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Topic: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

i was working with a student today on some Bach on the Grimaldi [a'=415Hz, Lehman III (2006)] and, through a discussion about articulations and "playing to the concert space", ended up discussing sympathetic resonance...

while the current model does an admirable job of harmonic [ wink ] interactions, it perforce lacks the ambient resonance of the actual acoustic stage (ie one of my examples of the phenomenon was how, on an actual acoustic instrument with all dampers lifted, one can sing a pitch into it and the instrument will resonantly reproduce it), and so it occurred to me ('probably completely crazy, i know!): what if the app were equipped with a mic input that provided it with real-time resonant data?  perhaps/probably too much to handle in real-time processing?  but if cpu parallelism were well advantaged then maybe possible without some sort of quantum zukunfts processing?  big_smile  not that i'm actually suggesting singing into the thing à la Gould while playing (truly, heavens forfend!!), but rather that the instrument is "suggestible"/susceptible to such input as provided by spatial reflections beyond its reverb settings...?

feel free to throw your tomatoes at this admittedly 'spirited' idea, but 'am just throwing it out there and am curious to hear the perspective of others!  big_smile

cheers,
dj

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

I also had the same idea.

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

scherbakov.al wrote:

I also had the same idea.

'good to know i'm not the only mad one!  wink

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

That is not a good idea. Why about Microphone, the better signal is directly digital. With headphones it would not work either.

Pianoteq 6 Pro with all pianos

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

Urs Zimmermann wrote:

the better signal is directly digital.

except that, in the model's current implementation, it can't completely accurately replicate the acoustic properties of undampened strings in regards to their sympathetic resonance.  admittedly this is a degree of finesse but, as i'm always fond of observing, the beauty & character of any instrument lies in its imperfections (which are not limited to the instrument alone, but additionally to the characteristics of the room and what all other sound 'artifacts'—sopranos, say wink —are bouncing around).   



Urs Zimmermann wrote:

With headphones it would not work either.

fair point.  but even the nicest of headphones don't do full justice to the model anyway vs a full spectrum monitors and sub setup... just say'n... wink

cheers,
dj

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

I had posited this is a different thread about a month ago.
http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/viewtopic.php?id=4905
reply #31

Not that I regard this as a GOOD artifact of wooden pianos that is at all worth producing - I dislike the general trend toward imitating all the shortcomings of wooden pianos from 100+ years ago.
The electronic instrument is built from different components, it is not constrained by wood, felt and stretched metal and I see no GOOD reason to imitate the incidental effects of those materials - they add NOTHING to the MUSIC.

Last edited by aandrmusic (13-04-2017 20:19)

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

aandrmusic wrote:

I dislike the general trend toward imitating all the shortcomings of wooden pianos from 100+ years ago.
The electronic instrument is built from different components, it is not constrained by wood, felt and stretched metal and I see no GOOD reason to imitate the incidental effects of those materials - they add NOTHING to the MUSIC.

well, coming from the perspective of having played & taught 18th & 19th century repertoire on actual 18th & 19th century pianos for a couple of decades now, i COMPLETELY disagree with you.  smile

in my experience, it is those very "shortcomings" which make an instrument characteristic and pleasingly complex in its "living" & individual sound, and not something dry, synthetic, and "soulless"—do the Pianoteq instruments you use have all their settings in "perfect" condition and have you turned off all the action noises etc?  if not, then try it and tell me how much you like the sound... wink —and further, to the MUSIC, it is that very particular character of those instruments that we can observe (entirely from score-based internal evidence on its own, to say nothing of historic anecdote) all the great & cannonic composers having written idiomatically for what they actually had under the hands and NOT for some mysteriously "perfect instrument of the future".  but then all those old dead guys were consummate pianists intimately attuned to their instruments, whereas in our age of the "perfection" of the modern piano that level of technical proficiency at the instrument seldom accompanies compositional intent, so i guess i can understand how the notion of writing with the qualities of a particular instrument in mind might now seem a foreign one to some.

look, my impression, aandrmusic, is that you've pretty well made up your mind here, but nonetheless i'll offer my old mentor's take on the subject of old pianos as he elucidates this stuff much more cleverly and artfully than i can writing over the internet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaODna4KVcM .

cheers,
dj

Last edited by DaveyJones (14-04-2017 00:32)
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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

Davey,

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?

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.
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. 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.

_

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

Piet,

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... wink  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.  big_smile

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 wink ).  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 tongue ) 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... wink   


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... big_smile  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).

cheers,
dj

Last edited by DaveyJones (14-04-2017 16:29)
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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

The major DP manufacturers have developed some very good keyboard actions - VPC-1, Casio/Beckstein G-300, and lately, Kawai.  Their goal seems to focus on  present day high end acoustic pianos.

