higher the tension, the higher the frequency of the fundamental
    • the lighter the string, the higher the frequency of the fundamental
    Moreover, if we take the nth harmonic as having a wavelength given by [​IMG], then we easily get an expression for the frequency of the nth harmonic:

    [​IMG]
     
  21. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    And for a string under a tension T with density [​IMG], then

    [​IMG]
    [end quotation of mathematical folderol]

    So while you can, at least up to a point, get a given low note from a shorter string, to do so you have to mess with the tension (which, of course, is what a tuner does for each note) and weight (which is why bass strings are wrapped with an additional layer of copper wire), which affects the character of the sound. Because the longer string naturally wants to vibrate at the lower frequency, it yields a "nicer" low note than one that must be tricked into it by tensioning, and overstringing lets you pack a longer bass string into a given space by, so to speak, making use of the "diagonal measure" universally beloved of TV tube marketers. At least, so goes the theory. I'm neither a scale designer nor a piano technician, nor do I play one on TV, but that's my understanding.

    One challenge in scale design is getting seamless tone quality across the break from straight to overstrung. Looking at those radically split bridges, I'd expect similar problems in that region of the Barenboim design. Not to say they can't be solved satisfactorily, just as they have been in the better overstrung instruments, and with Steinway involved I'd assume they've been thoroughly addressed, but that's where I'd look first for issues.
     
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  22. John S

    John S Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Thanks David. Now it's all clear as a bell! :doh:
    I'm not going to pretend to understand the math involved, but to put it in simpler terms, I think Barenboim's point is that the proximity of the lower overstrung strings to the notes immediately above interfere with or change the natural overtones produced, particularly in multiple undampened (played) notes in the area.

    [​IMG]
    Vibrational modes of an ideal string, dividing the string length into integer divisions, producing harmonic partials (overtones) f, 2f, 3f, 4f, etc. (where f means fundamental frequency).
     
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  23. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------
    I can't imagine the differences being subtle at all. The differences of two pianos that are the same make and model are rarely subtle.
     
  24. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    There's a "back to the future" quality about this whole thing. Harpsichords and early pianos (what we call "fortepianos") were all straight strung, and so were the "square grands" that were fixtures of just about every parlor in America during the Victorian era.

    [​IMG]
    (A particularly florid example of the breed.)

    Indeed, if memory serves, the first piano built and sold by Heinrich Steinweg was a square. Granted, squares were strung crosswise rather than fore-and-aft, but they did supposedly have a characteristic sound very different from that of their modern upright and wing counterparts. As an aside, they also take special parts, tools, and skills to service; never buy one not in working order with the idea that you can call up your local tuner and have it easily fixed.
     
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  25. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Hmmm...Come to think of it, isn't that just a kissing cousin to the idea that in speakers the various drivers should be placed in isolated compartments to prevent the backwave of one from affecting the output of another?
     
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