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Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247159
03/15/14 05:56 PM
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sophial Offline
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Originally Posted by Almaviva
Thank you all for your posts. It's been very informative and very entertaining.

One follow-up question, please. If what Bechstein means by "orchestral voicing" is that each register of the piano has a distinct tonal quality that can change subtly again with different dynamic levels, how can Bechstein maintain that "customers who do not explore this feature of tonal design often prematurely assume that the piano is voiced too bright for the American musical taste."

Inter-register tonal variety does not necessarily equate to brightness. The registers can be voiced to either dark or bright timbres. So what is Bechstein talking about?


P.S. - It doesn't just apply to pianos, either. Enrico Caruso and Placido Domingo were both tenors, but there was a dark timbre to both of their voices. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was a baritone, but his voice had a tenorish coloring to it, a quality that became more apparent in his fifties.


Luckily Placido Domingo is still very much with us so we can keep him in the present tense, but interestingly, later in life he has switched to baritone repertory so in that sense he "was" a tenor. smile

Sophia

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Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247172
03/15/14 06:42 PM
03/15/14 06:42 PM
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Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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In our industry, as in many others, there are fancy terms trying somehow to emulate a higher meaning into things than necessary.
"orchestral voicing" is IMHO one of them - impressive sounding jargon.
I only know "good' and "not so good" voicers.
The "good ones" don't seem to have a problem: they make each piano sound best they can.

Quote
That may be, wimpiano. However, Bluthner, Schimmel and Seiler also have secondary and tertiary lines with international parts sourcing and/or non-German manufacturing sites, yet they still manage to be BVK members. How come Bechstein is not?


Perhaps ask Mr. Stein, CEO Grotrian Piano Manufaktur, Braunschweig or Bechstein Ag itself.

Mr Stein initiated the motion for official certification among German manufacturers fulfilling minimum requirements qualifying for "made in Germany" status.

"Why" or "why not" someone belongs to this list is for others to interpret.

Norbert





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Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: sophial] #2247199
03/15/14 08:05 PM
03/15/14 08:05 PM
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Richmond, Virginia
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Almaviva Offline OP
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LOL, Sophia. I knew that Domingo was still alive, but I thought that he had retired from singing altogether. The man is in his seventies, for Christ's sake! shocked

How is he doing with the baritone repertory? More power to him if he can still sing to professional standards.

Last edited by Almaviva; 03/15/14 08:07 PM.
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247276
03/16/14 12:14 AM
03/16/14 12:14 AM
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Domingo recently sang at the Met as Neptune in "The Enchanted Island". He has continued plans to sing baritone roles and is also still conducting, teaching, and many other activities. The man is a wonder.

Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247336
03/16/14 06:15 AM
03/16/14 06:15 AM
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this discussion has been interesting and helps explain why i always have so much trouble communicating to my technician what i'm hearing or what i'm wanting. using words to describe musical sound is a frustration.

Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: toyboy] #2247397
03/16/14 10:04 AM
03/16/14 10:04 AM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Try using demonstration to communicate with your technician. Note the places in specific pieces where the results are problematic. Play those sections for your technician and see what they say.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2247579
03/16/14 04:27 PM
03/16/14 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Try using demonstration to communicate with your technician. Note the places in specific pieces where the results are problematic. Play those sections for your technician and see what they say.


believe me i do. it doesn't help that i have a very strong minded tech who has no worry speaking his mind (i'm putting it politely). but he's very good at what he does. the most difficulty is trying to describe what i want when it comes to something more general than a problem, such as voicing. in the end i just let him do what he wants.

Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: toyboy] #2247589
03/16/14 05:03 PM
03/16/14 05:03 PM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by toyboy
this discussion has been interesting and helps explain why i always have so much trouble communicating to my technician what i'm hearing or what i'm wanting. using words to describe musical sound is a frustration.
Yes, but I think one of the qualities of a good tech is being able to understand what a pianist wants no matter how it's phrased. Or ask appropriate questions of the pianist to try and clarify the pianist's meaning.

The purely technical skill of a tech is not so useful if they can't figure out what the pianist wants.

Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: toyboy] #2247612
03/16/14 06:05 PM
03/16/14 06:05 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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It is more important for a technician to listen to the pianist than it is to listen to the piano. Finding compatible communication methods is part of the art of living. I sometimes fail at this.

People can be more difficult than pianos at times. But I do enjoy musicians and the music they make.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247722
03/16/14 11:01 PM
03/16/14 11:01 PM
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Canada
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I firmly believe my Frankenpiano is orchestrally voiced. Lower octaves are reminscent of a toddler beating a large metal pot with a wooden spoon. Somewhere around middle C it becomes the unloved child of a banjo and a funhouse organ, finishing with top notes of breaking glass across a rusty screen door.
Bechstein should offer me a good deal of money to study this elegant, sophisticated array of voices.


Yamaha LU101, Casio CDP220R. 1968 Mason & Risch 'frankenpiano' only the cat plays. It's where our musical journey began though so I refuse to get rid of it.
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: ShannonG] #2247723
03/16/14 11:04 PM
03/16/14 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ShannonG
I firmly believe my Frankenpiano is orchestrally voiced. Lower octaves are reminscent of a toddler beating a large metal pot with a wooden spoon. Somewhere around middle C it becomes the unloved child of a banjo and a funhouse organ, finishing with top notes of breaking glass across a rusty screen door.
Bechstein should offer me a good deal of money to study this elegant, sophisticated array of voices.