So a question for DaveyJones since you have a lot of experience teaching on the classic vintage pianos:

What DP actions either present or in the past several years best represent the actions of those older acoustic pianos?

Lanny

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

Sorry, Davey, still not quite with you, I’m afraid. And basically, because I simply can’t go along with the words ‘wonderfully convincing’ to describe the timbres and musical behaviour of virtual instruments with.

The only way in which I’m prepared to call virtual instruments convincing is when they’re evaluated for what they are, on their own terms, but never for what they’re capable — 'incapable' comes perhaps closer to le mot juste — of delivering when assuming an identity that isn’t theirs.

_

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

LTECpiano wrote:

What DP actions either present or in the past several years best represent the actions of those older acoustic pianos?

none, clearly.  but, while not entirely beside the point of timbre, still not such a crucial make-or-break proposition either i find.  plus, setting the hardware-level key velocity/weighting in addition to an instrument-specific  software velocity map gives entirely satisfactory results.  can i have the sensation of physically bouncing the weight of a prell mechanik on my midi controller?  no, so i suppose tactile feedback mechanisms might be something else to consider for our keyboard of the future... big_smile  but really, the sound artifact has enough nuance already to accommodate the end result of such physical interactions.

Last edited by DaveyJones (14-04-2017 15:08)
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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

Piet De Ridder wrote:

Sorry, Davey, still not quite with you, I’m afraid. And basically, because I simply can’t go along with the words ‘wonderfully convincing’ to describe the timbres and musical behaviour of virtual instruments with.

The only way in which I’m prepared to call virtual instruments convincing is when they’re evaluated for what they are, on their own terms, but never for what they’re capable — 'incapable' comes perhaps closer to le mot juste — of delivering when assuming an identity that isn’t theirs.


de gustibus non est disputandumsmile
i truly understand and am sympathetic to the philosophic basis for wanting to deny virtual instruments a place alongside acoustic ones, but isn't the whole point of these lovely virtual pianos to recreate, with as much fidelity as possible, those same acoustic ones?  and so isn't the measure of their "convincing-ness" the true factor for their evaluation?  if they are so odious to you, why do you even bother then with these "recreative" models at all?  i find that, for my ends of teaching, coaching, and even [gasp] some performing, they're a delight to work with and do pretty much all i need them to by way of making music.  but then i'm old/soft enough to be somewhat forgiving and perhaps less critical of what may well to others appear as gross flaws.  i'd certainly like to see the ability of the models to further approach that ever-receding goal of "presence" which, i believe, is wrapped-up with all the nuances and imperfections of the original physical instruments.  but don't we all want instruments that sound and feel more "alive"?  are we looking for "pianos" of some sort (albeit here virtually constructed), or rather a synthetic sound that removes itself from the physical origins that prompted it in the first place?

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

A bit of a misunderstanding, it appears. I don’t find virtual instruments odious. Quite the contrary, in often demonstrated fact. Nor do I deny them a place alongside real ones. As long as it is — for certain repertoire and/or purposes anyway — a distinctly different place.

_

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

Piet De Ridder wrote:

A bit of a misunderstanding, it appears. I don’t find virtual instruments odious. Quite the contrary, in often demonstrated fact. Nor do I deny them a place alongside real ones. As long as it is — for certain repertoire and/or purposes anyway — a distinctly different place.

i didn't really think you found them odious but rather i was making a feeble attempt at rhetoric. big_smile
but your "distinctly different place" leaves me puzzling.  say i want to play some Schubert and, not having an actual Graf physical replica on hand anymore (that's a different story! not to mention the whole conundrum of physical replica instruments vs actual historic instruments), turn to my beautifully rendered Pianoteq Graf [a¹ = 438 Hz, Young (1807)]... if the end result is musically faithful to Schubert's indications, then doesn't that leave the whole question of whether the instrument in question is physical or virtual moot?  and further, trying to move back on topic, wouldn't it be nice to pursue the elusive ideal of having that instrument seem as lifelike as its physical counterpart?  surely this would be a boon on all fronts?

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

I don't know about you guys, but my virtual piano is 'feeling' a whole lot better since I added an 8" subwoofer - adds to the feeling of struck keys as the subwoofer resonates into my upright piano and back to the keyboard.  Somewhere I have a 'butt-kicker' transducer that I've used for a flight simulator, having had it clamped to the 'pilot's seat' (desk chair).  I will have to try clamping that to the back of the piano's case as well for even more physical feedback to the keyboard....

