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#3185623 01/16/22 07:55 AM
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Sam S Offline OP
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As regular as taxes, the quarterly recitals happen in February, May, August and November. 2022 starts with quarterly recital #65. It will open for submissions Feb 1st, close Feb 15th, and go "live" shortly after.

Any type or genre of music is welcome, at any level, as long as it is piano related.

The recital submission process happens at recitals.pianoworld.com. You can read about the history of the recitals there, as well as more details about how the recitals work.

Start recording!

Sam


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Sam! Can you turn back the clock? Juat a little? These things descend upon us too quickly (it'll be Christmas next) and whilst I'm almost through writing this piece, I now got to learn to play it!
15 days to start of submission . . . .


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I should make it this time. I have a short and sweet Prelude by Scriabin that should be ready soon 🤞🏼

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8 days until the recital opens for submissions!

I am trying to improve my recordings this year - that's a rabbit hole to get lost in. Not improve my playing so much - that ship has probably sailed - but there are definite improvements I can make in the recording process.

Sam


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Working on my first Mozart . . .

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Got a recording done already, but for once that is only the starting point. Now for the ... enhancements, mwa ha ha! smile


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Originally Posted by Sam S
8 days until the recital opens for submissions!

I am trying to improve my recordings this year - that's a rabbit hole to get lost in. Not improve my playing so much - that ship has probably sailed - but there are definite improvements I can make in the recording process.

Sam

Sam, Can you share with us how you plan to improve your recording process. I would like to improve my audio recordings - I use Zoom H2N - and I think they sound a bit fuzzy. BTW, I disagree that you can’t improve your playing at this point due to age or whatever other reason.



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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Originally Posted by Sam S
8 days until the recital opens for submissions!

I am trying to improve my recordings this year - that's a rabbit hole to get lost in. Not improve my playing so much - that ship has probably sailed - but there are definite improvements I can make in the recording process.

Sam

Sam, Can you share with us how you plan to improve your recording process. I would like to improve my audio recordings - I use Zoom H2N - and I think they sound a bit fuzzy. BTW, I disagree that you can’t improve your playing at this point due to age or whatever other reason.

Every few years I seem to upgrade a bit. I started out with a midi keyboard, so went straight to the laptop. But when I started getting real pianos that didn't work anymore. At first I used a USB mic into Audacity, but that wasn't very good. Then I got a Zoom H4n, which was a big improvement, as long as I put it on a camera tripod and picked the right spot in the room. Then I wanted to add video, so I used a cheap camera and the H4n for audio, but syncing the audio and video was a pain. A few years ago I upgraded to a Zoom Q8, which solved the video problem. But the microphones are on the camera, and the position of the camera is not the best position for audio recording. So I got a couple of external mics and ran those into the Q8. That's what I have been doing for awhile now and is my current setup.

The problems I have are a consistent problem in adjusting the levels - it is difficult to get right on the Q8 (and the tiny knobs are so small!), and the fact that Tootles (my wife - clarinet) and I are doing more recordings. How do I mic the clarinet and adjust the levels, while still hearing the piano and getting video?

So I am going to try a Focusrite Scarlett interface for the external mics, which plugs into the laptop, and then I will use DAW software of some kind to set all the levels. I will still be back to the old problem of syncing the video, but I am hoping that is easier now than it was years ago. I use a mac, so I am going to try Logic Pro, which seems to be a fancy version of Garageband. Hopefully I can find the right spot to place the mics for clarinet/piano, and using a big screen I can visually see the levels and get them adjusted. There are lots of extras in Logic Pro that I don't want, like software instruments and drum loops, but hopefully I can use it for acoustic recordings.

The Focusrite Scarlett interfaces seem to be very popular for home recording and making youtube music videos - there are lots of videos on youtube of people using them.

It is really amazing how technology has helped the home music studio. Things have changed dramatically for the better in the last 12 years. I need to keep up!

Sam


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I definitely need to take part in this. I recorded myself this weekend (had to buy lead/adaptor and learn to use Audition to record my Roland FP-30) and I sound so bad! crazy

I didn't realise how bad it sounded until I recorded it – it's different when you're playing it, with the metronome half-masking the sound on top of it all.

I definitely need to learn musicality and not just note-hitting!

Thanks for the recitals!

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Originally Posted by RosemaryGirl
I definitely need to take part in this. I recorded myself this weekend (had to buy lead/adaptor and learn to use Audition to record my Roland FP-30) and I sound so bad! crazy

I didn't realise how bad it sounded until I recorded it – it's different when you're playing it, with the metronome half-masking the sound on top of it all.

I definitely need to learn musicality and not just note-hitting!

Thanks for the recitals!

I took part for the first time in the last recital. It was a real eye opener and my recording sounded so much worse to my ears when playing it back. People were very kind though, even though there was much more musicality in other people's submissions.
Its worth having a go in my opinion.


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Sam S Offline OP
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Yes, it can be a real shock to record yourself and listen. While we are playing, we think we sound wonderful! But the recording doesn't lie. It is a learned skill to listen to yourself while playing and really hear what is happening.

And the ABF recitals are an excellent way to develop hearing and recording skills.

Sam


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Originally Posted by Sam S
Yes, it can be a real shock to record yourself and listen. While we are playing, we think we sound wonderful! But the recording doesn't lie. It is a learned skill to listen to yourself while playing and really hear what is happening.

And the ABF recitals are an excellent way to develop hearing and recording skills.

Sam

I usually experience the precise opposite effect to this and I still don't understand why. While playing I am often appalled, cannot bear to listen for hours afterwards and have been on the point of deleting recordings without listening many times, but if I leave it for a day and listen it sounds good. The only reason I can imagine is that I screw myself up into such a state of hypersensitivity while playing that anything is likely to sound all right afterwards.


