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Re. Dynamics

WalkaboutsVerse 15 Sep 10 - 06:23 AM
Will Fly 15 Sep 10 - 06:49 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 15 Sep 10 - 07:03 AM
Will Fly 15 Sep 10 - 07:16 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 07:19 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 07:25 AM
terrier 15 Sep 10 - 07:41 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 08:02 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 08:06 AM
Will Fly 15 Sep 10 - 08:13 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 08:19 AM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 08:24 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 15 Sep 10 - 08:43 AM
terrier 15 Sep 10 - 08:55 AM
Jack Campin 15 Sep 10 - 08:59 AM
terrier 15 Sep 10 - 09:31 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 15 Sep 10 - 11:56 AM
GUEST 15 Sep 10 - 06:30 PM
s&r 15 Sep 10 - 06:35 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 06:41 PM
Nick 15 Sep 10 - 06:52 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 08:05 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Sep 10 - 08:12 PM
terrier 15 Sep 10 - 08:14 PM
Don Firth 15 Sep 10 - 09:00 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 16 Sep 10 - 07:14 AM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Sep 10 - 03:57 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 17 Sep 10 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Ed 17 Sep 10 - 04:57 AM
s&r 17 Sep 10 - 05:24 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Sep 10 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Ed 17 Sep 10 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Sep 10 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Sep 10 - 06:22 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 17 Sep 10 - 06:40 AM
s&r 17 Sep 10 - 06:44 AM
Edthefolkie 17 Sep 10 - 07:00 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 17 Sep 10 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Sep 10 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Sep 10 - 07:51 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 17 Sep 10 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Sep 10 - 07:22 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Sep 10 - 07:57 PM
Don Firth 17 Sep 10 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Sep 10 - 03:03 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 18 Sep 10 - 07:19 AM
Don Firth 18 Sep 10 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Sep 10 - 07:22 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 21 Sep 10 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 21 Sep 10 - 08:05 AM
Will Fly 21 Sep 10 - 08:21 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 21 Sep 10 - 09:43 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Sep 10 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 21 Sep 10 - 03:34 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Sep 10 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 Sep 10 - 09:25 AM
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Subject: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:23 AM

I'm glad there is relatively little use of dynamics in folk music; with BBC Radio 3, on the other hand, I've often found myself moving toward the radio as the classical music moves between piano and forte. Agree..?


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:49 AM

Do you actually know what "dynamics" means? If so, why one earth do you think that there's relatively little use of it in folk music? Do you really believe that traditional songs or tunes are always performed with no light and shade, or no subtle changes of rhythm and tempo?

If so, I fear you have been misinformed...


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 07:03 AM

For you, Will, I just went to - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamics_(music)

And please note my "relatively little" NOT your "no" (above).


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 07:16 AM

OK, David - but the question still remains: Do you believe that traditional songs or tunes make relatively little use of dynamics? I know from experience that, where folk material has been notated, either in standard notation or in abc, there's usually nothing or next to nothing in the way of performance dynamics indicated.

But actual performance is a different matter, and many singers and instrumentalists use all sorts of degrees of light and shade in a live situation. Which, to me, is as it should be. After all, if we tell a story, we use dynamics in the telling to enhance the tale. I don't think a sung ballad need be different from that. Do you?

As far as dynamics where performing tunes is concerned, it shouldn't be a ceaseless "diddly-diddly" (or whatever). Even when playing for dancing, our band - though it keeps a strict and proper tempo for the dancers - can ease back or push forward with the sound. Changing from, say, a tune in D major to one in E minor (such as "Morrisons") can subtley alter the feel of the set.

So, it exists, but perhaps in a less formal way than in written classical music.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 07:19 AM

Ah The Totally Fuckwitted Ignorant strike again!

The Radio Engineers compress ALL Music broadcasted! It's complex, but with classical music, which often has a WIDE dynamic range, they can gradually 'drift' the volume down to be able to suddenly increase, and vice versa.

It just so happens that they have recorded what you think is 'folk music' in such a way that you can HEAR little dynamic range!


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 07:25 AM

I worked in theatre with lighting and sound, creating and recording sound tracks. effects, and pre-show & interval music.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: terrier
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 07:41 AM

Recorded orchestral music (are you generalising when you state 'classical' music, WV) is always a trade off and the BBC have strict rules on recording levels. If, say, they were to record Elgars 'Enigma' without some sort of control over the levels, to get the quieter moments to be audible enough through loudspeakers, the brassy double forte, say, at the end of Nimrod, would blow your speaker cones out. I find it spoils the sense of the music when the sound levels ( I take it that's what you mean by 'dynamics') are evened out so much. To me, it blows away reality when I can hear a harp at almost the same volume as a trumpet playing at the other side of the stage. I agree with you, it's a poor substitute for the real thing, but that's how the recording engineers have decided it has to be done. Now, if the sound engineers could work their magic and do something about the poor diction that many modern singers seem to be aflicted.. better not go there ;)


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:02 AM

In 2001, mastering engineer, Bob Speer, wrote the following article about the abuses of compression in modern recordings. The article (with several updates) is as relevant today as it was then.

