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Anonymous
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Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven?
      #977053 - 20/03/12 02:36 PM
I read an interesting article about Beethoven and how his music changed accordingly with his increasing hearing loss. Got me to thinking if any equivalent happens in modern music production. I suppose bias is often avoided by consensus. If so, I can also imagine the exact opposite happens -that high frequencies are not attenuated enough. But of course, if a producer lost his hearing to the same extent as Beethoven, it'd be game over.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8967711/Beethovens-hearing-lo ss-linked-to-lack-of-high-notes-in-his-music-research.html


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clisma



Joined: 02/03/06
Posts: 204
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #977069 - 20/03/12 03:52 PM
Looks like an interesting connection. Thanks for pointing it out, although it was really hard to ignore all the many, many wrong dates the author quotes, and the poor orthography...

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Just a piano and some sketch paper please...


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Chaconne



Joined: 21/02/05
Posts: 1373
Loc: Oxford
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #977115 - 20/03/12 06:47 PM
That was not the best article in the world...the guy even admitted that it lacked any statisticaly significant analysis.

It is an old game. Its quite often commented on that the later piano sonatas have quite spaced out parts, lots of low bass and high melody. Was this to help definition? The intro to the seventh symphony sometimes flops when he gives a part to violas and they stuggle to be heard. And there is no doubting he does insist sometimes on his ryhthms being hammered out. On the other hand which composer does not have sometimes annoying habits?

Yet its quite clear in the details of his work that deafness in no way prevented him from acheiving his vision. People just have to accept that he could hear every effect in his head that he put to paper - every inner voice and counterpoint detail just came out fluently like we speak - and he could hear scores like we read books - like all the other geniuses.

I dont think this has much to say about older producers who cannot hear enough 'top' anymore! That has nothing to do with the language Beethoven spoke. How many of them could hear a bassline on paper, let a lone a whole symphony - never mind compose one. A few gifted ones aside.

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Anonymous
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Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: Chaconne]
      #977157 - 21/03/12 01:10 AM
RE: "People just have to accept that he could hear every effect in his head that he put to paper - every inner voice and counterpoint detail just came out fluently like we speak - and he could hear scores like we read books - like all the other geniuses."

I thought it was an interesting idea anyway. But I do think any composer is (and should be) influenced by what they can actually hear throughout their life. Not being able to try things out probably hindered Beethoven in some ways but less so in others. He may well have explored instruments that he was unfamiliar with. We don't know that if he could have heard his later orchestral music performed that he wouldn't have made some changes. I mean, what about the affect of the acoustics on all the instruments in a concert hall, how this is influenced by their position, and so on? This profoundly influences orchestration.

This being able to hear music from a written score 'in the head' is not some mysterious gift, it's really a matter of practice. Conductors must learn to do it also. I presume those composers didn't hear it exactly like a recording playing. I know the difference between a hallucination and a vivid impression, so perhaps he could hear it like a hallucination all the time, I don't know.

But I don't think he had superhuman senses or anything, I just think he was a revelatory composer. I read about Beethoven complaining that he was the only one who can't hear his own music. We know he contemplated suicide because of his hearing loss, so that shows how vital he thought it to be.


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Paggos



Joined: 29/02/12
Posts: 23
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #977162 - 21/03/12 03:45 AM
For me, music puts me in another world, a world either i want to be, or it's me explaining what i wish the world would be...without words of course.
I think music is sort of a fantasy, and you have to breathe it, live in it, and only then will you achieve what you want to achieve...but thats just my opinion...he lived inside music, so no matter what...it was always embedded into his soul.

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Interested in my music?
www.soundcloud.com/paggos


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narcoman
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Posts: 8519
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #977171 - 21/03/12 07:05 AM
Why do you think pop records a so bright? The big names are all well over 40.



Haha




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OneWorld



Joined: 07/04/09
Posts: 1903
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: narcoman]
      #977379 - 22/03/12 12:04 AM
Quote narcoman:

Why do you think pop records a so bright? The big names are all well over 40.



