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Wim Withers
#2996588 06/29/20 06:49 AM
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Hello,

I recently came across the YouTube channel "Authentic Sound."
I am not an expert on the topic that the channel is about, so I have a question: Is anything he says actually valid? There are a lot of people in the comment section of his videos that agree with him.

Thank you!

Last edited by samwitdangol; 06/29/20 06:56 AM.

Currently working on:
Beethoven Sonata 22 and 27
Chopin Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1
Bach Sinfonia 2
Czerny Op. 740
Scarlatti K. 18
Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996590 06/29/20 07:01 AM
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Nope.

Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996600 06/29/20 07:45 AM
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His name is actually William Winters, and there have been many threads here about his theory.
You will not find negative comments on his channel, as he deletes them

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2967550/1.html


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996605 06/29/20 08:11 AM
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It's truly amazing the way some people keep looking for 'validation' by some crackpot in order to play pieces at half speed, because they haven't got the chops to play them properly.

If you aren't performing in public, do whatever you want. Play at quarter speed, or less. Leave out half the notes. Simplify down to the bare bones. Play with one finger. Play with your nose.

No-one is going to smite you from on high.

Not even the composers' ghosts..........


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996613 06/29/20 08:34 AM
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I think this is basically a scam.

There's the bitter irony though, since YouTube recently recommended one of his videos to me. Did YouTube up their game so that their algorithm detected I'm an amateur and would benefit from some silly justification to play at half-speed đŸ€Ł D*mned YouTube!!!

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/29/20 08:38 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996614 06/29/20 08:37 AM
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Sorry, I think I spelled his name wrong; not that it matters since everybody knows who I am talking about.


Currently working on:
Beethoven Sonata 22 and 27
Chopin Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1
Bach Sinfonia 2
Czerny Op. 740
Scarlatti K. 18
Re: Wim Withers
bennevis #2996616 06/29/20 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
It's truly amazing the way some people keep looking for 'validation' by some crackpot in order to play pieces at half speed, because they haven't got the chops to play them properly.

I am not looking for validation, since I prefer the normal tempo and am capable of playing at normal tempo. I am just asking if anything he says is actually true.


Currently working on:
Beethoven Sonata 22 and 27
Chopin Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1
Bach Sinfonia 2
Czerny Op. 740
Scarlatti K. 18
Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996622 06/29/20 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by samwitdangol
Originally Posted by bennevis
It's truly amazing the way some people keep looking for 'validation' by some crackpot in order to play pieces at half speed, because they haven't got the chops to play them properly.

I am not looking for validation, since I prefer the normal tempo and am capable of playing at normal tempo. I am just asking if anything he says is actually true.
I wasn't referring to you specifically - though I'd have thought that it's pretty obvious to anyone who's heard the music played by any decent pianist that his "theories" are total rubbish - but he's laughing all the way to the bank from people publicizing his silly videos and getting more and more gullible people to subscribe to them.

Scamming has become ever more rife in the past three months with people spending more time online. (I got another scam phone call just this morning - purporting to be from Amazon.) My rule is simple: if it looks too good to be true, it is.

Every pianist in history (since the days of recording) got it wrong - they played all fast virtuosic pieces at twice the speed the composer requested.
Does that sound plausible to you?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Wim Withers
johnstaf #2996667 06/29/20 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Nope.
+1


SRF
Re: Wim Withers
bennevis #2996699 06/29/20 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I am not looking for validation, since I prefer the normal tempo and am capable of playing at normal tempo. I am just asking if anything he says is actually true.

Every pianist in history (since the days of recording) got it wrong - they played all fast virtuosic pieces at twice the speed the composer requested.
Does that sound plausible to you?[/quote]

No, it does not sound plausible at all. Many people agree with him though, so I had to ask.


Currently working on:
Beethoven Sonata 22 and 27
Chopin Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1
Bach Sinfonia 2
Czerny Op. 740
Scarlatti K. 18
Re: Wim Withers
johnstaf #2996707 06/29/20 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Nope.