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

dklein wrote:

I don't know about you guys, but my virtual piano is 'feeling' a whole lot better since I added an 8" subwoofer - adds to the feeling of struck keys as the subwoofer resonates into my upright piano and back to the keyboard.  Somewhere I have a 'butt-kicker' transducer that I've used for a flight simulator, having had it clamped to the 'pilot's seat' (desk chair).  I will have to try clamping that to the back of the piano's case as well for even more physical feedback to the keyboard....

a whole other dimension to sympathetic resonance (tho, not really what i'm thinking of in terms of undampened strings), but preach it brother!  big_smile
if i don't feel it in the soles of my feet then that sub's pot is too low...!  wink

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

I think Pianoteq is trying to capture the sound of a recorded piano, more than playing one live (which would require speakers/monitors to be both good and set up in a unique way).

I think using an impulse response of your own room might help though, but you should still be able to play responsively to whatever the situation is (even if its the emulated sound of another piano recorded in an emulated other room). Just get into it emotionally.

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

musichascolors wrote:

I think Pianoteq is trying to capture the sound of a recorded piano, more than playing one live (which would require speakers/monitors to be both good and set up in a unique way).

but, for those of us with the time, money, & inclination to have invested in a high-end setup dedicated to emulating soundboard radiation, the goal of simulating "presence" with the greatest fidelity is the holy grail.  and, while it's true that Pianoteq does largely cater to recorded sounding instruments, it doesn't entirely neglect the more immediate impression of live playing (which is why we have all those stock "daily practice", "player", and "binaural" fxps for instance, not to mention the constant improvements to the model geared at replicating the "true" sound of the instrument)... wink 

I think using an impulse response of your own room might help though, but you should still be able to play responsively to whatever the situation is (even if its the emulated sound of another piano recorded in an emulated other room). Just get into it emotionally.

an IR of one's own room is an interesting idea, but again not really a solution to the physical properties of the strings regarding sympathetic resonance.  i do use IRs to help tease-out a sense of cabinet resonance, but prefer to let whatever space the instrument is in do its own talking.  of course one plays responsively to the space (a discussion of which with a student being what prompted the notion of live inputs for Pianoteq's modelling of sympathetic resonance in the first place) but, tangentially, i don't think that that's a matter of being "emotional"—quite the opposite, really—but rather more a question of, split-personality-like, getting out of one's own head (no easy feat!) and being a responsive listener while simultaneously internally giving voice to the composition at hand (ie it's not enough to just be "performer"; one must be "audience" as well)...

cheers,
dj

Last edited by DaveyJones (21-04-2017 12:21)
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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

aandrmusic wrote:

I had posited this is a different thread about a month ago.
http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/viewtopic.php?id=4905
reply #31

Not that I regard this as a GOOD artifact of wooden pianos that is at all worth producing - I dislike the general trend toward imitating all the shortcomings of wooden pianos from 100+ years ago.
The electronic instrument is built from different components, it is not constrained by wood, felt and stretched metal and I see no GOOD reason to imitate the incidental effects of those materials - they add NOTHING to the MUSIC.

Those shortcomings are the inherent characteristics of the piano models which relied on the basic piano mechanisms not material resources (very much unlike for instance modern Japonaise models). Possible that some of those ''features'' are those of the basic piano archetypes and not the product of trademark bias (patentable). Besides, it is the inherent characteristics of a physical piano which originally set how a piano has to sound. It is therefore logical that Pianoteq will try to mimic those ''shortcomings''.

A ''friend'' told me that when Germany lost the war in WWII, the Russians took control of Zeiss factories where microscopes were being built. While the pro-line of microscopes (sold by Lomo, a Russian company) have to be regularly changed, the basic ''student'' line uses the design of the pre-war German Zeiss. See, the reason is that the student series of lenses rely on simple geometrical figures, not on process which requires material resources (unstable in time). The limiting factors here are the basic geometry and non-composite materials. More alternatives you have, more complex (in this case lens) models with permutable elements and substitutes with different configurations. This being so, all the pro-lines are replaced depending on the availability of new materials, new technic and mathematical models, etc.

The simplest piano models are based on mostly renewable resources, basic geometry, etc. in a few hundred years from now, those will all still be available; and there is a chance that those shortcomings you call them will come as the price. While all those new features of modern piano's will be replaced when the composites, or models of productions are to be replaced (and since they rely on arbitrary processes no reason to come back)...

...in short, since composites and molecules are regularly changed with cheaper alternatives, and with them new characteristics...
...untainted wood... will far outlive them. smile

Last edited by Lucy (29-04-2017 03:22)

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

long live imperfect & impermanent wood and it's equally imperfect & impermanent virtual representation!  big_smile

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Re: sympathetic vibrations/resonance

hmmm...  smile

Added later: But those imperfections and impermanents (of wood) are chosen by nature, they are not set by some arbitrary mix of compositions depending on the preferences and limited knowledge of an engineer (which will be replaced the day he'll be replaced). At least when nature does it, God takes the credit and he is not mortal and won't therefore be replaced. smile

Last edited by Lucy (29-04-2017 02:27)