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As soon as I press record, it's like I've never played the piece before... I make new mistakes I didn't even know were possible. A speck of dust on the piano might distract me. Or, I celebrate too early while playing and goof up, ruining the entire take. It's a new kind of practice, learning to power-through the shaky hands.

So, if you just don't like how the microphone captured your performance, or how it sounds musically, you folks are already ahead of the game!

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Originally Posted by Sam S
Yes, it can be a real shock to record yourself and listen. While we are playing, we think we sound wonderful! But the recording doesn't lie. It is a learned skill to listen to yourself while playing and really hear what is happening.

And the ABF recitals are an excellent way to develop hearing and recording skills.
Sam

Well, I wouldn't go as far as to say that I believe I sound wonderful while I'm playing! laugh I just can't really hear what I'm playing. But yes, for sure, as I have no idea what I sound like, I will be recording myself regularly from now on, and I will take part in the ABF recitals! Thanks smile

Originally Posted by stevedoz
I took part for the first time in the last recital. It was a real eye opener and my recording sounded so much worse to my ears when playing it back. People were very kind though, even though there was much more musicality in other people's submissions.
Its worth having a go in my opinion.

Definitely will give it a go! Thanks smile

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This time I will not be ready with the piece I had planed for the recital smirk. I would have to use a couple of old recordings this time. I had planned to put two short pieces together in the MP3 file. Is it possible to add two video links in the submission form?

Originally Posted by Sam S
The problems I have are a consistent problem in adjusting the levels - it is difficult to get right on the Q8 (and the tiny knobs are so small!), and the fact that Tootles (my wife - clarinet) and I are doing more recordings. How do I mic the clarinet and adjust the levels, while still hearing the piano and getting video?

So I am going to try a Focusrite Scarlett interface for the external mics, which plugs into the laptop, and then I will use DAW software of some kind to set all the levels. I will still be back to the old problem of syncing the video, but I am hoping that is easier now than it was years ago. I use a mac, so I am going to try Logic Pro, which seems to be a fancy version of Garageband. Hopefully I can find the right spot to place the mics for clarinet/piano, and using a big screen I can visually see the levels and get them adjusted. There are lots of extras in Logic Pro that I don't want, like software instruments and drum loops, but hopefully I can use it for acoustic recordings.

The Focusrite Scarlett interfaces seem to be very popular for home recording and making youtube music videos - there are lots of videos on youtube of people using them.

It is really amazing how technology has helped the home music studio. Things have changed dramatically for the better in the last 12 years. I need to keep up!

Sam
Hi there Sam!
I use a Scarlett 2i2 for my recordings and I can only say positive things about it. It is easy to run on your laptop and easy to handle. Controlling levels is relatively easy for every input as each dial also has a light signal that turns yellow/red when you are over-saturating the gain. Play the loudest part of your piece to adjust the levels to that one and that should work. How many mics are you planing to connect? The 2i2 only allows two (which can run with phantom power).

Regarding the syncing of video and audio, I use a "trick" that perhaps you use already but I will mention it anyways. Before starting the piece, I play three times loud any key, let's say middle C. Then in the post-processing I only have to sync the audio file of the video and the audio recording in those three peaks. In the DAWs you can zoom in a lot and that makes it easy to do. After that I cut out that initial part. I hope this helps smile


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Originally Posted by AndresVel
This time I will not be ready with the piece I had planed for the recital smirk. I would have to use a couple of old recordings this time. I had planned to put two short pieces together in the MP3 file. Is it possible to add two video links in the submission form?

I don't know. It's just a text field, so you can put multiple links in it. But post-processing to produce the forum post? I don't know. Try it and see.

Originally Posted by AndresVel
I use a Scarlett 2i2 for my recordings and I can only say positive things about it. It is easy to run on your laptop and easy to handle. Controlling levels is relatively easy for every input as each dial also has a light signal that turns yellow/red when you are over-saturating the gain. Play the loudest part of your piece to adjust the levels to that one and that should work. How many mics are you planing to connect? The 2i2 only allows two (which can run with phantom power).

Regarding the syncing of video and audio, I use a "trick" that perhaps you use already but I will mention it anyways. Before starting the piece, I play three times loud any key, let's say middle C. Then in the post-processing I only have to sync the audio file of the video and the audio recording in those three peaks. In the DAWs you can zoom in a lot and that makes it easy to do. After that I cut out that initial part. I hope this helps smile

I had to get a larger model - 4 mics. That's what I used to do - one loud clap before I started. But I was using imovie back then, and it was very fiddly to line up.

Sam


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It helps me to just spend a session or two experimenting with recording without worrying too much on the performance. Try different mic placements and announce into the mic the placement measurements including height, distance from the piano, distance between mics. If the room is too boomy put out some sound absorbing material (I use cheap moving blankets). If your initial recording is too quiet, you can bring the volume up in your rendering software - usually the bulk of the recording should be -12db to give you some headroom for louder passages, but if you clip the initial recording (level > 0db) there's no way to take it out.

Once you get a decent recording document the mic placement and settings used in your recording equipment (levels, gains, DAW settings etc) so it can be reproduced.

If you experiment on the same day as recording it can be too nerve wrecking and distracting.

Also for syncing it helps to set the frame rate of your video to match the audio, so your initial sync stays in sync.

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5 days until the recital opens for submissions! At about 6AM US Eastern time Feb 1st the gates will open. Who will be first this time? Not me - I have the new recording pieces in the house, but have not yet figured out how it all works...

Sam


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I have my MIDI recording. Jus' wondering what piano to play it through . . . .


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I'm ready with the piece. Everything can still go through the window during the recording though 😁 I hope to do this tomorrow, but let's see how that goes.


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