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Ethical question about recording for recitals
#2896715 10/03/19 11:05 AM
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Hello,

I have just made two recordings of the Waltz for the Nordic Themed Recital; and am not really satisfied with either. Some parts are ok, but a few parts were blundered.
So now I am asking myself: Is it ok to edit parts from the takes together, so that I get one halfway decent recording?

I am asking this question here, because it's not specific to the Nordic Themed Recital, but to any online recital I might be participating in the future.

On the one hand, in a recital, someone comes on stage, performs, and leaves. It's "Live", and shouldn't be different in an online recital. So putting an edited recording feels a bit like cheating to me.
On the other hand, the piece is not very well known, and I didn't find recordings of it online; so if someone wants to look it up, and find my video, they deserve a decent version in my opinion.

So what should I do?

I will try to make a third (and maybe fourth) take the upcoming weekend. But if I don't manage to produce a decent take, I will have three options:
  • Upload the least bad take
  • Upload an edited version with the best of all takes
  • Withdraw the piece from the recital.


What say you? Input is welcome.


My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
My other Yamaha is an XMAX 300.
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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896717 10/03/19 11:15 AM
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This is just my opinion. I think you can do as many takes as you like to get a decent recording, and that is already a lot easier compared to doing a live recital. But editing a take I think is a step too far.

Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896724 10/03/19 11:29 AM
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It may not be so much an ethical issue as it is a matter of what you want to achieve. I don't edit my recordings, but I seem able to come up with new mistakes every time I play. As a result I record many times, and eventually I submit the one with the least errors. For me this recording process is practice in being consistent, and this is practice I very much need. If I edited, there would be little to no pressure, and I would not play my best, and the recital would be less useful for me. In short: the recitals teach me to perform well, and therefore I don't edit.

But your reasons for participating in the recitals may be entirely different, in which case editing may not be contrary to your goals.


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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896736 10/03/19 12:03 PM
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Also just my opinion. Whatever feels best to you is fine. This is a recital amongst friends and if it makes you unhappy to submit a piece that you feel is not good enough, please edit until you are satisfied!


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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896738 10/03/19 12:06 PM
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Maybe you can do both. Perhaps you can upload the audio that has the mistakes or the take you like the least, then link to a YouTube video with your edits laugh


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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896742 10/03/19 12:18 PM
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It all depends what your objectives are. I do not see any issues editing to get the best possible version if that makes you more satisfied. The recital is not a contest. That said it should not be used as a way to avoid the issue of performing the piece end-to-end. The end goal being to perform entirely with a reasonable number of mistakes, that is what your practice should lead to. I also think many people tend to overemphasize the importance of mistakes.

As long as you get the right tempo, interpretation and phrasing, a few mistakes aren't critical, so editing or not is not an issue. It is different if you really stop in the middle of the piece or significantly stumble several times disrupting the overall rendition.
if that is the case, I would concurr with Kevin that editing is a step too far.

Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896743 10/03/19 12:19 PM
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Looking at this from various angles:

If recitals and performances of various kinds are a braggadocio thing that is to showcase specifically, "This is what I can do when I play the whole thing through, and everybody is competing on that basis, or "judging" on that basis - then it would not be right to pretend that you have played the whole thing through, but have it spliced. I don't think this is what the recitals here are about. Otoh, we've also never discussed it.

I'd like to think that recitals are about: "This is how I perceive this piece, and what at this time I an bring out in the music." If that means taking two or three recordings of what you have genuinely played, of two or three sections, then that to me is authentic to that statement. If otoh someone went hog wild with editing technology, tweaking this and that to make it "perfect" - well that's not what we're talking about. In short, there is nothing wrong with this. It is not a competition, not a judgment about playing something through to the end.

It would be a shame not to hear the rare piece that you have worked so hard to bring together in the best way that you could. smile

Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896746 10/03/19 12:29 PM
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There are guidelines against editing the entry, but it is discouraged, not prohibited. If you do edit, then please disclose this in the comments. That said, whatever you feel comfortable with. I, on the the hand, have spent hours trying to get the perfect take. Probably stupid of me, but by the time I get it, I've gotten the piece down really well.


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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896773 10/03/19 01:40 PM
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As cmb13 says, there is text in the recital thread that says:

"Editing or digital alteration of your performance (other than minor edits such as trimming long silences at the end or beginning of the piece) is counter to the 'live recital' spirit of the AB Forum Recital and is thus strongly discouraged. In any event, any editing should be disclosed in the "additional information" section of the recital submission template."

