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#1278789 - 10/01/09 03:30 PM Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone"  
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There have been lots of posts in the past on the Pianist Corner forum about tone and the physical side of playing the piano which can be summarized as " only careful years long study with a master teacher on a fine acoustic instrument can insure that the pianist will not injure himself and produce an ugly banging tone ".

Whereas here the approach seems to be more about making music with the assumption that both acoustic and digitals will be used. Do I have that right or are there players and instructors on the non-classical side who are obsessed with "tone"?

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#1278875 - 10/01/09 06:17 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
Do I have that right or are there players and instructors on the non-classical side who are obsessed with "tone"?


Because classical pianists are dealing with music that is pre-conceived, that is, no mater how many times you approach the piece, everything remains the same, all notation unchaged, the ONLY parameters that they have to impart any of their own creativity whatsoever, aside from tempo, is their erroneous delusion that they can somehow alter the "tone" of the piano.
The tone of the piano is inherent in the piano itself, not the player. The tone of any one note, any key depressed with enough force to sound a note at any volume will be the same as if depressed by Lang Lang, Theolonius Monk, a 4 year old child touching the piano for the first time, or a machine designed to depress keys.
As long as a note is depressed at the same velocity, and with the same force, there will be no difference in the physical acoustics of that note with regard to it's acoustical, timbral profile.
What the classical pianists erroneously refer to as "controlling tone" is the control of ASR, the note envelope. The attack, sustain, and release of each note WITHIN the contect of the line (phrasing).


#1278880 - 10/01/09 06:28 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Well well well. Look who's back. Howdy BJones! smile


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#1278883 - 10/01/09 06:33 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Interesting, I just made another post about Tone. I am as obsessed with tone, particularly duplicating somebody's tone like Keith Jarrett. My teacher is obsessed with tone as well.

And yes, agreeing with V1 here that in reality, we are talking primarily about attack (minimize), sustain (maximize), release (hide). Plus of course its relative contrast against other notes. I'm not sure anybody in Classical would disagree with this.

I would say, for beginning jazz learners, there's so much to learn like swing and improvising, and speed that tone isn't at the top of the agenda. But it eventually has to get there.


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#1278918 - 10/01/09 07:45 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
Well well well. Look who's back. Howdy BJones! smile


You're confusing me with one of my students. Howdy anyway.

#1278923 - 10/01/09 07:53 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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But there is a relationship, no? I don't know if you are aware but the account in the name of BJones was banned a couple months ago. The fact that your post above is quite similar in style to BJone's posts certainly arouses curiosity.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#1278928 - 10/01/09 07:59 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee
And yes, agreeing with V1 here that in reality, we are talking primarily about attack (minimize), sustain (maximize), release (hide). Plus of course its relative contrast against other notes. I'm not sure anybody in Classical would disagree with this.



That is correct, but just one note itself can also be a "phrase" inflected upon by consumme jazz players like Miles and Wayne Shorter, who can do more with one note, sounding it with the perfect attack, sustain, and release at the most tasteful of times.
The same notes, melodies, harmonies, etc. are common to jazz and classical. Any part of even the most extended "jazz lines" can be found somewhere in classical literature, but take on an entirely differnet sound when phrased differently.
If you listen to my youtube video, you'll hear very large complex aggregates that I'm sure can all be found within the music of Ives, Honegger, Bartok, Sorabji, Varese, Messiaen, Ravel, Rzewski, etc., etc. likely some voiced the exact same way, many of whom are my influences as well as jazz players. My thinking is more like theirs, linear, multi-contrapuntal layers rather than vertical, chord and melody, like most jazz players cultivate due to learning jazz formulations on 32 bar tunes, chords/substitutes/melody.
What makes it sound like jazz is the inflection, the relative ASR of these aggregates to each other within the flow.
Classical and jazz are the same language, spoken with a varied dialect. The dialect all depends on the individual's approach.

#1278929 - 10/01/09 08:02 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
But there is a relationship, no? I don't know if you are aware but the account in the name of BJones was banned a couple months ago. The fact that your post above is quite similar in style to BJone's posts certainly arouses curiosity.


That's good that you have suspicions but BJones has studied with me for his entire adult life and is a good friend. Almost 20 years. I haven't read all of his posts but do you suppose that I may have rubbed off on him to some extent?

#1278935 - 10/01/09 08:09 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Possibly. I strongly suggest you refrain from any sort of put down of classical pianists, because that kind of behavior is what ultimately got BJones banned. smile

[edit] It's also interesting that there was a banned user by the name of Virtuosic1 who came before BJones.

Last edited by Horowitzian; 10/01/09 08:12 PM.

Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#1278937 - 10/01/09 08:12 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
... " only careful years long study with a master teacher on a fine acoustic instrument can insure that the pianist will not injure himself and produce an ugly banging tone ".


Sounds like my jazz teacher wink


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#1278939 - 10/01/09 08:14 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]  
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It's just plain rude and disrespectful to disgrace a fellow pianist , becuase of the genre they play.

Last edited by survivordan; 10/01/09 08:17 PM.

Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278943 - 10/01/09 08:20 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
Possibly. I strongly suggest you refrain from any sort of put down of classical pianists, because that kind of behavior is what ultimately got BJones banned. smile



I don't recall putting down classical pianists. Are you referring to my assertion that it's a delusion to think that the inherent characteristic tone of any one particular piano can be altered from pianist to pianist? You did show up immediately after I posted that the tone will remain the same whether played by a classical pianist, jazz pianist, a first time pianist, or a machine.

#1278944 - 10/01/09 08:20 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
It's just plain rude and disrespectful to disgrace a fellow pianist , becuase of the genre they play.


Whom did I disgrace? And where?

#1278946 - 10/01/09 08:22 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
Possibly. I strongly suggest you refrain from any sort of put down of classical pianists, because that kind of behavior is what ultimately got BJones banned. smile



Thank you for what was cloaked as a warning, but is actually a thinly veiled threat.

#1278947 - 10/01/09 08:24 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
Originally Posted by survivordan
It's just plain rude and disrespectful to disgrace a fellow pianist , becuase of the genre they play.


Whom did I disgrace? And where?


"Because classical pianists are dealing with music that is pre-conceived, ........ the ONLY parameters that they have to impart any of their own creativity whatsoever, aside from tempo, is their erroneous delusion that they can somehow alter the "tone" of the piano.
The tone of the piano is inherent in the piano itself, not the player........... depressed by Lang Lang, Theolonius Monk, a 4 year old child touching the piano for the first time, or a machine designed to depress keys."



I find that a little disgraceful.


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278952 - 10/01/09 08:30 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
Originally Posted by Horowitzian
Possibly. I strongly suggest you refrain from any sort of put down of classical pianists, because that kind of behavior is what ultimately got BJones banned. smile



I don't recall putting down classical pianists. Are you referring to my assertion that it's a delusion to think that the inherent characteristic tone of any one particular piano can be altered from pianist to pianist? You did show up immediately after I posted that the tone will remain the same whether played by a classical pianist, jazz pianist, a first time pianist, or a machine.


The part about "erroneus delusions" is quite insulting.

Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
[...]

Because classical pianists are dealing with music that is pre-conceived, that is, no mater how many times you approach the piece, everything remains the same, all notation unchaged, the ONLY parameters that they have to impart any of their own creativity whatsoever, aside from tempo, is their erroneous delusion that they can somehow alter the "tone" of the piano.
[...]


You, BJones, Virtuosic1, and Disciple are all one and the same person. It's too much of a coincidence to have four people with exactly the same writing style, and exactly the same bias against other genres.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#1278953 - 10/01/09 08:31 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
Originally Posted by survivordan
It's just plain rude and disrespectful to disgrace a fellow pianist , becuase of the genre they play.


Whom did I disgrace? And where?


"Because classical pianists are dealing with music that is pre-conceived, ........ the ONLY parameters that they have to impart any of their own creativity whatsoever, aside from tempo, is their erroneous delusion that they can somehow alter the "tone" of the piano.
The tone of the piano is inherent in the piano itself, not the player........... depressed by Lang Lang, Theolonius Monk, a 4 year old child touching the piano for the first time, or a machine designed to depress keys."



I find that a little disgraceful.


Isn't there a thread here about how the "truth can hurt"?

Can you explain the technical errors in my statements above?

Can a pianist alter the characteristic tone of the piano?
Do classical pianists often digress about the "tone" of certain painists. "He has a singing tone", "Her tone is superb"?
Do classical pianists readily change the composer's notation?
Does the tone of the piano change when the envelope of the key, the depth, and the force imparted by the player is played by diferent pianists?

I don't understand how my pointing out these facts is a "disgrace"

#1278955 - 10/01/09 08:35 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Try replacing 'classical' with 'jazz' and see how you like it.


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278957 - 10/01/09 08:37 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
The part about "erroneus delusions" is quite insulting.



You're far too sensitive. It would be a delusion for someone to believe that A-440 is A-439, or A-441, dependent upon whether a classical pianist or a jazz pianists was playing.
It would also be delusional to believe that the inherent tone of a piano, it's physical acoustical properties can be controlled, and is different whether played by a classical, jazz, mariachi, samba, or polka pianist.
You don't agree with that? Do you actually think that a pianist can control the timbral spectrum of the piano?