By far the best post on the topic!! (with all due respect to Sally Phillips)

Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: rlinkt] #2247726
03/16/14 11:23 PM
03/16/14 11:23 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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So Sorry rlinkt,
Seems your offer has been rejected. Back to the laboratory for you. I could lend you my assistant Igor-he is very good with brains.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2247765
03/17/14 03:24 AM
03/17/14 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT

People can be more difficult than pianos at times.


and so can technicians!

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Yes, but I think one of the qualities of a good tech is being able to understand what a pianist wants no matter how it's phrased. Or ask appropriate questions of the pianist to try and clarify the pianist's meaning.


more than agreed. i had one tech that i could communicate with wonderfully. then he got brain cancer. not to say that listening carefully is what caused it.



"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
- Gertrude Stein
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247769
03/17/14 03:51 AM
03/17/14 03:51 AM
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This is all very interesting. The term 'orchestral voicing' seems to have two different definitions in this thread, which makes its use as an accepted term with a specific meaning impossible.

If I'm not misinterpreting anything, it seems that Bechstein use the term to mean different tone character from the same note on the same piano when played at different volumes. This is not the same as what Sally describes as 'orchestral' voicing, where different areas of the pianos range have a different tone character. I have heard the term used by a dealer in this way in a discussion about the tone philosophy of Boesendorfer. The bass is rich, resonant and can be somewhat heavy, which is in contrast to the upper registers which are clear and bell like.

When I was looking at C. Bechstein M/Ps at the Bechstein showroom in Berlin, the salesperson did not use the word 'orchestral' at all when he discussed the tonal characteristics and aims of C. Bechstein pianos. He talked about purity of tone in each individual note, and a balance across the keyboard where the bass should not be too heavy and resonant so as to overpower the treble.

So all this led me to think of Boesendorfers as 'orchestrally' voiced, and C. Bechsteins as a polar opposite of this. Yet Piano Buyer claims Bechstein use the term 'orchestral' to describe their pianos (with a different meaning entirely.)

This makes the whole discussion of the meaning of this term somewhat loaded, and its easy to dismiss it as a marketing gimmick. I would just say that when I first heard the word 'orchestral' used to describe piano tone, I found it helpful in the context of the conversation at the time to increase my understanding of the differences in tone between different pianos. As a 'technical' term, it doesn't seem very helpful, but as always any description of sound is very subjective so words will often mean different things to different people. We don't need to take these analogies too seriously/literally.

Last edited by pogmoger; 03/17/14 11:54 AM. Reason: Clarity/factual accuracy.
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247776
03/17/14 04:49 AM
03/17/14 04:49 AM
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Interesting info pogmoger!

Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247835
03/17/14 09:15 AM
03/17/14 09:15 AM
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Rochester MN
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OK -- Here's a phrase quoted directly from the Bechstein website in reference to the C. Bechstein line:

"integral sound-energy system"

May I assume it means; "soundboard?"

All manufacturer's sites drip with flowery hyperbole. This is nothing new, and it certainly wasn't invented by Bechstein.

I was unable to find the term "'orchestrally' voiced" on the Bechstein site. Please note that even L. Fine used quotation marks on the word orchestrally. I don't know if this was used for emphasis or as a direct copy of text. The only thing that comes close to the description is the phrase; "ultra-nuanced unfolding tone."

How about "The Duplex-Scala?" Does the difference in spelling change what it is?

I do not mean to pick on Bechstein. Check out any builder's website or brochure and it will be filled with such phrases. They are marketing terms (hype), pure and simple.

Isn't the object of all fine voicing to have the timbre develop as the volume increases? Isn't this what pianists hear as tonal color? Isn't this what great pianos are designed to do? Is it unique to "orchestral voicing?"

Almaviva, it is best to take those sorts of terms with a grain of salt or a spoonful of sugar.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247844
03/17/14 09:44 AM
03/17/14 09:44 AM
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Melbourne, Australia
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I think the term "orchestral voicing" is completely superfluous because it always needs to be followed up with statements that explain what they mean. They may as well leave it out and come straight out and say what sort of tone the piano has, but alas, that is not how marketing works. Marketing deals with buzzwords and the like - most of it is vacuous nonsense, but advertising gurus are convinced it's the only way to sell a product. It's tiresome to those who can see through it - one can only conclude that buzzword marketing is directed at the uninitiated - whatever the product may be. This whole thread has still not managed to nail down a definition of "orchestral voicing". I hope the term doesn't catch on so much that we see it mentioned in every thread about piano tone one day. That would be very irritating to have it discussed time and time again with no consensus ever reached.

Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2247859
03/17/14 10:17 AM
03/17/14 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty

I was unable to find the term "'orchestrally' voiced" on the Bechstein site.

Not the exact text but something like it:

http://bechstein.com/en/meta-header...eleases/bechstein-academy-a-175-new.html

Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: WimPiano] #2247888
03/17/14 11:47 AM
03/17/14 11:47 AM
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Rochester MN
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Originally Posted by wimpiano
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty

I was unable to find the term "'orchestrally' voiced" on the Bechstein site.

Not the exact text but something like it:

http://bechstein.com/en/meta-header...eleases/bechstein-academy-a-175-new.html

"When a person plays over the entire keyboard, an orchestral sound is produced that one would hardly expect from such a medium-sized grand piano."

Well, I find that to be even more confusing than what is stated in the "A & D Piano Buyer" in reference to Bechstein voicing.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: What the heck is "Orchestral Voicing"? [Re: Almaviva] #2247889
03/17/14 11:50 AM
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Perhaps they fitted little bows, flutes, and so on. Haha

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