That's right. grin


For all those who like the guy's idea of how fast something should go, and also for those who don't ha .....somehow this old TV scene comes to mind....


Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996713 06/29/20 02:19 PM
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суĐșĐ° Đ±Đ»ŃŃ‚ŃŒ. I quoted incorrectly.


Currently working on:
Beethoven Sonata 22 and 27
Chopin Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1
Bach Sinfonia 2
Czerny Op. 740
Scarlatti K. 18
Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996720 06/29/20 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by samwitdangol
Originally Posted by bennevis
Every pianist in history (since the days of recording) got it wrong - they played all fast virtuosic pieces at twice the speed the composer requested.
Does that sound plausible to you?

No, it does not sound plausible at all. Many people agree with him though, so I had to ask.
Well, if he deleted the 100,000 comments that criticized his videos and left the ten that praised them, that's hardly surprising. He's not the first media guy who manipulates facts & figures for his own ends, though at least he's relatively harmless in comparison to some others. (After all, playing a piece marked "Allegro con brio" as "Lento e pesante" is hardly likely to upset your pet canary.)

We all know there're still people around who believe Elvis the Pelvis is still alive, gyrating to his own songs in his secret underground mansion 100 feet beneath Graceland. (Though I was unable to find it when I was there two years ago, despite my special underground scanning device that I patented).

That's why one should apply one's critical faculties to everything one sees & hears in the media. In music, if a piece is marked prestissimo or so rasch wie möglich, the composer doesn't generally mean that one should play it at a nice sedate pace.

Or else, one could apply the logic of Humpty Dumpty, viz:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all." smirk


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996874 06/29/20 11:15 PM
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The MM numbers composers put in their scores are the intended speed. Of course you can go faster or slower but it's silly to simply ignore the original MM. The given MM is the "base" speed, it's the basis for understanding the music. If you ignore MM numbers, bluntly, you're ignorant.

So this is what Wim Winters says, music is meant to be played at the MM speed. The MM speed is fully playable, no exceptions. Otherwise why bother with MM numbers?

As for the half-speed versus full-speed argument, that's a gross distortion of the whole beat (2 ticks=1beat) versus half beat (1 tick=1beat) debate. Most recordings are not played at a true half beat tempo, that is, 100% faster than whole beat. Instead most recordings are simply faster than whole beat tempo but fall short of twice as fast. Playing "half as fast" versus "normal" is a dodge for those who cannot address the issue.

Wim presents documented evidence. His critics? Mostly they hurl insults.


At home avoiding the virus.
Re: Wim Withers
bennevis #2996879 06/29/20 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
It's truly amazing the way some people keep looking for 'validation' by some crackpot in order to play pieces at half speed, because they haven't got the chops to play them properly.
.

This sums up exactly how I feel about this entire movement.

Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996894 06/30/20 12:32 AM
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Wim Winters' channel AuthenticSound is dedicated entirely to one of the most ill-conceived modern day conspiracies of any sort, indeed the worst conspiracy pertaining to classical era, backed by about much evidence as the idea that 5g causes the coronavirus and that the earth is flat.

His theory brings up more questions than it does answers. Take, for example, his recording of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, at the "speed Liszt would've performed it".



Let's look at some of the glaring problems posed by this recording:

1. Many pianists of the day complained about the speed and difficulty of the octaves in the Wanderer Fantasy. Liszt simplified them in his orchestrated version, allowing the strings to take the brunt of the virtuosity. Schubert himself was reported to have said that "the Devil may play them." Are we really to believe that pianists back then were so technically poor as to not be able to play octaves at such a ponderous pace?

2. Refer to the Adagio at 14:18. It is mind-bogglingly slow, so slow as to lose all coherence as far as the melody is concerned. This section is based on Schubert's own lieder, "Die Wanderer". Imagine "Die Wanderer" sung at this tempo. It would be frankly impossible, the performer's lungs would surely burst.