#1278959 - 10/01/09 08:38 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
Try replacing 'classical' with 'jazz' and see how you like it.


I can replace it with any word. I'm not hyper-sensitive.

#1278961 - 10/01/09 08:39 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Yes. Think about it: When a key is depressed and the hammer hits a string, the shank reflexes slightly from the impact, altering the sound. That's only one example. Controlling that flex results in a different tone.


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278963 - 10/01/09 08:42 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian

You, BJones, Virtuosic1, and Disciple are all one and the same person. It's too much of a coincidence to have four people with exactly the same writing style, and exactly the same bias against other genres.


You'd make a terrible juror. eek

#1278964 - 10/01/09 08:44 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
Originally Posted by Horowitzian
The part about "erroneus delusions" is quite insulting.



You're far too sensitive. It would be a delusion for someone to believe that A-440 is A-439, or A-441, dependent upon whether a classical pianist or a jazz pianists was playing.
It would also be delusional to believe that the inherent tone of a piano, it's physical acoustical properties can be controlled, and is different whether played by a classical, jazz, mariachi, samba, or polka pianist.
You don't agree with that? Do you actually think that a pianist can control the timbral spectrum of the piano?


Meh. It's the S.O.S. You are now on my ignore list.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#1278965 - 10/01/09 08:46 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]  
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How does one ignore users?


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278968 - 10/01/09 08:51 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
Yes. Think about it: When a key is depressed and the hammer hits a string, the shank reflexes slightly from the impact, altering the sound. That's only one example. Controlling that flex results in a different tone.


And which pianists claim to control each and every phase of the articulation and escapement? And of course, my next question would be, since the articulation and escapment on every piano would be slightly different, dwependent not only upon individual company's manufacturing tolerances, but WEAR and environment, wouldn't a pianist that is somehow well versed with controlling every phase of the escapement need to work for quite some time on a different piano that he is not used to, in order to work out the adjustments to his technique?
It's all so fantastic and beyond the realm of human control in the 5 to 15 note per second range, unless you're playing at an absolute crawl, as to be the realm of pure fantasy.

#1278969 - 10/01/09 08:52 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
How does one ignore users?


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278970 - 10/01/09 08:52 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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close your eyes when you see their name?


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#1278971 - 10/01/09 08:53 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
How does one ignore users?


Ask a question and then ignore the answer. Makes perfect sense.

#1278973 - 10/01/09 08:54 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Sometimes I wonder if people like you exist only to taunt others unnecessarily.


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278975 - 10/01/09 08:56 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
Sometimes I wonder if people like you exist only to taunt others unnecessarily.


Taunt? Since when are hard facts flying counter to fantasy considered taunts?

#1278977 - 10/01/09 08:57 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee
I am as obsessed with tone, particularly duplicating somebody's tone like Keith Jarrett. My teacher is obsessed with tone as well.


me too!

#1278978 - 10/01/09 08:57 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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It's not the words but the way in which one person thinks themselves better than another without reason................


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278979 - 10/01/09 08:57 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
if people like you exist only to taunt others unnecessarily.


Don't you think your statement is far more digraceful than my pointing out that "tone" is inherent in the piano, not the pianist?
Fairly hypocritical I would say. Don't you agree?

#1278980 - 10/01/09 08:58 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
How does one ignore users?


View any user's profile, and choose "Ignore this user" on the top bar above the profile.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#1278981 - 10/01/09 08:58 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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All in the spirit of good debate.


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278982 - 10/01/09 08:59 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
Originally Posted by survivordan
How does one ignore users?


View any user's profile, and choose "Ignore this user" on the top bar above the profile.


All better!!


Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor
#1278984 - 10/01/09 09:00 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
It's not the words but the way in which one person thinks themselves better than another without reason................


I didn't interject thoughts on myself into the conversation once. I wrote on tone and it being a delusion to think that one can change the tone (inherent acoustical profile) of the piano.
Tone is timbre. And the timbre of the piano is a byproduct of mnay factors, from construction to acoustical environment.
The tone will remain unchanged if a note is depressed with a set ASR, regardless of the actor.

#1278986 - 10/01/09 09:02 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: survivordan]  
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Originally Posted by survivordan
Originally Posted by Horowitzian
Originally Posted by survivordan
How does one ignore users?


View any user's profile, and choose "Ignore this user" on the top bar above the profile.


All better!!


Are you intolerant of basic acoustical science? Or me. Because all I've posted is based on nonconvulated scientific principles of acoustics in regard to "tone".

#1279052 - 10/01/09 11:22 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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My experience is that there are pianists of all genres who are obsessed with tone, but the classical pianists are less likely to have their obsession under control.


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#1279055 - 10/01/09 11:28 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: BDB]  
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I realize the Title of this thread is already negative and perhaps Troll-ish in composition, but the question is a valid one and need not result in off-topic accusations.

So far we've all agreed that we're all the same, haven't we?


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#1279056 - 10/01/09 11:28 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
Originally Posted by Horowitzian

You, BJones, Virtuosic1, and Disciple are all one and the same person. It's too much of a coincidence to have four people with exactly the same writing style, and exactly the same bias against other genres.

You'd make a terrible juror. eek

He examined the evidence and reached a conclusion based on it, which is what a juror does.

Originally Posted by jazzwee
I realize the Title of this thread is already negative and perhaps Troll-ish in composition, but the question is a valid one and need not result in off-topic accusations.

It's certainly a loaded question, as it takes for granted that classical pianists are obsessed with tone. I don't think that can be assumed; if anything, there may be evidence that those most obsessed with tone aren't necessarily serious players of any genre. One only has to look at the regularity of threads in the Piano Forum about countless quests for the "perfect" piano, in which tone may be described with the kind of specificity more commonly reserved for fine wine.

Steven

#1279065 - 10/01/09 11:59 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
Originally Posted by Horowitzian

You, BJones, Virtuosic1, and Disciple are all one and the same person. It's too much of a coincidence to have four people with exactly the same writing style, and exactly the same bias against other genres.

You'd make a terrible juror. eek

He examined the evidence and reached a conclusion based on it, which is what a juror does.

Originally Posted by jazzwee
I realize the Title of this thread is already negative and perhaps Troll-ish in composition, but the question is a valid one and need not result in off-topic accusations.

It's certainly a loaded question, as it takes for granted that classical pianists are obsessed with tone. I don't think that can be assumed; if anything, there may be evidence that those most obsessed with tone aren't necessarily serious players of any genre. One only has to look at the regularity of threads in the Piano Forum about countless quests for the "perfect" piano, in which tone may be described with the kind of specificity more commonly reserved for fine wine.

Steven


Here's the article that likely fueled the "tone libido" of those from the "tone can be controlled" camp:

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:2K4t8DbarWoJ:www.pianofundamentals.com/book/en/1.III.1.1.2+piano+tone+Can+it+be+controlled&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

If that link doesn't work:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...mp;btnG=Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

first hit

and if that fails, goggle "piano tone Can it be controlled"

The writer is under the assumption that the flex (that is the actual bend of the shaft during and after impact, can be somehow be miraculously controlled by the pianist as well as the escapement.
Curiously enough, we're not just talking about one note, but that on each and every note, even multiply struck notes, regardless of their rate of speed, the pianist can control the way the hammer shafts are bending by fluctuation in the way he ALLOWS the escapement to function!
I never looked into it. Does Uri Geller play the piano?
A pianist being able to exert that kind of control would be like a slugger picking out which square millimeter of a ball, machine pitched at 175 mph, he was going to strike with which part of the bat and exactly which seat in the upper deck of the bleachers he was going to hit it to ... 100 times in succession.

Like it or not, I'll wager heavily that if the author of that article attended a concert by Horowitz, Argerich, or any others noted for their "singing tone", and afterwards congratulated any one of them on their uncanny ability to control the escapement, ergo the bend of the hammer shafts, they'd look at him and say, "Congratulations on WHAT?".



#1279071 - 10/02/09 12:08 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
[
Originally Posted by jazzwee
I realize the Title of this thread is already negative and perhaps Troll-ish in composition, but the question is a valid one and need not result in off-topic accusations.

It's certainly a loaded question, as it takes for granted that classical pianists are obsessed with tone. I don't think that can be assumed; if anything, there may be evidence that those most obsessed with tone aren't necessarily serious players of any genre. One only has to look at the regularity of threads in the Piano Forum about countless quests for the "perfect" piano, in which tone may be described with the kind of specificity more commonly reserved for fine wine.

Steven


Well, this is an oft discussed topic and we always go back to define "What is Tone?". And then the whole debate about flexing hammers and such business.

But I think it is safe to say that good pianists of any genre seek to control the percussive attack, sustain, and legato (with the exception of Gyro). At least when jazz pianists discuss tone, that's what we are talking about. Perhaps I would refer to more often as the "Touch".