Haha







Yes, it's enough to give you the Hump....erdink :-\


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Fealow



Joined: 15/03/12
Posts: 103
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: narcoman]
      #977383 - 22/03/12 12:17 AM
Quote narcoman:

Why do you think pop records a so bright? The big names are all well over 40.



Haha







Comedy aside that is a good point, There have been a number of recent pop records in the last few years where I have thought to myself "Oow... that hi-hat/cymbal was a bit harsh" or "That guitar has left my ear feeling a bit full"


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OneWorld



Joined: 07/04/09
Posts: 1903
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: Fealow]
      #977503 - 22/03/12 02:55 PM
Quote Fealow:

Quote narcoman:

Why do you think pop records a so bright? The big names are all well over 40.



Haha







Comedy aside that is a good point, There have been a number of recent pop records in the last few years where I have thought to myself "Oow... that hi-hat/cymbal was a bit harsh" or "That guitar has left my ear feeling a bit full"




A friend and I were in the pub (many stories begin like that!) and he is a music fan but from a listener's perspective, he is not a musician. Anyway we just left one particular pub where they'd had a new sound system installed, no doubt digital I suppose. But he, without any prompting said "that music sounded 'brittle', a harsher feel to it" That is when it occurred to me, yes, that is an artefact which digital seems to carry with it. people from our generation were brought up on analogue, and at first were greatly impressed with the clarity of digital compared to cassette tapes.

There again, there's Yin and Yang, cassettes/analogue sounded warmer, but who wants to go back to that hiss and crackle, digital brough quietness and clarity, but has that cold sound, we trade one off against the other


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* User requested
...




Joined: 31/08/05
Posts: 1693
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #977508 - 22/03/12 03:08 PM
It's like VVG. Alot of critics believe he did his best paintings after he poked his eye out.

Same kinda thing.


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: OneWorld]
      #977526 - 22/03/12 04:19 PM
Quote:

That is when it occurred to me, yes, that is an artefact which digital seems to carry with it. people from our generation were brought up on analogue, and at first were greatly impressed with the clarity of digital compared to cassette tapes.

There again, there's Yin and Yang, cassettes/analogue sounded warmer, but who wants to go back to that hiss and crackle, digital brough quietness and clarity, but has that cold sound, we trade one off against the other




It is not that digital recording introduces undesirable artefacts, rather it is analogue recording that (often) introduces desirable artefacts.

This analogue vs digital debate is still causing confusion, mainly because there are two different aspects that people get muddled up -these being 1. the initial capture/recording & 2. the playback system.

Analogue recording adds artifacts, it colours the sound, and it can now be regarded (and used) as an effect really. Analogue playback also colours the sound, so if you want your music to be reproduced as consistently as possible it's not the way forward.

Digital recording is extremely transparent -it doesn't really add anything (at least in the case of recorded information that lies within human hearing). The playback system should (ideally) also be as transparent and consistant as possible, so digital playback provides the only means to do this.

Therefore, we need to get our music to sound as we want it before it is released and (generally) not rely on playback systems to add colour anymore. (For example, I love the sound of vinyl prints, but I think all the artifacts that make it so appealing can be captured digitally by transferring the vinyl disc to a digital recording. So, if you release an album on vinyl and as digital files/CD, it might be viable to offer a vinyl rip file if you really prefer that sound.)

There are still people who say that digital recording sounds 'cold', but in the ideal digital system, it should be possible to capture simply what microphones (and DI'd instruments) are transmitting. If that's 'cold', the recording will be cold. In fact, it is more likely that the initial recording will sound rather cold because it's often incredibly dry and straight with no atmosphere (e.g. noise) or colour.

I mean, with your eyes closed, do you think you could you tell the difference between a dry analogue synth that is playing live through a speaker, from one that has been recorded digitally beforehand?

