Piano World Home Page
Posted By: Radio.Octave Is this cheating? - 07/01/19 02:54 AM
On some occasions, I can record an entire song without making any mistakes, but not always. I used to just start over, and try not to to flub up again, but once I got a digital recorder, I started editing the wav file on my PC. Now if I screw up, I'll just keep recording and do another "take". When I'm all done, I'll edit out the errors. Even with no mess ups, I still have page turns recorded, so I'll always edit those out, too.

It feels a little like cheating, but I suppose when records are recorded, they do the same thing. Just curious what everyone else does?
Posted By: Chopin Acolyte Re: Is this cheating? - 07/01/19 08:31 AM
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
On some occasions, I can record an entire song without making any mistakes, but not always. I used to just start over, and try not to to flub up again, but once I got a digital recorder, I started editing the wav file on my PC. Now if I screw up, I'll just keep recording and do another "take". When I'm all done, I'll edit out the errors. Even with no mess ups, I still have page turns recorded, so I'll always edit those out, too.

It feels a little like cheating, but I suppose when records are recorded, they do the same thing. Just curious what everyone else does?


How exactly do you modify wav file so that you edit out mistakes and page turns? shocked

Anyway, when I intend to record a piece, I just hit the record button and play. I record several attempts and then cut the best one (phrasing, fewest mistakes etc.), that way I don't have much editing to do, just cut out the part I like. If I practice long enough (and the piece isn't terribly high above my skill level), I play it with few missed keys the first time...

If page turns are problematic for you, you can always memorize a few measures before and after the page break and that way you can move the page turn around to the point where there isn't much of left (or right) hand so you can turn seamlessly.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416 Re: Is this cheating? - 07/01/19 04:09 PM
I live in an apartment building. The room where the keyboard there is a lot of traffic during the day. And my keyboard isn't the top of the line although it has 88 keys. When I'm recording, I'd do retakes as long as 1 of the takes sounds the way I want. Combining bits of audio from different soundtracks would be over the line. If a piece is 2m long and I get 2m of continuous playing without mistakes I'd consider this to be acceptable even if it is my 3rd retake.

The room where my keyboard is sitting I get a lot of traffic noise during the day. I'd use the record button on my keyboard when I'm playing and use a recording device to capture the playback late in the day when there is no traffic. A lot of newer keyboards you can just plug in a USB stick and transfer a recording as a .wav file so you don't have the problem of recording noise in the room. When you have an acoustic piano the USB stick option is out.

Using a noise filter to clean up a soundtrack is common and considered acceptable as adjusting the treble or bass of a recording. You're not changing the way you play the piece. Even adjusting the equalizer setting with a sound software is like moving 1 or more microphone(s) around the room to get the best sound.
Posted By: johnstaf Re: Is this cheating? - 07/01/19 05:20 PM
The overwhelming majority of commercial classical recordings are made by splicing together the best parts of takes. Even some well known "live" recordings.

Cheating would be something like editing a recording when it is prohibited, as in the case of an audition or competition application.
Posted By: Animisha Re: Is this cheating? - 07/01/19 06:23 PM
When I used Garageband to record my pieces, I was sometimes badly tempted to edit single notes - for instance one that I had played just a bit too loud, or one that was not quite in sync with the other notes. But I resisted the temptation, because yes, it would feel like cheating. However, if I would be a studio pianist I would not doubt to make such edits. Why not. My job would be to create the most beautiful recording of that piece, and that is what I would deliver.
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Is this cheating? - 07/02/19 06:15 AM
Originally Posted by Chopin Acolyte
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
On some occasions, I can record an entire song without making any mistakes, but not always. I used to just start over, and try not to to flub up again, but once I got a digital recorder, I started editing the wav file on my PC. Now if I screw up, I'll just keep recording and do another "take". When I'm all done, I'll edit out the errors. Even with no mess ups, I still have page turns recorded, so I'll always edit those out, too.

It feels a little like cheating, but I suppose when records are recorded, they do the same thing. Just curious what everyone else does?