Tone can be confused with the physical and uncontrollable aspects. And I agree with you that that is obsessed with, maybe more in the Piano Forum. Rather than the Pianists Forum.


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#1279077 - 10/02/09 12:17 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: jazzwee]  
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BTW - Sotto Voce, I do obsess with the "TONE" of my Steinway smile But that's another story. wink And no, I make no claim to control that with my playing. I'd have to call the Tech.


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#1279086 - 10/02/09 12:34 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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VirtuosicOne is simply stating the obvious. Each piano has an inherant tone. The pianist can only control the many possible levels of attack, sustain and release. Also resonance and sympathetic vibrations through pedaling. Also voicing harmonies by empahisizing different notes in a chord.

#1279119 - 10/02/09 01:43 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]  
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Originally Posted by Jazz+
VirtuosicOne is simply stating the obvious. Each piano has an inherant tone. The pianist can only control the many possible levels of attack, sustain and release. Also resonance and sympathetic vibrations through pedaling. Also voicing harmonies by empahisizing different notes in a chord.


Of interest, what led Lennie to experiment with tape (music concrete) was hearing the piano with a tone halfway between a piano and guitar, and not being able to produce it. He also "heard" piano like a horn player, and wanting to be able to impart a vocal quality, breathing more life into his lines, he created vibrato (a true pitch modulation) by manipulating the drive wheel of the tape recorder!
Recording those two tracks from Atlantic 1224, that we've discussed in another thread, at half speed, half tempo, then mastering them at full speed gave Lennie's piano that "alto-piano" timbral quality that he heard , but could only duplicate electronically.
At that time, 1954/1955, to Lennie's knowledge and my knowledge, nobody else in jazz had used these taping prinicples, which did cause many eyebrows of the time to raise.

#1279121 - 10/02/09 01:55 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]  
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Originally Posted by Jazz+
VirtuosicOne is simply stating the obvious. Each piano has an inherant tone. The pianist can only control the many possible levels of attack, sustain and release. Also resonance and sympathetic vibrations through pedaling. Also voicing harmonies by empahisizing different notes in a chord.


I'm sure their confusion is over terminology. While it's true that one word can in of itself be a sentence, typically, phrased musical sentences need more than one component to be able to inflect spin, or phrasing, more properly, internote dynamics and ASR. Phrasing is created by at least two notes, one of which is either greater or less in some musical parameter than the one that precedes it, or in phrases of more than two notes, that follows it.
The more notes, the more ways there are to successively inflect individually upon each component, whether dynamically, durationally, etc., etc., even spatially (as Miles often does very effectively with sometimes only ONE note!), and the greater the possible diversity of phrasing becomes.
Classical pianists are dealing within finite boundaries. That boundary is the mind of the composer.
Jazz musicians are not bound by the minds of others and seek to become totally self sufficient when it comes to musical material, relying only on their own imaginations. Not the imagination of others.
Aside from the dialect that's the basic difference.

#1279136 - 10/02/09 03:45 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
My experience is that there are pianists of all genres who are obsessed with tone, but the classical pianists are less likely to have their obsession under control.

LOL.

Wow. I come back the next morning and there are almost 50 replies, some of them even about the subject.

Thanks in particular to those who chose to make a relevant contribution to the the actual question as opposed to stirring the pot and issuing personal attacks at other posters!
Originally Posted by jazzwee
I realize the Title of this thread is already negative and perhaps Troll-ish in composition, but the question is a valid one and need not result in off-topic accusations.

So far we've all agreed that we're all the same, haven't we?

I resemble that remark. It is a fact that there have been many posts on the Piano forum about the tone of pianos and on the Pianist Corner about producing tone, the possibilities of affecting tone, the definition of tone, the praise of tone, the denial of tone, the proof from Physics that tone does not exist, the Proof from neuroscience that it is all in our head, snide, gratuitous remarks about Lang Lang, etc. etc.

I do appreciate the comments about how Jazz is different and the first explanation given by V1, although pithy in its rhetoric, does make sense. Of course we are talking in generalities, but in general, those starting to learn jazz often seem to be focusing on something much different than the elusive and anal retentive goal of perfect "tone" production that is oft discussed on the (Classical) Pianist Corner.

Originally Posted by Jazz+
VirtuosicOne is simply stating the obvious. Each piano has an inherant tone. The pianist can only control the many possible levels of attack, sustain and release. Also resonance and sympathetic vibrations through pedaling. Also voicing harmonies by emphasizing different notes in a chord.


Is that all????? It sounds like an awful lot to be in control of to me and would go a long way to explaining why we all can tell good "tone" when we hear it -- whether from a Classical musician or a Jazz musician--, even if most of us can't put our finger on what we mean when we say it -- or line up our fingers to actually be able to (re)product it.
Originally Posted by jazzwee
But I think it is safe to say that good pianists of any genre seek to control the percussive attack, sustain, and legato (with the exception of Gyro). At least when jazz pianists discuss tone, that's what we are talking about. Perhaps I would refer to more often as the "Touch".

Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
I'm sure their confusion is over terminology. While it's true that one word can in of itself be a sentence, typically, phrased musical sentences need more than one component to be able to inflect spin, or phrasing, more properly, internote dynamics and ASR. Phrasing is created by at least two notes, one of which is either greater or less in some musical parameter than the one that precedes it, or in phrases of more than two notes, that follows it.
The more notes, the more ways there are to successively inflect individually upon each component, whether dynamically, durationally, etc., etc., even spatially (as Miles often does very effectively with sometimes only ONE note!), and the greater the possible diversity of phrasing becomes.
Classical pianists are dealing within finite boundaries. That boundary is the mind of the composer.
Jazz musicians are not bound by the minds of others and seek to become totally self sufficient when it comes to musical material, relying only on their own imaginations. Not the imagination of others.
Aside from the dialect that's the basic difference.

Great posts!

I find myself more and more drawn to Jazz.
Playing Classical Music is my first love, but it could be compared sometimes to choral reading or to reading an Abraham Lincoln speech word for word in historically accurate clothing.

Jazz on the other hand is more like extemporaneous speaking, or having a spontaneous conversation -- if you have internalized the language to be able to string two sentences together.

Since starting my Jazz study this year I have notice how much better my ear is becoming --- and the positive effect this has on my tone...

Last edited by theJourney; 10/02/09 03:47 AM.
#1279189 - 10/02/09 07:18 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
Originally Posted by BDB
My experience is that there are pianists of all genres who are obsessed with tone, but the classical pianists are less likely to have their obsession under control.

LOL.

Wow. I come back the next morning and there are almost 50 replies, some of them even about the subject.

Thanks in particular to those who chose to make a relevant contribution to the the actual question as opposed to stirring the pot and issuing personal attacks at other posters!
Originally Posted by jazzwee
I realize the Title of this thread is already negative and perhaps Troll-ish in composition, but the question is a valid one and need not result in off-topic accusations.

So far we've all agreed that we're all the same, haven't we?

I resemble that remark. It is a fact that there have been many posts on the Piano forum about the tone of pianos and on the Pianist Corner about producing tone, the possibilities of affecting tone, the definition of tone, the praise of tone, the denial of tone, the proof from Physics that tone does not exist, the Proof from neuroscience that it is all in our head, snide, gratuitous remarks about Lang Lang, etc. etc.

I do appreciate the comments about how Jazz is different and the first explanation given by V1, although pithy in its rhetoric, does make sense. Of course we are talking in generalities, but in general, those starting to learn jazz often seem to be focusing on something much different than the elusive and anal retentive goal of perfect "tone" production that is oft discussed on the (Classical) Pianist Corner.

Originally Posted by Jazz+
VirtuosicOne is simply stating the obvious. Each piano has an inherant tone. The pianist can only control the many possible levels of attack, sustain and release. Also resonance and sympathetic vibrations through pedaling. Also voicing harmonies by emphasizing different notes in a chord.


Is that all????? It sounds like an awful lot to be in control of to me and would go a long way to explaining why we all can tell good "tone" when we hear it -- whether from a Classical musician or a Jazz musician--, even if most of us can't put our finger on what we mean when we say it -- or line up our fingers to actually be able to (re)product it.
Originally Posted by jazzwee
But I think it is safe to say that good pianists of any genre seek to control the percussive attack, sustain, and legato (with the exception of Gyro). At least when jazz pianists discuss tone, that's what we are talking about. Perhaps I would refer to more often as the "Touch".

Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
I'm sure their confusion is over terminology. While it's true that one word can in of itself be a sentence, typically, phrased musical sentences need more than one component to be able to inflect spin, or phrasing, more properly, internote dynamics and ASR. Phrasing is created by at least two notes, one of which is either greater or less in some musical parameter than the one that precedes it, or in phrases of more than two notes, that follows it.
The more notes, the more ways there are to successively inflect individually upon each component, whether dynamically, durationally, etc., etc., even spatially (as Miles often does very effectively with sometimes only ONE note!), and the greater the possible diversity of phrasing becomes.
Classical pianists are dealing within finite boundaries. That boundary is the mind of the composer.
Jazz musicians are not bound by the minds of others and seek to become totally self sufficient when it comes to musical material, relying only on their own imaginations. Not the imagination of others.
Aside from the dialect that's the basic difference.

