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Violinists cannot differentiate between Stradivarius and new violins, was: "golden ears"
godrick
post Jan 12 2012, 18:09
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So once one learns how to play on a certain instrument, it becomes that much harder to become familiar with another? Your "reverse learning curve" theory is fascinating. If that makes sense to you, please stay away from sharp objects and cliffs because your sense is a bit off.

Glad to see your proof that the newer violins tested were made objectively easier to play, keeping in mind that you are contradicting your apparent belief that the old violins sound better than newer ones (implying that we have not improved or have lost our ability to make the best violins) with a claim that "centuries of development" have led to inevitable improvements in making instruments easier to play, bust somehow not better sounding. I will completely ignore for the moment the illogic of luthiers generally focusing their expertise to make the best violins easier to play rather than making them better-sounding, but for now I will be satisfied if you prove this claim as well. If you think the violins tested were intended for "n00bs", then I again recommend staying away from sharp objects and cliffs.

This just gets better and better...
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botface
post Jan 12 2012, 19:39
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QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 18:09) *
This just gets better and better...


Not from where I sit. It's just getting sillier and sillier
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Porcus
post Jan 12 2012, 19:44
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QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 05:07) *
I am quite willing to agree that it takes time to gain familiarity with an instrument. I am quite unwilling to agree that this only applies to old instruments, much less that such selective familiarity will allow an old instrument to eventually sound better than new ones as Zimmerman implies.


Well ... I'll give him this point:

If two instruments both require a fair bit of practice to utilize their full potential, then you are unlikely to realize the full potential of either in a 20 minutes session, and differences detected in such a short term -- if any -- might not be positively correlated to any difference in full potential experienced when a world-class musician has spent a year practicing on the instrument.

(Even garage band musicians do notice that one guitar is easier to handle than another ...)


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Gumboot
post Jan 12 2012, 22:39
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QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 17:09) *
So once one learns how to play on a certain instrument, it becomes that much harder to become familiar with another?


That's not what I said, but I'll accept some blame for the confusion because I didn't say it either way explicitly.

Here's what I should have written:
"if you learnt to play on a new instrument then the old one would be subjectively more difficult to play, and if you learnt to play on an old instrument then the new one would be subjectively more difficult to play."
But I did (and still do) think that that's the only sensible way to read it.


QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 17:09) *
Glad to see your proof that the newer violins tested were made objectively easier to play, keeping in mind that you are contradicting your apparent belief that the old violins sound better than newer ones (implying that we have not improved or have lost our ability to make the best violins)


When have I ever asserted or implied that old violins sound better?

I said it was a matter of opinion. In some people's opinion vinyl sounds better than CD. That's fine, too. You can't prove or disprove their opinion, and you'll struggle to prove that it isn't really their opinion because you can't do blind tests when the difference is demonstrably perceptible.


QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 17:09) *
with a claim that "centuries of development" have led to inevitable improvements in making instruments easier to play, bust somehow not better sounding.


As above, but also, when have I ever asserted that playability improvements were inevitable? It was one possibility out of two. There was a condition attached, and even if that condition were met I still only asserted that it would be an expectation.


QUOTE (godrick @ Jan 12 2012, 17:09) *
I will completely ignore for the moment the illogic of luthiers generally focusing their expertise to make the best violins easier to play rather than making them better-sounding, but for now I will be satisfied if you prove this claim as well.


I will completely ignore that I never claimed it, and reiterate that if the player of the instrument does well with that instrument then the instrument must surely sound "better" than another instrument with which they do not do so well. Which one do you think they're going to buy?



QUOTE (Porcus)
(Even garage band musicians do notice that one guitar is easier to handle than another ...)


TOS#8?
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db1989
post Jan 12 2012, 22:57
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QUOTE (Gumboot @ Jan 12 2012, 21:39) *
QUOTE (Porcus)
(Even garage band musicians do notice that one guitar is easier to handle than another ...)

TOS#8?

Are you being serious? (It’s getting hard to tell in this thread.)

My answer? No. ToS8 applies to audible sound quality, not the ease of playing any given instrument. Are you really attempting to equate the two?

