Piet De Ridder wrote:
That argument only stands if one is able to recreate all the "pleasingly complex and living shortcomings" with near perfect accuracy, no? And it also requires — before all else, in fact — that the actual timbre of the virtual instrument is as good as identical to the original which it emulates.
If either or both of these requirements can't be accomplished to absolute perfection — and I fear that that is still very much the case with all of today's virtual instruments --, then what's the point, I wonder, of considering score-based evidence or historically-informed expertise as a law to abide by?
no, i don't think so. the current models, when tweaked & customized, already do a wonderfully convincing job of producing the "timbre" of their real-world counterparts (even with the limitations of the midi controller's action, albeit with particular velocity curves), and the acid test for me is that i'm able to forget while working at a given Pianoteq instrument that it's a virtual model. i think that having a powerful enough speaker setup which tries to emulate soundboard radiation and with full spectral response is key to the pursuit of having the sense of the living presence of the instrument in the room, and so the idea of factoring into that the actual spatial resonance of the room the instrument is in (on top of whatever IR/reverb one is using in producing the sound) seems to me to be an interesting experiment if nothing else in how one might further "liven" that sense of presence. i don't know what "perfection" here is, but certainly being able to read the score and give voice to what the composer is trying to tell us is perhaps a not unworthy pursuit... i've never held my own musicianship in such high regard, for instance, as to think that i don't have something further to learn from Bach, Beethoven, and co... i don't see this as being a matter of law, but rather honest devotion to those genius musical minds. if we can approach their music perhaps a little more the way they themselves heard it, then i believe that that enriches and nourishes our own musical understanding. your mileage may vary.
I also don't go along with condemning the work of pre-20th century composers exclusively to originals or replicas of instruments — no matter how fine and historically accurate — that they themselves knew, as if that's the only valid way to render this music as it was conceived.
no one's talking about "condemning" anything. i have the highest regard for interpreters on modern instruments (Richter being my idol in that sphere, & Goode a close runner-up ). but, to my ear, the timbre of the instrument (and it's link then to how one can render the instructions of the composer) makes all the difference in the world to how "truly spoken" a work sounds. to be sure, one gleans amazing things by having a work "translated" on an instrument of a different stripe—i am a "Proustaholic" for instance and, as much as the original French of La recherche is stunning (for all its formidable difficulty), i also love the Enright English translation for its own particular beauty—but, as Bilson suggests in that lecture-dem, aspects of the work will thus perforce be forever hidden. as the Duke said, "if it sounds good, it is good", so again, no one's making any sort of claim to exclusive validity of interpretation, but rather that perhaps there's much we can learn by trying to play the music of the great pianist composers on their terms to the extent that we can ascertain them.
Beethoven, for example, most definitely wrote for an instrument which he didn't have, simply because it didn't exist yet. We know that from his frustration (pertaining to pianos) frequently expressed in his letters.
this notion has been argued to death, and so i won't continue to abuse its exquisite corpse. i will just say that certainly the expansion of the octave compass, the evolution of wienermechanik, and all the other beefing-up that pianos went through during the late 18th and into the early 19th centuries was in no small part a direct response to temperamental (as it were ) Ludwig, but this is a far thing from then saying that he, one of the greatest keyboardists of all time, wasn't intensely interested in, involved with, and composing to the qualities of the piano he actually hand under the hands, but rather labored in a sort of prison looking toward something which, as you say, wasn't even invented yet. Occam's razor here seems to tell me that ol' stone face was more practical than all that...
And as much as I like, say, Bach on harspichord or clavichord, I also believe that that music can just as well become all it was intended to be when it's performed, insightfully of course, on a modern instrument.
"intended" is a dirty & thorny word... i don't know what Bach intended, but i do try to listen and understand what he's trying to tell me on his terms and in his musical language.
finally, let me please just add that i never "intended" this to be a discussion about historic instruments vs modern instruments, performance practice & interpretation, etc (as surely interesting these tangential topics undoubtedly are), but rather about the notion of somehow accounting for the acoustic properties of the actual room and their interaction with the sympathetic resonance of the virtual undampened strings (from which I believe the modern instruments would equally benefit).
Last edited by DaveyJones (14-04-2017 16:29)
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