Great posts!

I find myself more and more drawn to Jazz.
Playing Classical Music is my first love, but it could be compared sometimes to choral reading or to reading an Abraham Lincoln speech word for word in historically accurate clothing.

Jazz on the other hand is more like extemporaneous speaking, or having a spontaneous conversation -- if you have internalized the language to be able to string two sentences together.

Since starting my Jazz study this year I have notice how much better my ear is becoming --- and the positive effect this has on my tone...


Here's another concept to wrap our minds around. I'm to the point where I play mistly in the moment, striving for instant composition, the highest form of improvisation. I always hear a flow of music in my head that is neither Lennie T, nor Martial Solal, Keith Jarrett, Borah Bergman, Sorabji, Charles Ives, or any other of the musicians and composers that I admire and programmed my musical psyche with, but an amalgam of my program that has evolved into pure me. I don't have to think about what I'm going to play when I sit down to play, I simply join the flow of music that's already in progress in my mind, the music I would "hear" whether I put my hands on the keys to join it, play contrapuntally to it, maybe even in a different key or in retrograde, or can simply sit with my hands on my lap and the sound in my head would remain the same.
Now once I join what I'm already listening to, the TONE OF THE PIANO ITSELF, whether it's the mellow sound of a Mason & Hamlin, or the brilliant, clear, crisp, upper harmonic rich tone of my Yamaha, or even a Febder Rhodes.
The sound of my instrument will dictate the way that I play it and WHAT I PLAY ON IT.
The tone of the sound reinforces thereby dictating what I play, creating the best reparte' with the sound in my head.

#1279202 - 10/02/09 07:51 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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... cross posted .. removed

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#1279258 - 10/02/09 09:40 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: knotty]  
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Examples of Jazzer interest in tone...

Brad Mehldau, in an interview said his goal was to make the piano sound like a human voice. Madame Chaloff, famous teacher of Keith Jarret, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Werner and my own teacher, says "the piano is a wind instrument".

Kenny Werner, in his book talks about the search for that Bill Evans sound. He related a story when at a party of pianists, some of the pianists played on the piano which was criticized as having poor tone. And then Bill Evans played on it, and it sounded like, well, Bill Evans. And they were astounded.

Interviews of Jarrett is frequently about "how do you create that sound?"

So, in keeping with the definition of Tone as the things once can control in the piano (Attack, Sustain, Release as V1 has stated), you can see that in Jazz, this interest in tone is quite apparent.

I think the reason this is of big interest in jazz is that most of jazz is a distinct single melodic line of playing. Typically exposed and supported only by soft LH chords and a soft rhythm section.




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#1279424 - 10/02/09 01:33 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: jazzwee]  
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When pianist say they "produce" a tone on a piano they mean it in the sense that they "manage" the tone of the piano. Produce and manage are synonymous in this case.

#1279460 - 10/02/09 02:31 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: Jazz+]  
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I notice "tone" in the original question is in inverted commas, indicating suspicion - like saying 'so-called tone'.

What is tone? Is it really just timbre?

My opinion? When we talk about tone we're not really too specific about what it means. (Obviously, I can't speak for the classical pianist camp). Good noise, bad noise, we perceive it as a whole. Put Keith Jarrett on a really badly out-of-tune Steinway, and will the 'tone' be good? Don't think so. We'd be sitting with our fingers in our ears.

Some elements of 'tone' the pianist can control - phrasing, accents, timing, articulation, dynamics, evenness. But clearly a pianist can't control the actual timbre of the sound like a singer or a clarinetist can. We are using an instrument to create the sound, we are not actually biologically attached to the sounds produced. So there is an element we can't control.

#1279488 - 10/02/09 03:11 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: ten left thumbs]  
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
Some elements of 'tone' the pianist can control - phrasing, accents, timing, articulation, dynamics, evenness. But clearly a pianist can't control the actual timbre of the sound like a singer or a clarinetist can.


As annoying as it may be to the scientific minded, the overall strategy may not be entirely wrong.

I agree with the above paragraph. The complexity of what we can control with very subtle timing of the articulations is what we hear as tone.

The idea that we can control timbre separately from that, with the use of touch to modify hammer flex, is surely a myth. If there were any reality to it at all we'd have been able to demonstrate it in controlled experiments, and we can't. Hundreds of experiments have been done over centuries, and though people work hard to find flaws in them, the absence of any positive results is glaring. This myth should be put to rest.

And yet, I'm not sure it is a completely useless one. The complexity of timing and voicing that really creates the characteristic sound of a individual player is probably beyond conscious control. Focusing attention on the mythical touch moves your attention away from what you need to do, and perhaps lets it happen subconsciously.

Is it true that classical players are more prone to the touch superstition than jazz? That may possibly be true. But few of us mix in enough genres to know what our peers talk about. I'm not sure we have good data on this one. It is believable, but should remain open awaiting evidence.


gotta go practice
#1279585 - 10/02/09 06:34 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
There have been lots of posts in the past on the Pianist Corner forum about tone and the physical side of playing the piano which can be summarized as " only careful years long study with a master teacher on a fine acoustic instrument can insure that the pianist will not injure himself and produce an ugly banging tone ".


This "summary" isn't vaguely close to being a correct summary.

#1279705 - 10/02/09 10:48 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Well, I have noticed a difference even among upper intermediate piano students. In one of our classes, a student (more advanced than the rest of us) played a Scarlatti piece, and his tone was gorgeous. I really hadn't paid much attention to students' tone, because...well most didn't play that well.

But he had a clear light lovely tone (the Steinway helped), and when I asked him what he did, he didn't have a clue!

Didn't Bill Evans have beautiful tone?

#1279777 - 10/03/09 03:19 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by theJourney
There have been lots of posts in the past on the Pianist Corner forum about tone and the physical side of playing the piano which can be summarized as " only careful years long study with a master teacher on a fine acoustic instrument can insure that the pianist will not injure himself and produce an ugly banging tone ".


This "summary" isn't vaguely close to being a correct summary.


Easy to criticize, isn't it?
Much more difficult to contribute.

Why not share with us your correct "summary" of the past years of posting on tone? Perhaps such an approach would tend to help stimulate discussion rather than attempt to stifle it.

#1279781 - 10/03/09 03:34 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee
Kenny Werner, in his book talks about the search for that Bill Evans sound. He related a story when at a party of pianists, some of the pianists played on the piano which was criticized as having poor tone. And then Bill Evans played on it, and it sounded like, well, Bill Evans. And they were astounded.


I bet that Bill Evans would sound like Bill Evans with a Bill Evans "tone" on a Roland stage piano too.

#1279838 - 10/03/09 08:10 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: theJourney]  
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"Didn't Bill Evans have beautiful tone?"

Oh, yes. None lovelier.

"I bet that Bill Evans would sound like Bill Evans with a Bill Evans "tone" on a Roland stage piano too."

He did some work with a Fender Rhodes... cutting edge for its day... but went back to acoustic. Dead at fifty-one; drugs. Heartbreaking. So many of the very finest talents snatched up that way.


Clef

#1279924 - 10/03/09 10:47 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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I'm not sure the word Timbre makes it any more clearer than Tone.

In the Evans example that's in Werner's book, I believe the other Pianists did make a statement that the piano did not sound good (Bad inherent tone? smile ). Then when Bill Evans played it, they were all put to shame. So yes, Evans would mostly likely sound better than any of us on a Roland Stage Piano. However, I think since there's less to control on the digital, that difference might be minimized. Probably more people can sound good on a digital. An acoustic is not so forgiving.

Now in Jazz at least, there's a big difference with other Genres in how to manage this tone. Jazz doesn't use a lot of pedal. With the quick stream of notes and the dissonances, this would not sound good with pedal. So by the nature of the beast the Jazz player is very concerned with the Release portion of Attack/Sustain/Release (ASR), in other words very legato oriented, which is a key part of swing.


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#1279931 - 10/03/09 10:59 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: jazzwee]  
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Just call it touch?

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#1279965 - 10/03/09 12:03 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by theJourney
There have been lots of posts in the past on the Pianist Corner forum about tone and the physical side of playing the piano which can be summarized as " only careful years long study with a master teacher on a fine acoustic instrument can insure that the pianist will not injure himself and produce an ugly banging tone ".


This "summary" isn't vaguely close to being a correct summary.


Easy to criticize, isn't it?
Much more difficult to contribute.

Why not share with us your correct "summary" of the past years of posting on tone? Perhaps such an approach would tend to help stimulate discussion rather than attempt to stifle it.


You started a thread with what I would consider to be a completely incorrect "summary". Just pointing that out. I certainly don't intend to do your "assignment". I doubt that thread or any thread where there are numerous opinions can be summarizaed.

#1279994 - 10/03/09 12:56 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Hmmm, those that claim they can make a certain distinction, criticize others for not meeting their standards, yet cannot or will not articulate the difference when push comes to shove: there is a lot of that kind of empty monkey business going around these days.

Thanks for your "contribution". It was yet again better for your post count than for progressing a meaningful discussion.