But artistically, that's not usually the sound we want to use. So, we can add digital or analogue/electromechanical treatments using effects and processors (reverb, valves, optical compressors, etc) or bounce to tape or vinyl to introduce musically attractive compression and alinearities. We can also try to understand what analogue effects are actually doing and try to be more 'deliberate' (e.g using multiband compressors, enhancers, etc) although analogue gear often adds so many subtle artifacts and nuances that it's either really difficult or maybe impossible.

What causes further confusion is the fact that digitally remastered/transferred recordings of old records can sound much less interesting than we remember from analogue playback systems. This is because many such recordings were initially produced with these playback systems (jukeboxes, small car speakers, etc) in mind. The only way around this would be unthinkable to most producers and engineers: to transfer these recordings as they would sound through such analogue playback systems!

You can do this yourself though (with the right gear) if you are so inclined. Borrow all your favourite stuff on vinyl and just transfer it using a decent turntable to digital files. In the case of stuff produced for small speakers, it may be necessary to capture that first, but it's really up to you to get it right.


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Chaconne



Joined: 21/02/05
Posts: 1373
Loc: Oxford
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #977538 - 22/03/12 05:18 PM
" Do you think I care about your wretched fiddle when the spirit takes hold of me? "

Att. Van the Man

The medium is not the message.

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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: Chaconne]
      #977621 - 23/03/12 12:19 AM
Quote:

"Do you think I care about your wretched fiddle when the spirit takes hold of me?"

Att. Van the Man

The medium is not the message.




Do you mean by this that Beethoven wouldn't have been influenced by whether or not he could hear high notes, and so any reduction in frequency content must have been coincidental?


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Chaconne



Joined: 21/02/05
Posts: 1373
Loc: Oxford
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #977637 - 23/03/12 02:02 AM
Well, as yet the paper on frequency content reports only coincidence - since the paper produced no significant results.

But, I think what is ultimately amazing about Beethoven is that there is no real evidence of his deafness in the music. Of course, the personal misery of being deprived of the very real sensation of hearing his own work was very painful - but I dont think it skewed his work in a technical sense - no one has ever suggested this - apart from some of the examples I mentioned - and these cannot be proved.

In fact the opposite is the case. His music is full of delicate passages, very skillfully scored 'breakdowns' and dymanic contrasts where the score often drops down to one or two instruments - the exposition of the fifth - the solo oboe call - being a classic example, the bird calls in the sixth, the sparse textures in the second movement of the fifth piano concerto. His late piano music is full of delicate effects, often at the top of the keyboard. Of course he was not stone deaf all his life - it was a gradual onset.

But - aside from people being unsympathetic to his music and using it as an insult - there is nothing that gives Beethoven away as having a 'disability'.

At the time the loudness bothered people, and the relentless repetition of themes - but this may be just be the angry young man in him, and that style was aped by Brahms etc. No one questions his scoring like they do Schumman - in fact the opposite - his influence went through Wagner into the end of Romantic music in the 20th century.

He knew what every note sounded like, so why would he avoid them? Its nonsense. Unlike most pop acts, his music is regarded as starting full of youthful creative fire - but getting better all the time - and ending with masterworks.

If the deafness got in the way it would be obvious.

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Fealow



Joined: 15/03/12
Posts: 103
Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #977638 - 23/03/12 02:05 AM
I can't contribute much to the Beethoven discussion, but I must say it's all interesting to read. I have only a minuscule amount of knowledge when it comes to classical music, however I do enjoy listening to it.

Edited by Fealow (23/03/12 02:05 AM)


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Hearing, Production ...and Beethoven? new [Re: ]
      #988716 - 21/05/12 01:06 PM
Just another point relating to this (rather than starting a new thread)...

A while ago, I watched a programme about a young teenage composer who was commissioned to write for a group of musicians selected by himself and a committee of professional musicians.

The young composer suggested that the violin sounded a bit too scrapy or 'top endy'. The 70+ violinist on the committee disagreed and claimed he was a bit arrogant (which is to be expected) for then sticking to his opinion.

Obviously, he will be able to hear higher frequencies than her, so we could give him that. But then, who is this music for? Teenagers with supersonic ears?


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