Otherwise, let me be struck down here and now for asserting with confidence that my mistreated-but-somehow-still-with-us Yamaha from a starter-pack is, for me, significantly easier to pick up and play than my criminally underused ~£900 Fender Telecaster. The action is lower; various ergonomic factors such as the type of bridge and the thinner neck make it easier to play, probably due largely to familiarity/habit; and I don’t have to worry about damaging it (any further). So my technique might be slightly better (albeit still very limited, mind you!) on the former. However, it will almost definitely sound worse as an instrument. Porcus sort of covered this in the same post whose remainder you ignored.
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Gumboot
post Jan 12 2012, 23:10
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Jan 12 2012, 21:57) *
Are you being serious? (It’s getting hard to tell in this thread.)


No, strictly trolling.


QUOTE (db1989 @ Jan 12 2012, 21:57) *
Porcus sort of covered this in the same post whose remainder you ignored.


You mean the bit that says what I've been saying over and over again?
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db1989
post Jan 12 2012, 23:19
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My bad—I’m tired too many words hurt poor brain.
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knutinh
post May 16 2012, 11:09
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If it takes one year of practice to appreciate the qualities of one instrument, and learning a new one will "unlearn" the appreciation of the previous one, then what does this tell us about the instruments that expert players use and advocate?

It would mean that most people owning and loving a Stradivarius have little idea if that instrument is the right choice for them. It might be that some other instrument costing 1/10th is really "better", but if they invest the required year of burn-in, they would have to compare it to the 1-year old memory of how it used to feel like playing the Strad.

Any theory is possible, but I think that this one needs some empiry before I am ready to accept it. Is it possible to make new Violins look exactly like a Strad, to the point that any perceived difference must be in the sound and physical feel? In that case, one might ask 20 violin players to make a complete swap to an unknown brand violin for a year. Give 10 players brand A, 10 players brand B, and figure out after that year who are most happy with their instrument, who are practicing the most, who use the least amount of anti-depressiva etc.

-k

This post has been edited by knutinh: May 16 2012, 11:16
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post May 16 2012, 13:14
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QUOTE (knutinh @ May 16 2012, 06:09) *
If it takes one year of practice to appreciate the qualities of one instrument, and learning a new one will "unlearn" the appreciation of the previous one, then what does this tell us about the instruments that expert players use and advocate?


It's complex.


QUOTE
It would mean that most people owning and loving a Stradivarius have little idea if that instrument is the right choice for them. It might be that some other instrument costing 1/10th is really "better", but if they invest the required year of burn-in, they would have to compare it to the 1-year old memory of how it used to feel like playing the Strad.


Could be, or not.

QUOTE
Any theory is possible, but I think that this one needs some empiry before I am ready to accept it. Is it possible to make new Violins look exactly like a Strad, to the point that any perceived difference must be in the sound and physical feel? In that case, one might ask 20 violin players to make a complete swap to an unknown brand violin for a year. Give 10 players brand A, 10 players brand B, and figure out after that year who are most happy with their instrument, who are practicing the most, who use the least amount of anti-depressiva etc.


Blind comparisons help reduce the number of variables that could potentially affect the outcome of the evaluation, but blind tests of certain items, even headphones, is difficult.
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DonP
post May 16 2012, 14:33
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QUOTE (knutinh @ May 16 2012, 06:09) *
If it takes one year of practice to appreciate the qualities of one instrument, and learning a new one will "unlearn" the appreciation of the previous one, then what does this tell us about the instruments that expert players use and advocate?

It would mean that most people owning and loving a Stradivarius have little idea if that instrument is the right choice for them. It might be that some other instrument costing 1/10th is really "better", but if they invest the required year of burn-in, they would have to compare it to the 1-year old memory of how it used to feel like playing the Strad.


Do Stradivarius (or other high prestige violin) owners typically play just the one on a regular basis? For that matter, do the players generally own the instrument, or are they usually on loan from some patron/collector?
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DVDdoug
post May 17 2012, 21:34
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QUOTE (DonP @ May 16 2012, 06:33) *
Do Stradivarius (or other high prestige violin) owners typically play just the one on a regular basis? For that matter, do the players generally own the instrument, or are they usually on loan from some patron/collector?
I assume most are kept in a vault, or in a highly-secure museum-like setting. At this moment, probably only 2 or 3 are out of their vaults. If you own a $1 million diamond, you don't wear it every day, and you can't take the Stradivarius to every practice. You might not even use it for every performance… Maybe only for very-special solo performances. You can’t keep it in your closet, or lying around your music room, and you can't just grab the Strad and jump into your car, or into a taxi and drive to the concert hall without security guards.