3. It is BORING. Dreadfully, agonizingly, BORING. I don't think any more words must be said on the matter. Why should performers and audiences be subjected to a "historically accurate" performance if it is not interesting to the ears?

There are many additional miscellaneous issues that Wim has posed with his multitude of abysmal recordings and I will take the liberty of posing them below.

1. Hans von BĂŒlow complained that Chopin's Op.10 No.1 was too fast in its original tempo (MM 176) and suggested MM 152 instead. This makes zero sense at half tempo.

2. Beethoven's Hammerklavier was considered unplayable for a significant period of time. This makes much more sense when Czerny's (very fast) MM of 138 is taken at face value.

3. Schumann's Toccata was dubbed the "hardest piece ever written" by the composer. Again, this makes more sense when the contemporaraneous MM suggestions of 96-107 are taken at face value.




This surely cannot have been the "hardest piece ever written!"

4. Another infamously difficult piece, the piano part to Schubert's Erlkonig, is again reduced to a student exercise. How could any self-respecting pianist have complained about the octaves in this work (which they historically did) when played at half tempo?



5. Many composers wrote timestamps as to how fast they wished their piece to be played. Brahms, for example, gave timestamps for some of his symphonies. There are historical notes of an 5 hour performance of the Gotterdammerung, fairly consistent with today's practices. They all contradict Wim's method of counting time.

6. Wim claims that his theory is supported by the fact that Czerny's tempi are impossible. This is not altogether true. On the lighter actions of older pianos, his tempi can and have been achieved by today's virtuosos. Perhaps Wim would go into conniptions if he were to see this:




7. There are dozens of recordings done by pianists who have indeed come in contact with the old masters. Why do they play equally quick—or even quicker—than the pianists of today? If Wim is correct and that the performance speed gradually sped up to what it is now, why are there recordings of pianists that are much faster than what is commonly seen? Cortot and Rachmaninov, for example, play Schumann's Carnaval almost 5 minutes faster than most modern recordings. Did Francis PlantĂ© (born in 1839) really double his tempos of the
at the ripe old age of 89 in order to make his recordings conform with modern practices?




8. Wim Winters postulates that there was a specific moment in history—somewhere in the late 19th century—where metronome practices changed from whole beat to half beat. That begs a question: why? And why was this not recorded in the orgy of historical evidence we have from the 19th century? This isn't like finding out if Moses was a real person or not where we have scant evidence either for or to the contrary. We have THOUSANDS of documents from the era and even RECORDINGS from the era—and none mention this missing link of a time shift which if it were true, would've been a historic, nay, MOMENTOUS shift in the history of music.

Does nobody remember the uproar at Glenn Gould's shift in tempo playing Beethoven? Or Barenboim's unorthodox tempi doing the same? Why, then, was there no similar uproar in the 19th century when tempos were suddenly or gradually doubled?

Out of all the holes in Wim's theory—any of which are capable of bringing it to an intellectual standstill—this is the most damning.

Conclusion

Being that Wim's entire theory of inanity was brought about by Czerny's admittedly fast readings of Beethoven and Bach, let's come to our own conclusions about this little issue.

Perhaps Czerny really was a madman. After all, his etudes (some with instructions to repeat 30 times in a row) do support this idea, and it's certainly a more believable theory than halving every single metronome marking in existence just to make Czerny's more plausible. Occam's razor really does shine through in this scenario.

Perhaps his metronome was broken. After all, metronomes were a fairly new technology back in his day. It is not inconceivable that his had a flaw that rendered it slower than usual.

Or perhaps Czerny and Wim Winters both had similar artistic ideals, just to opposite extremes. I'll leave it up to you to decide.

Last edited by achoo42; 06/30/20 12:34 AM.

Schumann is the mann.
Re: Wim Withers
Fidel #2996896 06/30/20 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Fidel
The MM numbers composers put in their scores are the intended speed. Of course you can go faster or slower but it's silly to simply ignore the original MM. The given MM is the "base" speed, it's the basis for understanding the music. If you ignore MM numbers, bluntly, you're ignorant.

