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CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

Re: "Real" Sound

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 13 Mar 2000 12:55:34 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (34 lines)

Robert Stumpf reports from an article in the NY Times:

>... the advent of the phonograph, it was to recreate the sound as heard
>in a concert.  Early in the development of the phonograph, singers would
>perform in concert with a phonograph on the stage.  At times they would
>stop sining and have the audience listen to just the reocrd.  People
>maintained that they could not tell the difference.  (What must the
>acousitcs have been like then?) Well, the increasing development of the
>stereo system was originally designed to make the system disappear and
>have the sound as true to the original as possilbe.

Well, the writer would have an argument with Walter Legge, legendary EMI
producer, who said that the purpose of recorded sound was to give you
something *better* than the concert hall.  Although the truth of that
statement is debatable, it probably accounts for the following:

>However, home and car listening have changed our perception of reality.
>Now concert halls are being designed to make the live experience sound
>like listening in your living room.  While they did not cite him in the
>article, Stokowski once maintained that someday we would make recordings
>that sounded better than live.  Has the stereo system changed our
>perception of what music "should" sound like?

I can't answer the question, but there's no doubt there's a difference
still, at least in the first-rank halls, like the Concertgebouw and
whatever hall the VPO uses (I forget, and I'm too lazy to look it up).
Broadway's been miking for years, but who cares? I've yet to figure out
the difference between "electronically-enhanced" or "-assisted" live sound
and wholesale reconstruction by dial-twiddling the sound.

It may very well be the case that the perception of sound has changed,
since I doubt most classical-music listeners attend live concerts.

Steve Schwartz

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