How exactly do you modify wav file so that you edit out mistakes and page turns? shocked

Anyway, when I intend to record a piece, I just hit the record button and play. I record several attempts and then cut the best one (phrasing, fewest mistakes etc.), that way I don't have much editing to do, just cut out the part I like. If I practice long enough (and the piece isn't terribly high above my skill level), I play it with few missed keys the first time...

If page turns are problematic for you, you can always memorize a few measures before and after the page break and that way you can move the page turn around to the point where there isn't much of left (or right) hand so you can turn seamlessly.


I typically start playing the piece, and then if I make a mistake, I'll stop playing and repeat that section (while still recording). If I'm lucky, maybe I won't make any errors, but it's bound to happen sometimes. When I'm all done, I'll import the WAV into Audacity and cut out all the bad sections. I also cut out the page turns. Even if I memorize the notes, the sound of the page being turned is recorded, so I usually remove that.
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Is this cheating? - 07/02/19 06:19 AM
Originally Posted by johnstaf
The overwhelming majority of commercial classical recordings are made by splicing together the best parts of takes. Even some well known "live" recordings.

Cheating would be something like editing a recording when it is prohibited, as in the case of an audition or competition application.


Thanks. This is pretty much what I was wondering. I'm just recording my music for personal use, and sometimes I'll make CDs for friends and family. I figure no one wants to hear a bunch of flubs in the finished recording. Of course, if I were just recording myself to analyze my playing, then that would be another story. Every note is played by me, it's just like you said—a splicing of all the best takes.
Posted By: dmd Re: Is this cheating? - 07/02/19 10:19 PM
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
On some occasions, I can record an entire song without making any mistakes, but not always. I used to just start over, and try not to to flub up again, but once I got a digital recorder, I started editing the wav file on my PC. Now if I screw up, I'll just keep recording and do another "take". When I'm all done, I'll edit out the errors. Even with no mess ups, I still have page turns recorded, so I'll always edit those out, too.

It feels a little like cheating, but I suppose when records are recorded, they do the same thing. Just curious what everyone else does?


It is only cheating/lying if you consciously represent it as a single-take recording to others ….. because you know it is not.

Worst case scenario ….. Family and friends ask you to "Play something for us" …. and you cannot because you have not worked on it long enough to get a recording in a single take.

Best case scenario … No-one asks …. and you "get away with it".
Posted By: KurtZ Re: Is this cheating? - 07/03/19 01:17 AM
THIS is cheating:

The great piano scam
Posted By: joggerjazz Re: Is this cheating? - 07/03/19 12:27 PM
My thoughts are I personnally wouldn't be happy with editing.
I bought a CD from someone I know that recorded a jazz/classical trio piece that had tricky time changes etc.
Listened to an excerpt and it sounded good and bought it. I later talked to him and found out they all used click track and many overdubs and editing were used. Had I known this I wouldn't of bought it.
Yes, it's a good clean recording. But I'd rather listen to an organic performance without a crutch.
Posted By: Kbeaumont Re: Is this cheating? - 07/03/19 03:38 PM
I do it all the time mostly with vocals. As for piano I usually record midi and if I need to adjust a note here and there either frequency, timing or level its easy enough. Yes I could do a bunch of whole unedited versions but I have better things to do with my time. Its not cheating, cheating would be grabbing a midi file off the internet edit it and call it my own. I play live gigs often enough I don't need to prove I can play.
Posted By: Leon T Re: Is this cheating? - 07/05/19 12:17 AM
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
On some occasions, I can record an entire song without making any mistakes, but not always. I used to just start over, and try not to to flub up again, but once I got a digital recorder, I started editing the wav file on my PC. Now if I screw up, I'll just keep recording and do another "take". When I'm all done, I'll edit out the errors. Even with no mess ups, I still have page turns recorded, so I'll always edit those out, too.

It feels a little like cheating, but I suppose when records are recorded, they do the same thing. Just curious what everyone else does?