As long as it makes you and sotto voce and Horitzian feel good, then who are we, those who would like to have serious discussion, to argue with you?

Cheers.

#1280021 - 10/03/09 01:20 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
As long as it makes you and sotto voce and Horitzian feel good, then who are we, those who would like to have serious discussion, to argue with you?

Cheers.

Excuse me? I don't have a dog in this fight, so go pick a fight with somebody who gives a damn.

Steven

#1280191 - 10/03/09 07:07 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
Originally Posted by theJourney
As long as it makes you and sotto voce and Horitzian feel good, then who are we, those who would like to have serious discussion, to argue with you?

Cheers.

Excuse me? I don't have a dog in this fight, so go pick a fight with somebody who gives a damn.

Steven


So in the long run, what's the general concencus on tone over in the pianist's corner? That highly trained classical pianists can control which direction the hammer shafts twist and bend in, and to what degree, ergo they can fully control and contort the piano's tone?

If so, can they also control the level of humidity surrounding the shafts, to adjust to environmental changes that may alter the malleability of the hammer shafts?

It would seem that there's more to playing classical music than I had ever dreamed of!

I have an entire new found respect and reverence of classical pianists and their paranormal shaft-bending abilities! grin

#1280201 - 10/03/09 07:26 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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The general consensus is that you ought to get a dictionary.

Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
concencus


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#1280214 - 10/03/09 07:47 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee

So by the nature of the beast the Jazz player is very concerned with the Release portion of Attack/Sustain/Release (ASR), in other words very legato oriented, which is a key part of swing.


I think you and I might agree but it's hard to be sure, because there are different definitions of this ASR stuff. I'm not sure it's really any clearer than the word tone.

Attack? the spectrum of the beginning of the note is determined either by the speed of the hammer, or the software that defines it in the case of the digital. I don't think any pianist controls attack on either piano, but all of us try to place that attack in the precisely correct place (either before, on, or after the notated note value as required.) Especially critical to attack is separation from the previous note, and dynamic level - I claim that totally defines attack, I suspect some of you disagree.

Sustain? Yeah, how long we keep our finger down.

Release? This is probably what tone is mostly about. One finger comes up as another comes down, but with humans there is an infinite amount of variation possible in the timing of that. Space between the notes? How much? Overlap of the notes? How much? And within the voicing, overlap of part of the chord with space in part of the chord.

But as far as affecting the spectrum of the note through the release, nah.


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#1280219 - 10/03/09 07:54 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: TimR]  
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Touch, tone...hmmm...

To me, when it's right, it's an embrace between (among) the instrument, the pianist and the composer...

And I think we all know it when we hear it. It's harder on a digital, but I did get a nice compliment on my touch when playing Chopin on a CVP 409 at the Yamaha dealer....then again, he was probably buttering me up.

But the only time I've really felt that I played with nice touch/tone is when I play Chopin on my Knabe.


#1280228 - 10/03/09 08:08 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
So in the long run, what's the general concencus on tone over in the pianist's corner? That highly trained classical pianists can control which direction the hammer shafts twist and bend in, and to what degree, ergo they can fully control and contort the piano's tone?


Seems to me there was one poster who claimed that hammer flex was a component to tone above and beyond the velocity of the strike, but there was certainly no consensus that such a thing was even detectable let alone controllable.

#1280230 - 10/03/09 08:17 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: daro]  
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Definitely no consensus, I'd say smile nor probably ever will be.


Du holde Kunst...
#1280236 - 10/03/09 08:38 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
The general consensus is that you ought to get a dictionary.




I guess it's a blessing in a way that you have that much time on your hands to run spell and typo checks on everyone's posts on a Saturday night, when most adolescents are out and about with their friends and girlfriends having fun! How lucky you are to have such a limited social calendar to make that possible. thumb

I have no use for a dictionary. You're the college student, I'm not. Nobody is grading me on my typos except for you.



#1280246 - 10/03/09 08:56 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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So much hate =( Why can't you just get along.

#1280269 - 10/03/09 10:16 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: KlinkKlonk]  
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Originally Posted by KlinkKlonk
So much hate =( Why can't you just get along.


Funny you should say that. I don't hate anyone nearly enough to run spell checks on everyone's posts and then troll them if I find a typo, suggesting they buy a dictionary.
Ironically, when it comes to matters concerning jazz piano, an occassional text typo is the only thing Horowitzian is qualified to correct me on, truth be told.
That's not angst or not getting along. That's just plain facts.

#1280278 - 10/03/09 10:49 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: currawong]  
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The claim that pianists control which way the hammer shafts twist and bends is ridiculous. Do people actualy claim that is the mysterious tone controlling technique? Of course there are all sorts of things some people claim to be true that are false.

#1280282 - 10/03/09 11:04 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]  
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Jazz+, if it's my post you're responding to, I was just saying that there is no consensus in the Pianist Corner about the degree to which a pianist can control the piano's tone. There are those who say it's just velocity of hammer and you can't control tone, and those who think there's something else (one of the somethings might be the hammer twisting thing according to some), and a whole lot of others who don't care all that much, but just keep using their ears and trying to make beautiful sounds however it is they're doing it. smile I think I'm in the third camp.


Du holde Kunst...
#1280288 - 10/03/09 11:42 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
Originally Posted by theJourney
Do I have that right or are there players and instructors on the non-classical side who are obsessed with "tone"?


Because classical pianists are dealing with music that is pre-conceived, that is, no mater how many times you approach the piece, everything remains the same, all notation unchaged, the ONLY parameters that they have to impart any of their own creativity whatsoever, aside from tempo, is their erroneous delusion that they can somehow alter the "tone" of the piano.



I can think of multiple practicle and basic examples of where these statements are ignorant. A classical pianist can alter the voicing or balance as a parameter of expression. They can use rubato which is certainly different from tempo. They can use various techniques of touch combined with pedaling etc etc. They can bring out different voices within counterpoint. They can manipulate time and silence. I could go on and on.


Quote
The tone of the piano is inherent in the piano itself, not the player. The tone of any one note, any key depressed with enough force to sound a note at any volume will be the same as if depressed by Lang Lang, Theolonius Monk, a 4 year old child touching the piano for the first time, or a machine designed to depress keys.


This is a misguided arguement. I would agree that if a key is struck with exactly the same force it will produce exactly the same tone. However, as soon as the key is struck with a different force, on an acoustic instrument, the tone as well as the dynamic changes. And, there are pretty much an infinite number of speeds that a key can be struck at. The slightest change creates a different tone, not just a different volume. On better pianos, the tone changes more.
Now, add to that pedaling effects, balancing/voicing of more than one note, timing, etc etc and the tonal variety available to a pianist within the context of music, becomes limited only by their imagination, purpose and control. This is why a good, purposeful pianist has a sound of their own, regardless of the piano they play on, although certainly at the same time affected by the piano they play on.


Quote
As long as a note is depressed at the same velocity, and with the same force, there will be no difference in the physical acoustics of that note with regard to it's acoustical, timbral profile.


True, but who cares about a note depressed at the same velocity and the same force. Out of context notes being played exactly the same way by robots means nothing. Now, add pedal, 1/2 pedal, una corda, in a myriad of combinations while changing that velocity subtley or dramatically and ....VOILA.... you have different tone every time. Add the context of music and a pianist with an excellent imagination for sound and the technique to execute, and you have inifinite tonal variety.

Quote
What the classical pianists erroneously refer to as "controlling tone" is the control of ASR, the note envelope. The attack, sustain, and release of each note WITHIN the contect of the line (phrasing).


The speed of the attack absolutely changes the tone, not just the volume. The decay after the attack cannot be controlled, but the illusion can be. How a pianist shapes a legato through attack, release, timing, balance, connection, pedaling, voicing, can absolutely create the illusion of sustain where it doesn't exist. This is quite evident when listening to 2 pianists playing the same music on the same piano and one sounds like they are singing and the other sounds like someone playing a percussion instrument.
Release certainly affects tone. Strike a key, and let it linger for one second or 1/10 of a second or 5 seconds. The timing of the release will determine what the listener perceives the tone to be. That note has a different balance of harmonics at attack, 1/10 of a second in, and 5 seconds in.
And, again, add musical context and the tonal variety becomes infinite.




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#1280331 - 10/04/09 03:04 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
Originally Posted by KlinkKlonk
So much hate =( Why can't you just get along.


Funny you should say that. I don't hate anyone nearly enough to run spell checks on everyone's posts and then troll them if I find a typo, suggesting they buy a dictionary.
Ironically, when it comes to matters concerning jazz piano, an occassional text typo is the only thing Horowitzian is qualified to correct me on, truth be told.
That's not angst or not getting along. That's just plain facts.


The style of personal interaction of Old New Amsterdam New Yorkers is sometimes indistinguishable from that of Old Amsterdammers. grin

I read some of these authentic sounding posts and long for a Katz Corned Beef sandwich followed by a long evening in some real, live, in your face, New York Jazz Club.