So this is what Wim Winters says, music is meant to be played at the MM speed. The MM speed is fully playable, no exceptions. Otherwise why bother with MM numbers?

As for the half-speed versus full-speed argument, that's a gross distortion of the whole beat (2 ticks=1beat) versus half beat (1 tick=1beat) debate. Most recordings are not played at a true half beat tempo, that is, 100% faster than whole beat. Instead most recordings are simply faster than whole beat tempo but fall short of twice as fast. Playing "half as fast" versus "normal" is a dodge for those who cannot address the issue.

Wim presents documented evidence. His critics? Mostly they hurl insults.


Refer to my above post. Wim presents ZERO documented evidence. In fact, all documents and program notes fit in with our modern depiction of tempo. Wim only speculates based on the quicker-than-usual tempi of Czerny and then runs off with it, completely disregarding all historical evidence of pianists claiming that the Hammerklavier was impossible or the Schumann Toccata was the hardest work or whatnot.

And what of Hans von Bulow claiming that Chopin's Etude Op.10 No.1 was played too fast?

And what of string players having immense difficulties with the bowings required at HALF TEMPO?

And what of opera singers and horn players? Who already almost burst their lungs singing at modern tempos? How would they possibly manage a piece in half the speed?

And what of Schumann ruining his hand practicing too strenuously? Scriabin as well? How could someone's hands be permanently damaged playing pieces at half tempo?

And what of Beethoven's octave glissandi in the Waldstein? Have YOU tried octave glissandi at half tempo? Why would they be notated as glissandi in the first place? AT HALF TEMPO THEY ARE EASILY FINGERED!

Critics that hurl insults have great reason to do so. Wim is truly a crackpot, if not an outright scam artist.

Last edited by achoo42; 06/30/20 12:43 AM.

Schumann is the mann.
Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996924 06/30/20 04:21 AM
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The assumed fast/unplayable tempi of Czerny as presented by Wim Wenters are actually based on a selected set of numbers. Which means that instead of looking at the entire set of numbers for all the compositions of Bach, he picked only the one that are indeed problematic.

It is clear that invention 1 at 132 quarters is unplayable, not speaking of the artistic value. It is impossible that a musician like Czerny could have realistically thought that it was possible, even on a light action piano. But that is hiding the fact that this number is in fact from the very first edition of Czerny (with Peters). So the first thing that WW is not saying is that Czerny revisited all his numbers in subsequent editions. The last one is indicating 120, which though very fast is playable. Whether Czerny had an issue with his metronome, or some other reason, we will never know.

The second main point is that comparing all the Bach metronome markings of Czerny with modern ones, or those from late 19th century ones, for the vast majority of them, they are perfectly playable and within a reasonable close range. Some are higher and some lower but very far from a x2 ratio. There are still a couple which are inexplicably high but those are exceptions. Whatever the reason of those very few high numbers, they can not counterbalance the fact that the vast majority of the other ones are perfectly normal, if on the fast side.

This is just one example of a flawed reasoning which makes a generality out of isolated facts. It is a very well known issue when using a logical reasoning based on inference and using a non representative set of data. In other words WW does not prove anything, he just state his theory and picks isolated facts which he then presents as evidence. He just forgets to presents all the other data and facts that would contradict his theory.

Re: Wim Withers
Fidel #2996957 06/30/20 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Fidel
Wim presents documented evidence. His critics? Mostly they hurl insults.

He presents his own (mis)interpretation of evidence.

We know from historical records how long certain performances lasted. There is overwhelming evidence that WW is wrong.

Re: Wim Withers
samwitdangol #2996962 06/30/20 07:13 AM
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I am making a series about this theory. I didn't think it was suitable in this sub, but I guess it is. So I'll post the vidro here, and next episode withh be put in a separate thread. It's bullocks, and not a thought-out theory.

https://youtu.be/40yFVGs2QAI

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