Almost all albums are recorded this way. It used to be a no no in the the classical world, but I've been on countless classical sessions where they do exactly this. Even most opera sessions are recorded this way as well. That's not cheating at all. You want to produce the best performance possible. If live performance is your thing, then you might want to get good at giving a solid performance, but for recording purposes anything goes. It's called comping. They record tons of takes and come up with one perfect or best performance. This is different from auto tuning/pitch shifting a performance in a sense that the performer is actually performing those additional takes.


Posted By: Pianist685 Re: Is this cheating? - 07/08/19 12:23 PM
Originally Posted by Leon T
Almost all albums are recorded this way. It used to be a no no in the the classical world, but I've been on countless classical sessions where they do exactly this.
That is some information I was waiting for. I was wondering how those professional pianists are able to produce such perfect CDs.

Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
I typically start playing the piece, and then if I make a mistake, I'll stop playing and repeat that section (while still recording). If I'm lucky, maybe I won't make any errors, but it's bound to happen sometimes. When I'm all done, I'll import the WAV into Audacity and cut out all the bad sections. I also cut out the page turns. Even if I memorize the notes, the sound of the page being turned is recorded, so I usually remove that.
You must be a very clever Audacity user. When I try to cut out anything or splice two parts together I usually get a click there which is quite annoying - anyone would hear the edit.
Posted By: exoticpianoman Re: Is this cheating? - 07/16/19 09:52 AM
Interesting Thread!
But just to be sure, you guys record your actual piano sound?
Not too far in the future I'm going to start uploading videos of me playing the piano but the way I'll record it is via MIDI.
So I'm recording my hands, use a VST Plugin to make my piano playing sound like for example a Yamaha CFX and then the editing ia easier as you don't record environmental noise.
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Is this cheating? - 07/19/19 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by Leon T
Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
On some occasions, I can record an entire song without making any mistakes, but not always. I used to just start over, and try not to to flub up again, but once I got a digital recorder, I started editing the wav file on my PC. Now if I screw up, I'll just keep recording and do another "take". When I'm all done, I'll edit out the errors. Even with no mess ups, I still have page turns recorded, so I'll always edit those out, too.

It feels a little like cheating, but I suppose when records are recorded, they do the same thing. Just curious what everyone else does?


Almost all albums are recorded this way. It used to be a no no in the the classical world, but I've been on countless classical sessions where they do exactly this. Even most opera sessions are recorded this way as well. That's not cheating at all. You want to produce the best performance possible. If live performance is your thing, then you might want to get good at giving a solid performance, but for recording purposes anything goes. It's called comping. They record tons of takes and come up with one perfect or best performance. This is different from auto tuning/pitch shifting a performance in a sense that the performer is actually performing those additional takes.




Thanks, that makes me feel better =) That's kind of my way of thinking, too. No one wants to listen to a recording of me making a oopsies (unless it's myself or a piano teacher trying to critique my playing).
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Is this cheating? - 07/19/19 01:53 PM
Originally Posted by Pianist685
Originally Posted by Leon T
Almost all albums are recorded this way. It used to be a no no in the the classical world, but I've been on countless classical sessions where they do exactly this.
That is some information I was waiting for. I was wondering how those professional pianists are able to produce such perfect CDs.

Originally Posted by Radio.Octave
I typically start playing the piece, and then if I make a mistake, I'll stop playing and repeat that section (while still recording). If I'm lucky, maybe I won't make any errors, but it's bound to happen sometimes. When I'm all done, I'll import the WAV into Audacity and cut out all the bad sections. I also cut out the page turns. Even if I memorize the notes, the sound of the page being turned is recorded, so I usually remove that.
You must be a very clever Audacity user. When I try to cut out anything or splice two parts together I usually get a click there which is quite annoying - anyone would hear the edit.