#1280343 - 10/04/09 04:18 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: Keith D Kerman]  
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Now, add to that pedaling effects, balancing/voicing of more than one note, timing, etc etc and the tonal variety available to a pianist within the context of music, becomes limited only by their imagination, purpose and control. This is why a good, purposeful pianist has a sound of their own, regardless of the piano they play on, although certainly at the same time affected by the piano they play on.



Sorry for your confusion on the subject, but your statements suggest ignorance of the science of acoustics. It would be a figment of the IMAGINATION that even the most gifted pianist can make an early 20th century Mason and Hamlin sound mimic the "tone" of a late 21st century Yamaha by exercising complete PURPOSE and CONTROL.

The identifying marker that you're referring to that distinguishes one pianist from the next is their PHRASING, the way music that finite music, though unchanged in notation, is subject to variation and interpretation by manipulating performance parameters, not some supernatural ability to uniquely change the acoustic profile of the instrument from player to player.

Though there is an infinite way to rephrase the same music, the acoustic profile of an instrument can only be changed by altering the instrument itself.


#1280440 - 10/04/09 09:01 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne

It would be a figment of the IMAGINATION that even the most gifted pianist can make an early 20th century Mason and Hamlin sound mimic the "tone" of a late 21st century Yamaha by exercising complete PURPOSE and CONTROL.


I think it is a figmant of your imagination that anyone at any point was saying anything related to this totally random and unrelated point. I will counter it and support my arguement with an equally relevant point. Flying monkeys are dissimalar from toast! laugh

Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne

The identifying marker that you're referring to that distinguishes one pianist from the next is their PHRASING, the way music that finite music, though unchanged in notation, is subject to variation and interpretation by manipulating performance parameters, not some supernatural ability to uniquely change the acoustic profile of the instrument from player to player.

Though there is an infinite way to rephrase the same music, the acoustic profile of an instrument can only be changed by altering the instrument itself.


The original poster was writing about a classical pianists obsession with tone. If you are using tone and an instrument's acoustic profile as interchangeable, then you are not addressing what the original poster was writing about.
It seemed like you were saying that one can't change the tone on a piano. You can change the tone on a piano by striking a key twice in exactly the same way, but once with the damper pedal engaged and once with the damper pedal not engaged. You can change the tone on a piano by striking a key twice in exactly the same way, but once with the una corda engaged and once with the una corda not engaged. You can change the tone of a piano by striking the key with more force or with less force. It is not only the dynamic that changes, but also the tone. It will still sound within "the acoustic profile" of the instrument, but "the acoustic profile" includes many many different types of tone.
Now, I am pretty sure that you understand this, but your definition of tone and changing tone is something else. You seem to be saying that the only way that a tone on a piano could be legitamately changed would be if a pianist made one piano sound like another. And then you ignore the change in tone that occurs on a piano that occurs from basic techniques of playing such as engaging the pedal or changing the speed of attack.
You are aware that the definition of tone is not limited to "the acoustic profile of the instrument", right?


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#1280462 - 10/04/09 09:48 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: currawong]  
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"...Seems to me there was one poster who claimed that hammer flex was a component to tone above and beyond the velocity of the strike..."

If I recall, the poster was Kawai Don and the information about the flexure of hammer shanks came from ultra high-speed photography. It wasn't just a blue sky pronouncement. But the speed of the strike is a factor in how, and how much, the shank will flex.


Clef

#1280503 - 10/04/09 11:00 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: theJourney]  
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Originally Posted by theJourney
Hmmm, those that claim they can make a certain distinction, criticize others for not meeting their standards, yet cannot or will not articulate the difference when push comes to shove: there is a lot of that kind of empty monkey business going around these days.

Thanks for your "contribution". It was yet again better for your post count than for progressing a meaningful discussion.



All I said was that your "summary" in the first post was not correct. In fact, I have no idea why you think what you wrote in your OP represents any consensus of opinion. I even explained why I wouldn't be able to summarize opinion(no consesnsus) about tone at PW even if I wanted to attempt to.

If a poster starts a thread with what I think is a false assumption, then I think saying so seems like a valid contribution.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/04/09 11:04 AM.
#1280510 - 10/04/09 11:12 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
"...Seems to me there was one poster who claimed that hammer flex was a component to tone above and beyond the velocity of the strike..."

If I recall, the poster was Kawai Don and the information about the flexure of hammer shanks came from ultra high-speed photography. It wasn't just a blue sky pronouncement. But the speed of the strike is a factor in how, and how much, the shank will flex.


This may be a factor in the tone that a specific piano delivers, but I fail to see how a player could control it independently of volume, except in his mind.

#1280558 - 10/04/09 12:46 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Michael Darnton]  
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Here is an example of controlling the tone:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3OOwglVldI

#1280721 - 10/04/09 05:45 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: Keith D Kerman]  
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne

It would be a figment of the IMAGINATION that even the most gifted pianist can make an early 20th century Mason and Hamlin sound mimic the "tone" of a late 21st century Yamaha by exercising complete PURPOSE and CONTROL.


I think it is a figmant of your imagination that anyone at any point was saying anything related to this totally random and unrelated point. I will counter it and support my arguement with an equally relevant point. Flying monkeys are dissimalar from toast! laugh

Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne

The identifying marker that you're referring to that distinguishes one pianist from the next is their PHRASING, the way music that finite music, though unchanged in notation, is subject to variation and interpretation by manipulating performance parameters, not some supernatural ability to uniquely change the acoustic profile of the instrument from player to player.

Though there is an infinite way to rephrase the same music, the acoustic profile of an instrument can only be changed by altering the instrument itself.


The original poster was writing about a classical pianists obsession with tone. If you are using tone and an instrument's acoustic profile as interchangeable, then you are not addressing what the original poster was writing about.
It seemed like you were saying that one can't change the tone on a piano. You can change the tone on a piano by striking a key twice in exactly the same way, but once with the damper pedal engaged and once with the damper pedal not engaged. You can change the tone on a piano by striking a key twice in exactly the same way, but once with the una corda engaged and once with the una corda not engaged. You can change the tone of a piano by striking the key with more force or with less force. It is not only the dynamic that changes, but also the tone. It will still sound within "the acoustic profile" of the instrument, but "the acoustic profile" includes many many different types of tone.
Now, I am pretty sure that you understand this, but your definition of tone and changing tone is something else. You seem to be saying that the only way that a tone on a piano could be legitamately changed would be if a pianist made one piano sound like another. And then you ignore the change in tone that occurs on a piano that occurs from basic techniques of playing such as engaging the pedal or changing the speed of attack.
You are aware that the definition of tone is not limited to "the acoustic profile of the instrument", right?


According to your definition of tone, each musician has his own unique tone, regardless of whether he's playing a Bosendorfer concert grand, or Linus' toy piano. It's a ridiculous hypothesis.
Each pianist has his own STYLISTIC TOUCH.
Perform this simple experiment by striking two pianists. Both will issue forth with a different tone when struck dependent on to what degree you bent their shafts, and in which direction. cool

#1280741 - 10/04/09 06:33 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Although I was pretty aware of this before, I am thoroughly convinced that you simply want to troll, clinging to your points and definitions regardless of logic or relevance, and conveniantly ignoring anything that shows you to clearly be wrong. You win.....I wasted my time with you. Hopefully though, anybody intelligent who is reading this and interested in learning about piano tone wont be confused by your trolling.


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#1280752 - 10/04/09 07:00 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: Keith D Kerman]  
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Hopefully though, anybody intelligent who is reading this and interested in learning about piano tone wont be confused by your trolling.


I guess I'm not worthy, since basically, I know enough about physics and acoustics to disagree with almost every word you write on the subject, the only correct words in your acoustic treatises being and, of, in, on, and other connective devices betwee the fonts of misinformation and magic.

Now this in itselfisn't anymore your fault than it was medieval man's beliefs in magic and witchcraft due to a lack of proper scientific understanding of thunderstorms, diseases, and other natural causes.


#1280769 - 10/04/09 07:17 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Hopefully we can stop the fighting and get back to topic.

Keith, I understand what you're saying. The OP, I thought, was concerned with the unique identifiable sound of each pianist. And there is no doubt that their tone is recognizable regardless of piano.

I think you were both talking past yourselves here. I think you are both right. My teacher has a particular style of playing where he constantly rides the soft pedal when playing jazz. In effect, he's using the physical characteristics of the instrument to enhance the other things he can control. So in that sense, he's altering the piano tone.

In another sense, he knows what kind of tone he wishes to produce and realizes it is not something he can manipulate on stage so he has a specific tonal profile for his piano that his tech creates for him (softer hammers).

He also makes sure to create the proper recording environment to enhance the sound he wishes to create.

Thus, he comes up with a unique tone on his recordings.

But I don't think you're suggesting that you buy the idea of flexing shafts and that some aftertouch on the keys affects the sound after the hammer is released. Or do you?





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#1280791 - 10/04/09 07:45 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee
But I don't think you're suggesting that you buy the idea of flexing shafts and that some aftertouch on the keys affects the sound after the hammer is released. Or do you?