So strongly discouraged, but tell us if you do it.

It really should be like a live recital. I am guilty of doing multiple takes in a fruitless search for perfection in the past, but I have been doing these recitals for a long time, and I used to worry about leaving a digital record of poor performances. No longer - now I try at most a handful of takes (sometimes just one), and go with the best. I have never had a live performance without mistakes - why should this be any different?

Sam

Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
cmb13 #2896819 10/03/19 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
There are guidelines against editing the entry, but it is discouraged, not prohibited. If you do edit, then please disclose this in the comments. .


+1.


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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896820 10/03/19 03:42 PM
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We all make mistakes during the recording of the recital. More recital I participate, better I get, sometime the first take is the best one.



“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896828 10/03/19 04:09 PM
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Animisha is right on. You can really do whatever you want as long as it's you playing, my understanding is that's pretty much the only rule, don't submit someone else's work. There's no ethical concerns, no one cares, this is just for fun and shouldn't stress you out.

That said, to me these are recitals. I get one shot. If I do a recital in person I don't get to pick and choose what part of my playing people. I like to do the recital as practice for in person, and I don't participate if I'm not ready (so a little different, in a live recital I'd choose another piece if I didn't feel the one I'd been preparing wasn't going to be ready.)

But that's just me, you should use this however you want!


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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896830 10/03/19 04:12 PM
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Thanks for all your input!

I had in fact missed the guideline about edited recordings being discouraged.
I will try to do more recordings and submit an unedited take. Good thing I still have two weekends in front of me before the recital ends.

Last edited by patH; 10/03/19 04:13 PM.

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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896841 10/03/19 04:32 PM
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Pro pianists edit recordings all the time (like Glenn Gould), many times to take out mistakes. If they can, I don't have a problem with anyone else who chooses to do so.

Having said that, I once received the advice that if I need to make more than 5 takes of a piece, then I probably should practice it more, then try recording again later. I found that helpful to determine where I was in the learning process, and so I do usually try to record early and give time to practice and record again if necessary.


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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
Morodiene #2896852 10/03/19 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Pro pianists edit recordings all the time (like Glenn Gould), many times to take out mistakes. If they can, I don't have a problem with anyone else who chooses to do so.

Having said that, I once received the advice that if I need to make more than 5 takes of a piece, then I probably should practice it more, then try recording again later. I found that helpful to determine where I was in the learning process, and so I do usually try to record early and give time to practice and record again if necessary.


This has pretty much been my approach, I have only done two recitals here now, but in both cases I tried doing a few recordings a couple of weeks before the final day, and on both occasions needed to do more practise and tried again a few days later. For the second recital I am in, I only did one recording on that second occasion and I got exactly what I needed. So in total still quite a number of attempted recordings for a recital but those earlier recordings were like practise runs for the real thing later. I would recommend starting early with trying to get recordings. I find it helps with the flashing red dot syndrome.

Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896911 10/03/19 09:32 PM
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In regards to "editing" of a recital:

- If you do a recording, and start changing the contents post-playing - for example digitally altering a wrong note (is that possible?), shortening a too long note, editing out pauses and hesitations - that's the kind of editing that I imagine is meant.

- If you record a longer piece in two parts, and blend together the parts, without doing any of the above, I don't think that is "editing" in the spirit and intent of the guidelines.

I'd still mention that it was done.

Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
keystring #2896924 10/04/19 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
In regards to "editing" of a recital:

- If you do a recording, and start changing the contents post-playing - for example digitally altering a wrong note (is that possible?), shortening a too long note, editing out pauses and hesitations - that's the kind of editing that I imagine is meant.

- If you record a longer piece in two parts, and blend together the parts, without doing any of the above, I don't think that is "editing" in the spirit and intent of the guidelines.

I'd still mention that it was done.


If you read the recital instructions sam quoted above it should be clear that this is also considered editing. Trimming the empty parts on the beginning and end is not, but using several recordings for one submission is. I do not see anything wrong in recording one movement at the time for example, but it's still something to be open about.

Personally I am not against editing in general, since recording is never the same as a live recital. When you play live any annoying imperfection or memory failure is gone and can be immediately forgotten but a recording is forever and little things tend to get more annoying on every listen. But I respect the general concencus on this.