I had that problem for a while and was stumped as to why it was happening. The problem is, when you select a section of the waveform, the beginning and end might not be where it crosses zero dB. Here's the solution, and I think you're gonna love this! After you highlight the portion of the wav you want, press Z on the keyboard, and then delete that section. My understanding is, this adjusts the highlighted portion to zero crossings, so those little blips are gone. I occasionally run into problems, but this works great, and no more clicks =) The thing I find a little trick now is cutting it at just the right spot so it doesn't throw off the timing of the notes.
Posted By: Radio.Octave Re: Is this cheating? - 07/19/19 01:56 PM
Originally Posted by exoticpianoman
Interesting Thread!
But just to be sure, you guys record your actual piano sound?
Not too far in the future I'm going to start uploading videos of me playing the piano but the way I'll record it is via MIDI.
So I'm recording my hands, use a VST Plugin to make my piano playing sound like for example a Yamaha CFX and then the editing ia easier as you don't record environmental noise.


I record my acoustic, but I think it'd be fine to use a midi device, too. Sometimes, my recordings pickup pedal noise, squeaks, thumps, environmental noises, etc. I don't mind it too much, but it someone wanted a really clean recording, I could see MIDI being a good choice.

I feel like as long as I'm the one playing the notes on the keys, be it a piano, keyboard, whatever, it's authentic.
Posted By: Cade Re: Is this cheating? - 07/25/19 02:18 AM
I just think of it as two different genres, and I appreciate both for what they are.

There's live recording blemishes and all where the music feels really raw and alive. If it's a good musician, they can hold it together, but you can still feel that there's no safety net there, and they're pulling all of these moving parts into some structure by sheer force of will. It's that feeling of risk and spontaneity that makes it pop.

And then there's edited recordings that don't have that feeling of risk but are really polished and still really emotional, like they're crystallizing the emotion. In that way, I think of editing music for that in the same way I think of editing a novel. The creator is paring it down to just the right words/notes that best convey the emotional message.

My point is, each approach offers something different to a listener, and if you're going to do either one, you ought to play to its strengths. Live recording doesn't work if the player can't really hold it together, and an edited recording doesn't really work if you're not really putting thought into the edits as part of the creation itself.

As an aside, at's funny, I've gotten so attuned to the Audacity "click" when I splice, no matter how much I soften it, that now I hear it in professional recordings all over the place.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Is this cheating? - 07/25/19 04:20 AM
Cade
Sorry I missed your posted Christmas improv at Christmas , but I just celebrated Christmas in July by listening. I’m sure your family really appreciated the recordings. 😊 thanks for sharing
Posted By: Cade Re: Is this cheating? - 07/28/19 12:12 PM
Thanks for listening.

They're interesting examples to the topic at hand. I practiced just enough to know the changes and melody in the days before recording, and basically on the recording day I just turned the video on and started playing from the morning, repeating it one time after another, until I got a track that was good enough for a release and still within the limits of my sanity to keep going... somewhere around late afternoon! They took like literally 40 or 50 takes apiece, I think in one case over 60.

Granted the first half of the day was basically learning the inside of pieces & then practicing it, so not really "takes". But it still took a lot of work for what seem like really short and simple pieces.

I can't tell you how much respect I have for jazz masters that kick out good takes after going through those marathons. And they still have lots of little foibles, but now I feel like those are the battle scars haha. I felt happy I just survived through the whole piece and got something like a solo in at all. And after going through so much, I wasn't about to edit or cut those takes. They were hard won!!
Posted By: hag01 Re: Is this cheating? - 08/07/19 02:24 PM
I think it is cheating, I never edit my recordings.
I rather upload something with mistakes than edit.
And I record with Pianoteq which is far more easy to edit than a WAVE file - just open MIDI file in a DAW...
Posted By: MichaelJK Re: Is this cheating? - 08/07/19 09:04 PM
I am in the process of recording a piano/vocal classical album, and we have edits all over the place. I'm not sure if there's a single track that is just one complete take. There are pros and cons to working this way, I think, but it's true that if we waited for a perfect take, we'd still be waiting.