I'm not exactly sure of the exact earliest date that an escapement was first introduced and incorporated into the keyboard action, but on pianos as we know them, an escapement, a device assuring that once a hammer has struck the strings, it falls back from them, allowing the strings to vibrate undamped, but due to this escapement, aftertouch is a myth, nothing more.
You see it all the time. A pianist rocking his finger back and forth on a key depressed to the keybed to emote "vibrato", but alas, he can rock his finger from now until the end of time, hard enough to push the key right through the piano, but no vibrato will be heard.
Once the escapement removes the hammer from the strings, whatever aftertouch is applied to the keys is a moot point.
Quite possibly, he believes differently.

#1280811 - 10/04/09 08:39 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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I took this post, quoted verbatem, from a guitar forum thread that discusses "tone" from guitarist to guitarist:

**************************************

It's understandable that someone would want to get into the ballpark of a specific musician's tone, but I thought it would be helpful to note some of the factors, major and minor, that effect things. I'm open to contributions.

Factors that effect tone:
String gauge, life, brand, type
String break angle over the bridge
Hardware brand, type, density, and metal
Tonewood of body, neck, and fretboard
What tree the tonewood came from - no two trees are the same
Body size and construction (including how many pieces)
Set neck or bolt on or neck thru
Pickup types (magnets, brand, position, windings) - no two pickups are the same
Tone and volume knob settings
Quality and type of pots and electronics
Amp type (brand, model, etc)
Tube type, brand, bias, age, position
Cab wood
Cab size
Speaker size, brand, type, magnet, the way they are built into the cab, the way they are wired
EQ on amp and mixers and processors and programs and all that stuff
Gain and volume settings
Pedals (even pedals that aren't on can effect tone too)
Microphone type and position
Processing before and after the mastering process (once the recording is mastered it makes a difference)
Recording equipment (mixers, programs, etc)
Recording environment - temp, humidity, type of room (sound proofed? wood floors? etc)
Recording process - overdubs, production, style
Producer and engineer
The players fingers, style, sweat composition, mood that day, level of inebriation, sexual tension, nervousness, excitement, what he ate that day and how his body processed that food, level of ear fatigue
Cables used - brand, type, length, metal, soldering
The list goes on...

*******************************

#1280870 - 10/04/09 10:50 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
I took this post, quoted verbatem, from a guitar forum thread that discusses "tone" from guitarist to guitarist:

**************************************

It's understandable that someone would want to get into the ballpark of a specific musician's tone, but I thought it would be helpful to note some of the factors, major and minor, that effect things. I'm open to contributions.

Factors that effect tone: [...]

Do those factors effect tone or affect tone? I imagine that some do both, but the distinction is central to the topic.

Steven

#1280883 - 10/04/09 11:29 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: sotto voce]  
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Some might find this an interesting read.

http://www.speech.kth.se/prod/publications/files/999.pdf



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#1280990 - 10/05/09 04:16 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
I took this post, quoted verbatem, from a guitar forum thread that discusses "tone" from guitarist to guitarist:

**************************************

It's understandable that someone would want to get into the ballpark of a specific musician's tone, but I thought it would be helpful to note some of the factors, major and minor, that effect things. I'm open to contributions.

Factors that effect tone: [...]

Do those factors effect tone or affect tone? I imagine that some do both, but the distinction is central to the topic.

Steven


Those weren't my words. As I said, I lifted the direct quote from a post on a guitar forum re a discussion on tone. IMO, affect and effect are interchangeable or can be combined, as tone is AFFECTED by all and more of the factors he mentioned and the resultant tone is a byproduct of variable EFFECTS, some occuring in nature and others, electronically.
The primary thing to consider is that alot of our listening is through electronic mediums that impart a huge influence on the tone of the music.

#1281050 - 10/05/09 07:13 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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It was clear that those weren't your words, but the two verbs have different meanings. I suspect the original writer meant to use "to affect" instead of "to effect," and I thought it was worth considering what factors are responsible for the existence of tone and which are responsible for altering it.

They're not interchangeable, unless there's no difference between creating tone and merely having impact on it.

Steven

#1281183 - 10/05/09 11:25 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: sotto voce]  
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I have ideas about Journey's original question - and if everybody is nice to me I will share them.

Classically trained, jazz trained, pop trained or whatever, the question of beautiful tone is either important to a pianist or not. Conceivably a jazz pianist might opt for a harsh tone at times for expressive purposes. But that said, someone who has heard a good pianist at a good piano produce a singing melody, or a perfectly even scale, or a bell-like tone - the famous broken pearl necklace - might be moved to try to produce the same thing in his or her playing. Classical music demands very fine attention to all sorts of expressive resources, and so does certain types of jazz performances. It is not as simple as 'classical pianists obsess over tone'.

When Bach said that playing the keyboard is easy 'you just press the right note at the right time' he was partly being facetious, but was also contrasting the keyboards of his time with the study of the violin and the voice, for which years have to go in to producing a beautiful tone. If you play on a modern 'acoustic' piano, regardless of the type of music you play, the issue of tone production can become something you 'obsess' over, if only because the results of perfecting this aspect of playing are so beautiful and compelling.

Certainly the piano itself contributes the most to differences in tone. But a well trained pianist will bring out the expressive qualities more dramatically than an ill trained one. The string of a grand are under thousands of pounds of pressure and they respond with great sensitivity to the input from the hands. The hands deliver an impulse to the mechanism - a signal with a high frequency content. The transients from the initial impulse quickly die out and the boundary conditions imposed by the fixation of the strings themselves support a set of vibrations related harmonically. Because of the random nature of the initial transients, and the high pressure of the strings, it is very easy to overdrive the mechanism and create a harsh tone - a tone with a loud transient and unavoidable non-linearities. The limits of useful tone - tones which are both full and not harsh - are narrower than a novice player might suspect at first. The piano can be tricky this way.

The challenge of the situation is to be able to produce a full tone without overdriving the mechanism, on the one hand, and the production of an exquisitely soft tone without the notes 'dropping out' or sounding weak. The first task, limiting the transfer of power from the arms to the strings, is overcome by keeping a flexible wrist - a shock absorber - and using fluid motions with the hands. THe second task, producing a full tone at low dynamic levels, is a matter of practice at that keyboard and finding the point at which who have given it just enough.

And then all the other techniques mentioned above- timing, balance, etc - are used to support the illusion of a singing tone. If you listen carefully to recording of Richter or Kempff or Rubenstein you can hear that they create the illusion of a singing tone - or an orchestral brilliance, or clarity of tone, or separation of voices - by an almost superhuman exercise of control of the parameters mentioned.

Whether or not someone has use for this level of control within a particular style of music seems to be entirely a personal choice.


Last edited by Schubertian; 10/05/09 12:18 PM.

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#1281399 - 10/05/09 05:44 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by sotto voce

They're not interchangeable, unless there's no difference between creating tone and merely having impact on it.

Steven


With regards to tone, they most certainly are, used in the manner in which I'm thinking of. There's an entire world of acoustic instruments that can be AFFECTED tonally by electronic EFFECTS, which can AFFECT any of the sonic parameters, for one, TONE, once recorded electronically.
Electronic effects will AFFECT the entire sonic profile, especially with regard to the timbral spectrum, which is the major defining component of tone.
Effects affect tone.
Shouldn't we be discussing this on a grammar forum? Or do we really need to flog horses over grammar when we all know exactly what's being stated?
If you really need grammar to argue a point that I'm wrong somewhere along the line, that's fairly weak.
Why not used scientific FACTS about acoustics instead? Or are there no scientific facts available to dispute all the "holes" that you perceive in my theory of pianists being able to change the timbral profile of the piano, not by changing the piano itself, or moving it into a different environment, but by some arcane methods, for no other reason other than to prove me wrrong?
BTW: I put an extra r in "wrong" to give you fuel for your next argument.

#1281408 - 10/05/09 05:56 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Schubertian]  
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Originally Posted by Schubertian
I have ideas about Journey's original question - and if everybody is nice to me I will share them.

Classically trained, jazz trained, pop trained or whatever, the question of beautiful tone is either important to a pianist or not. Conceivably a jazz pianist might opt for a harsh tone at times for expressive purposes. But that said, someone who has heard a good pianist at a good piano produce a singing melody, or a perfectly even scale, or a bell-like tone - the famous broken pearl necklace - might be moved to try to produce the same thing in his or her playing. Classical music demands very fine attention to all sorts of expressive resources, and so does certain types of jazz performances. It is not as simple as 'classical pianists obsess over tone'.

When Bach said that playing the keyboard is easy 'you just press the right note at the right time' he was partly being facetious, but was also contrasting the keyboards of his time with the study of the violin and the voice, for which years have to go in to producing a beautiful tone. If you play on a modern 'acoustic' piano, regardless of the type of music you play, the issue of tone production can become something you 'obsess' over, if only because the results of perfecting this aspect of playing are so beautiful and compelling.