Wikipedia has a list of instruments that includes ownership and location for many of them. I would guess that most people with the means and desire to own a Stradivarius are not violinists. Or perhaps they can "play", but they don’t feel their skills do it justice. For example, I could imagine an orchestra-conductor who knows how to play a violin, but he/she rarely if-ever performs violin in public, and he/she only takes the Stradivarius out of the vault when a master uses it to perform a very-special solo. Or, perhaps the 3rd-violinist in the orchestra happens to own one, but it would be audacious to play it himself/herself…

I know someone who has a grand piano in her house, but she can't play. As far as I know, she, nor anyone in her family, plays any instrument. It's just a beautiful piece of art (and at least once, she has hired a pianist for a party).






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DonP
post May 18 2012, 03:10
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ May 17 2012, 16:34) *
You can’t keep it in your closet, or lying around your music room, and you can't just grab the Strad and jump into your car, or into a taxi and drive to the concert hall without security guards.


Been known to happen...

Yo Yo Ma forgets stradivarius cello in cab (NY times)


But it does answer the issue wrt the previous post was that a player can be "used to" more than one instrument at a time.
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knutinh
post May 18 2012, 10:27
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QUOTE (DonP @ May 16 2012, 15:33) *
Do Stradivarius (or other high prestige violin) owners typically play just the one on a regular basis? For that matter, do the players generally own the instrument, or are they usually on loan from some patron/collector?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truls_Mørk
QUOTE
At present, Mørk is large in the international concert scene. His extensive discography spans from a Grammy-award-winning recording of the Shostakovich Cello Concertos to a critically acclaimed[citation needed] recording of Bach's Suites for Solo Cello.
...
Mørk plays a rare Domenico Montagnana cello (Venice, 1723), the scroll of which was made by Stradivarius. Valued at around 12 million NOK it once belonged to a Belgian gentleman who named it the "Esquire". It was bought by a bank in Norway (SR Bank), and is on loan to him.[1]


I believe that concert pianists (or players of pipe organs) do not usually bring their own instrument. Accordingly, they may not have 1 year of playing experience on one particular instrument before using it a concert or in a recording, although:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinway#.22Piano_bank.22
QUOTE
Steinway maintains a "piano bank" from which performing pianists, especially Steinway Artists, can select a Steinway piano for use in a certain concert, recording or tour.[113] The idea is to provide a consistent pool of Steinway pianos with various characteristics for performing pianists' individual touch and tonal preferences. Performing artists choose a piano for use at a certain venue after trying some of the pianos of the "piano bank".
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knutinh
post May 18 2012, 10:58
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ May 16 2012, 14:14) *
QUOTE (knutinh @ May 16 2012, 06:09) *
If it takes one year of practice to appreciate the qualities of one instrument, and learning a new one will "unlearn" the appreciation of the previous one...

It's complex.
...
Could be, or not.
...
Blind comparisons help reduce the number of variables that could potentially affect the outcome of the evaluation, but blind tests of certain items, even headphones, is difficult.

Then I would be tempted to compress this topic:
"It has proven difficult to show audible/tactile benefits of certain vintage high-quality violins vs certain recent high-quality violins using short-span blind testing. More elaborate long-term testing may or may not return different results, but we have no indication that they will."

-k
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Porcus
post May 25 2012, 16:22
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Well, if violinists cannot identify the Stradivari, then bankers might of course be prone to placebo as well wink.gif

http://www.spiegel.de/international/german...d-a-832274.html


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mzil
post May 25 2012, 17:51
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^That was interesting.
---

To all: See if you can hear which is "darker" or "more feminine", as the French violinist Renaud Capuçon mentions in the audio clip at the top of this link.

30 second samples Strad

30 second samples Guarneri

True, not a completely fair "apples to apples" comparison, as the article mentions, but still I thought it might be fun to compare, even if not scientifically valid.

The article mentions Guaneris are signed by the maker, does anyone know if this is also true of Strads?

[I hope providing the links in this post is acceptable, instead of creating a second one. I'll be glad to fix that, if need be.]

This post has been edited by mzil: May 25 2012, 17:58
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Porcus
post Nov 19 2012, 16:58
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QUOTE (Porcus @ May 25 2012, 16:22) *
Well, if violinists cannot identify the Stradivari, then bankers might of course be prone to placebo as well wink.gif

http://www.spiegel.de/international/german...d-a-832274.html


Conviction time:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/eu...us-8301364.html
http://www.theworld.org/2012/11/violin-machold-convicted/


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