I don't view "cheating" as being part of the equation in any way. We are creating a product, using technology. We're not trying to fool anyone into thinking we are super-human performers. If the product is worth listening to, it's worth listening to either way.
Posted By: Farmerjones Re: Is this cheating? - 08/12/19 02:59 AM
If i were recording i'd do several takes of the same song. Each one a complete package. I play a lot live, so i "smooth over" rather than stopping and starting over. I can punch in and punch out but as i said, i just don't. I learned how much practice it takes for me to play something live, and that's what i do. The more you do it, the better it works. Sure, as been said, nothing is perfect, but there's a close enough level that seems sort of obvious to me. Still, I could record for ten hours and hate it all. If you can like listening back to whatever you record, you are miles ahead of me.
Posted By: hag01 Re: Is this cheating? - 08/18/19 01:27 PM
Let me clarify - If you record yourself for commercial purpose than I think it is not cheating, but if you record yourself to show your abilities than it is cheating.

Like in my Soundcloud page - If I'm uploading there a recording of myself playing I want to show my honest abilities so I record in one shot, it may take a lot tries but I don't want to cheat.
Posted By: Mark Polishook Re: Is this cheating? - 08/18/19 02:50 PM
Was it cheating in the early 50s when Lennie Tristano recorded this solo

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B0XXiko6QlU

Then he played it back the tape twice as fast and his rhythm section (drums and bass) played along.

What LT got was a super-hyper-articulated solo with nuance that most people aren’t ever going to get. He definitely was recording for commercial purposes (he wanted to sell records like everything else). But he also recorded that way for artistic reasons. To get a sound that you couldn’t get any other way.

Here’s an article about the recording (and others he made in the same way).


https://www.arpjournal.com/asarpwp/...e-of-extended-studio-techniques-in-jazz/

The first few paragraphs describe the anger and shock at the time and how Atlantic even issued a disclaimer for records he made after that!

So maybe you gotta ask: Do we listen to music because we like how it sounds? Or do we listen because we’re interested first and foremost in the technical (athletic) ability of the performer?

I’ve had plenty of students who hated the way the piano sounds on the recording because for our (and their) contemporary ears, it sounds like, well, a piano part that’s been sped up! Part of that is entire overtone structure of the piano changes ... Especially, higher partials that you’d want to have in a piano recording are no longer there .... they’ve gone up an octave to where they can’t influence the sound of the piano or what we hear or what could even be recorded back in those days.

If you go over to the world of classical music, some of Elliott Carter’s first string quartets were recorded to click tracks because the tempo changes were too difficult. Now string quartets have no problem with any of that and they dont use click tracks when they record those quartets. But again, was it the sound of the piece Elliott Carter was after or the technical (athletic) ability of the performers?

Everyone can make up their own mind about how they feel or like about this stuff. I’m just pointing out some of the history behind it and some of the reactions. But my own opinion is sound wins and final product is more important than technique. But that’s me and I realise and acknowledge that not everyone feels that way ...
Posted By: Dfrankjazz Re: Is this cheating? - 08/18/19 03:07 PM
Great post, Mark. Actually, Lennie recorded Line Up for himself only. what happened is that Ahmet Ertegun (Pres of Atlantic records) visited Lennie's studio, and saw a tape lying on a shelf. He asked what is was, and it was Line Up etc..this is how these historic tracks came to be released haha.

Dave Frank
Posted By: Mark Polishook Re: Is this cheating? - 08/18/19 07:03 PM
Dave, and great story with those extra details!
Posted By: KlinkKlonk Re: Is this cheating? - 08/20/19 12:33 PM
Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
Great post, Mark. Actually, Lennie recorded Line Up for himself only. what happened is that Ahmet Ertegun (Pres of Atlantic records) visited Lennie's studio, and saw a tape lying on a shelf. He asked what is was, and it was Line Up etc..this is how these historic tracks came to be released haha.

Dave Frank


and a good thing he did it, Im still digesting and learning from this 10 years after I first transcribed it.
© Piano World Piano & Digital Piano Forums