The above is also why I now avoid recording, but don't mind playing live. Recording just isn't good for a perfectionist. It would be better if someone else took care of the process...I am never pleased enough with the result and the process itself ruins my concentration on the music and causes all sorts of "this is good, now just do not mess up the last measure" type of disasters smile

Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896931 10/04/19 01:14 AM
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I should probably put together a recital history page just like Sam did with the recital index he started. That way, the recital history will be documented and there will be no confusion as to what the original intent and stated purpose of our recital is. For the time being however, here are the Cliff Notes as originally stated upon creation & inception of our ABF recial.

The purpose of our online recitals is to show a 'snapshot' of your progress over time. That's it. There is no reason to "interpret" anything.

At first, everyone did just that. We made actual recordings of our actual performances and submitted it. Everyone already had an enormous advantage over performing live by having unlimited 'takes', as well as NOT being subject to the pressure of performing live in front of a live audience. These were HUGE advantages!

The original "intent" was NEVER to allow any form of editing as this would defeat the purpose of showing a 'snapshot' of someones playing abilities and progress over time. There is no exception to this unless your goal was to display your digital audio editing skills as opposed to your actual acoustic playing abilities. But that was not our goal.

In the beginning we didn't have sites like Audacity or digital Zoom recorders....yet. They were just around the corner, but we didn't have them when we first started the recitals. As a result, there was no 'cheating' or editing as our equipment was still too primitive for the average person. But then again, we didn't have any established rules yet either other than take the best recording of a piece however you can come up with it. Many members were hooking up microphones to there computer and doing it that way.

After a while, digital audio sites like Audacity became available and were easily accessible online. Also the availability of new digital audio recorders such as the Zoom H2, H4 using 4 channels and high quality, self contained microphones [x-y position] came about.

Not long after these these new digital technologies became available, a member or two added a disclosure to their recital submission stating that they had "edited" a note or two here and there. And it was at this point that the original purpose of the recitals had changed.

It had changed because a few people were now "editing" their recital performances but felt it was okay to do this as long as they disclosed it. [Narrative change ...right there!! wink ] What they had really done is inserted their own ideals of what the recital is, or what it could be. But not what it actually was at that time. And that's fine as everyone's opinions counts, but being the creator of our recitals, I DO remember what the ORIGINAL intent and purpose was as I created the original concept and stated purpose! And as stated before, it was to show a 'snapshot' of your piano performing abilities over time. And by that it was understood that we were talking about someones piano playing abilities, NOT there digital audio editing abilities. cool

Now don't get me wrong, there absolutely is an 'art' to being able to produce a beautifully sounding, professionally mixed studio recording, [audio engineer], it's just that's not what we are trying to do here. We're trying to get better at playing and performing on the piano defined as "acoustic solo piano". Digital pianos too. Any keyboard really, as long as you're not editing your recording or misrepresenting your abilities. Correcting your mistakes is clearly misrepresenting your abilities. Even if you disclose it. You still didn't play it right which is why your editing the mistake to begin with right??

Fast forward nearly a decade and a half later,.... here we are with some members submitting actual unedited recordings of their performance, and some members submit performances that have been edited.

Anyway, after much discussion on this issue in the past, we reinforced our decision by adding the wording to the recital rules that "editing your performance in any way is strongly discouraged, but if you do, please disclose that you did".

Basically this says 'don't edit' your performance as that is counter-productive to what this recital is all about. BUT, if you just can't keep your competitive nature under control and feel you must edit your performance then go ahead. At least don't misrepresent your playing abilities by not disclosing it!

Having said that, I HAVE edited a note or two [not three !] in the past on my own personal recordings, but not in our recitals. It makes more sense to me to just practice a little more so that you don't have to edit.

The amount of time you spend editing mistakes out of a recording could be better spent practicing thereby making you a better player as opposed to being wasted literally covering your mistakes!




wink

Last edited by mr_super-hunky; 10/04/19 01:20 AM.
Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
patH #2896936 10/04/19 01:42 AM
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Perhaps we can call it a Piano Workshop instead, to show our snapshot in time. I will be participating in monthly workshops and it's exactly that. If you only know half the piece, you just play half!


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Re: Ethical question about recording for recitals
bSharp(C)yclist #2896941 10/04/19 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Perhaps we can call it a Piano Workshop instead, to show our snapshot in time. I will be participating in monthly workshops and it's exactly that. If you only know half the piece, you just play half!


This is a great concept and is what our monthly Piano Bar is set up for. It is a casual setting where you can sit down and submit anything you want. Finished or not, an actual piece or just musical nonsense, it doesn't matter. Whatever you feel like doing or submitting.

But when you have a piece that is complete and finished that you are willing to perform for others,....that is what the recital is for.

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