Certainly the piano itself contributes the most to differences in tone. But a well trained pianist will bring out the expressive qualities more dramatically than an ill trained one. The string of a grand are under thousands of pounds of pressure and they respond with great sensitivity to the input from the hands. The hands deliver an impulse to the mechanism - a signal with a high frequency content. The transients from the initial impulse quickly die out and the boundary conditions imposed by the fixation of the strings themselves support a set of vibrations related harmonically. Because of the random nature of the initial transients, and the high pressure of the strings, it is very easy to overdrive the mechanism and create a harsh tone - a tone with a loud transient and unavoidable non-linearities. The limits of useful tone - tones which are both full and not harsh - are narrower than a novice player might suspect at first. The piano can be tricky this way.

The challenge of the situation is to be able to produce a full tone without overdriving the mechanism, on the one hand, and the production of an exquisitely soft tone without the notes 'dropping out' or sounding weak. The first task, limiting the transfer of power from the arms to the strings, is overcome by keeping a flexible wrist - a shock absorber - and using fluid motions with the hands. THe second task, producing a full tone at low dynamic levels, is a matter of practice at that keyboard and finding the point at which who have given it just enough.

And then all the other techniques mentioned above- timing, balance, etc - are used to support the illusion of a singing tone. If you listen carefully to recording of Richter or Kempff or Rubenstein you can hear that they create the illusion of a singing tone - or an orchestral brilliance, or clarity of tone, or separation of voices - by an almost superhuman exercise of control of the parameters mentioned.

Whether or not someone has use for this level of control within a particular style of music seems to be entirely a personal choice.



Great explanation of overall DYNAMICS and internote DYNAMICS.

The carefully controlled amount of force applied to keystrokes, relative to the whole, and each other.
However, sure as the dynamics that Charlie Parker applies to his playing while playing a plastic alto sax (he used one on several sessions while his regular horn was in hock) versus Charlie Parker playing his usual top of the line Selmer remians the same, Parker didn't produce the same TONE on both instruments.

The timbral profile of any instrument will remain unchanged, regardless of how you affect the keys, unless you EFFECT the timbre, acoustically, electronically, or by altering the instrument in some fashion.

#1281409 - 10/05/09 05:58 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Schubertian]  
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Originally Posted by Schubertian

And then all the other techniques mentioned above- timing, balance, etc - are used to support the illusion of a singing tone. If you listen carefully to recording of Richter or Kempff or Rubenstein you can hear that they create the illusion of a singing tone - or an orchestral brilliance, or clarity of tone, or separation of voices - by an almost superhuman exercise of control of the parameters mentioned.

Whether or not someone has use for this level of control within a particular style of music seems to be entirely a personal choice.

Well said.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
#1281411 - 10/05/09 06:03 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: jazzyprof]  
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Originally Posted by Schubertian

they create the illusion of a singing tone

Well said.


ILLUSION being the key word here. An illusion created solely by overall and internote dynamics. Not by controlling the tone.

Possibly I listen differently. I would hear it as excellent DYNAMIC control, not a change in the TONE of the piano, or "singing tone" (vibrato, portamento, slurs, breaths, yodels, et. al.)

A superb pianist will use DYNAMICS to elicit the full POTENTIAL of the richness of tone inherent in the piano.

#1281439 - 10/05/09 07:36 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Originally Posted by VirtuosicOne
With regards to tone, they most certainly are, used in the manner in which I'm thinking of. There's an entire world of acoustic instruments that can be AFFECTED tonally by electronic EFFECTS, which can AFFECT any of the sonic parameters, for one, TONE, once recorded electronically.
Electronic effects will AFFECT the entire sonic profile, especially with regard to the timbral spectrum, which is the major defining component of tone.
Effects affect tone....

Do you think then that the person you quoted meant to list things that affect tone rather than effect it? Perhaps he wasn't even aware of the distinction or that the inadvertent choice of the wrong word would change his meaning completely; the way it stands, he's asserting that all those factors produce tone, not that they have an effect upon it.

I don't understand your aggro, your defensive posture for such a new member, or your wish to trivialize my query as an issue of grammar policing. It's not. If a simple typo or an obvious misspelling were made, it wouldn't be commentworthy—so you can discard your suspicion about any alleged "fuel for my next argument."

All I seek is insight into or speculation about whether that writer meant "some of the factors ... that affect things" and "Factors that affect tone" where he wrote "some of the factors ... that effect things" and "Factors that effect tone"; despite your remonstrations, that simple question hasn't been answered.

Steven

#1281524 - 10/06/09 12:45 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: sotto voce]  
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How about those of you who believe that the tone quality of a piano can be changed by a player explain to us nonbelievers how it is done?

#1281526 - 10/06/09 12:47 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]  
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Affect with an a means "to influence," as in "The rain affected Amy's hairdo."

Effect has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but the meaning "a result" seems to be at the core of all the definitions. For example, you can say, "The effect was eye-popping," or "The sound effects were amazing," or "The rain had no effect on Amy's hairdo."

#1281539 - 10/06/09 01:51 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]  
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Originally Posted by Jazz+
Affect with an a means "to influence," as in "The rain affected Amy's hairdo."

Effect has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but the meaning "a result" seems to be at the core of all the definitions. For example, you can say, "The effect was eye-popping," or "The sound effects were amazing," or "The rain had no effect on Amy's hairdo."


What they don't realize is that the word "EFFECTS", is indicative in ELECTRONIC music, or any ELECTRONIC RECORDING and PLAYBACK of even purely acoustical music, of a wide range of AFFECTS.

EFFECTS can be a blanket generalization referring to any one of the innumerable ways a sound wave can be compressed, enhanced, or altered, from equalization, which directly determines and AFFECTS the TONE to echos and reverberations.

An example of this is an EWI, here played by the incredible Michael Brecker, IMO only equaled technically on sax by the master technician Phil Woods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOEF7f2HGoE

Through the use of effects, not AFECTING the tone himself, has an 8+ octave range, and can play contrapuntally.


#1281897 - 10/06/09 04:16 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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#1281968 - 10/06/09 07:15 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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#1281978 - 10/06/09 07:41 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: eweiss]  
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Originally Posted by eweiss
Gollum says...

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We be nice to you if you be nice to us.


First, you'd have to explain to me what's offensive with my post that generated his and your attack:

What they don't realize is that the word "EFFECTS", is indicative in ELECTRONIC music, or any ELECTRONIC RECORDING and PLAYBACK of even purely acoustical music, of a wide range of AFFECTS.

EFFECTS can be a blanket generalization referring to any one of the innumerable ways a sound wave can be compressed, enhanced, or altered, from equalization, which directly determines and AFFECTS the TONE to echos and reverberations.

An example of this is an EWI, here played by the incredible Michael Brecker, IMO only equaled technically on sax by the master technician Phil Woods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOEF7f2HGoE

Through the use of effects, not AFECTING the tone himself, has an 8+ octave range, and can play contrapuntally.

****************************************


#1281983 - 10/06/09 07:45 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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What attack dude? That was my first (and now last post) on this extremely stupid thread.


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#1281988 - 10/06/09 07:50 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: eweiss]  
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Originally Posted by eweiss
What attack dude? That was my first (and now last post) on this extremely stupid thread.


It's not an attack. I'm just being as "sensitive" as others that read offensive threats into stating pure fact.
Also, what's stupid about it?

The only thing I find humorous (what others may call stupid) is the belief that once the escapement removes the hammers from contact with the strings, that a pianist can still exert some type of mystical force on them with after-touch histrionics that will magically allow the skilled pianist to somehow alter the timbral spectrum of the instrument (tone).

I do understand that there are those that wish to believe it is possible. Those that have faith that it is possible, although the concept flies contrary to every known law of acoustical science and the construcion principles of piano actions.

Merely mentioning my opinion on the subject and explaining why my belief is that the tone is inherent in the piano and not the pianist is no reason to take it as a personal attack, anymore than Galileo pointing out to the medieval church that the Earth revolves around the sun, instead of the other way around.

#1282093 - 10/06/09 11:03 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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Jazz+ Offline
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V1, I think they don't like being pawned by common sense.

#1282136 - 10/07/09 12:40 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]  
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VirtuosicOne Offline
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Originally Posted by Jazz+
V1, I think they don't like being pawned by common sense.


In some ways, I wish I had their child-like type of faith to believe in miracles like Chris Angel being able to defy gravity, the sun remaining motionless in the sky until battles are won, Doug Henning being able to make elephants disappear, Santa visiting billions of children in one night, and pianists able to control the precise manner in which hammer shafts bend to alter tone.
I wonder when they watch Chris Angel how many realize that if someone could truly defy gravity, that the Earth and everything on it that wasn't defying gravity would spin by him at 700 mph orbitally, and about 66,000 mph eliptically/heliacally, likely forcing him right through or plastering him into the Earth dependent upon which hemisphere he was formerly standing on.

Knowledge, science, and logic are not the cup of tea for those that have that type of faith.

#1282198 - 10/07/09 05:14 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]  
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ChicksfromCorea Offline
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Perhaps they were just "fooled" by this video. smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muCPjK4nGY4&feature=popular


#1282202 - 10/07/09 05:26 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: ChicksfromCorea]  
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Phlebas Offline
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Thread closed. Too many personal attacks and silliness.


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