What Happened To Dynamic Range?
By
Bob Speer

What happened to dynamic range?


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:06 AM

What Happens to My Recording When it's Played on the Radio?


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:13 AM

This is all very interesting, but what David is saying in his original post is that he things that the classical music he listens to on the radio already has too much dynamic variance in it (!) - and he's glad that, in his opinion, folk music has little dynamic variance.

My answer is that I believe David to be wrong in his contention that folk music makes relatively use of dynamics. Whatever the distortions and alterations caused by recording may be - and, yes, they can be manifold - performers of traditional music do make use of dynamic variation. Perhaps it all boils down to range in the end - there are obviously huge differences of dynamic range between a solo performer and a symphony orchestra - which may give David the impression that folk singers/musicians are somehow different.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:19 AM

"performers of traditional music do make use of dynamic variation"

The best use I ever saw was when someone was playing in a noisy room, people eating/drinking at tables, etc. He started loudish, slowly got gradually softer, then Boom! he hit it quite loud! Everybody shut up and listened! :-)


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:24 AM

"with BBC Radio 3, on the other hand"

Oh, and of course, the human ear, like the eye rapidly adjusts to live performances, as does the eye with changing light levels - I was able to make use of this visual trick once in a play to make people think the sun was physically moving in a sun set!

The ear adjusts quite rapidly for live performances - listening to a radio is quite an artificial experience, and you are subject to an enormous amount of compression that you are not aware of.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:43 AM

If you tune into BBC, e.g., folk then classical radio for a while, I'm sure you'll agree that there's a much bigger dynamic/range of volume in the latter - despite the sound engineering, mentioned above. And, in EFDSS trad recordings I've heard via the Beeb, such as that of Joseph Taylor (recordings about 100 years old now), the volume is fairly even - J.T. certainly doesn't start belting his words.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: terrier
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:55 AM

FT wrote..The ear adjusts quite rapidly for live performances - listening to a radio is quite an artificial experience, and you are subject to an enormous amount of compression that you are not aware of..

It would seem to me that you ears will not differentiate between 'live' and 'canned'. You are still hearing 'sound'. Surely the amount of compression (that you are not aware of), is for the benefit of getting the sound out of the speakers without distorting it. Obviously, a lot of people ARE aware of it,that's why there's so much written on the subject. We shouldn't forget that all these recording devices can also IMPROVE the recorded sound, of course, then it's not a true representation of the original. I wonder how much work has been done to the Joseph Taylor recording to make it transmittable on the BBC.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:59 AM

If you play percussion you are doing variations in dynamics all the time at extreme speed - that's how you put life into the beat pattern. The audience is hardly ever aware that you're doing it, let alone how. Touch a drum head with your hand or the non-striking stick to mute it, press down on a washboard to stop it rattling freely, open and close your hand round a shaky egg, tilt a tambourine to control how much the jingles move, use a stick with a different tip material, pick a different strike point on just about anything - how hard you hit is only a fraction of the story. You will easily get several planned, consistent, reproducible changes in dynamic level within a second.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: terrier
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 09:31 AM

You don't have to make it so complicated,Jack, just listen to someone speak, listen to the variation in the voice, then imagine it with all the 'life' taken out of it. That's not what I hear when I listen to radio, the dynamics are still there, but the question is, how much interference should there be with the recording and when does it become 'unreal'.
Foulestroupe, not had time yet to read through your links yet, but scanned the first bit and seem to be the techie version of what I was trying to convey in my first post, LOL.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 11:56 AM

Just listened to another Choral Evensong - whether live or on radio, also quite even in volume, such that the congregation get all the all-important words, of course.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:30 PM

Oh WAV you understand so little of music

Stu


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: s&r
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:35 PM

Sorry the guest was me

Stu


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:41 PM

"Foulestroupe, not had time yet to read through your links yet"

It's F O O L - not foul...

"Who's the Fool now?" :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Just listened to another Choral Evensong - whether live or on radio, also quite even in volume"

As evidenced by your many previous postings here mate, I'll just be brief and kind to you by saying that some levels of intellect can never hope to learn anything new, never cope with complex things beyond the limited capabilities of what they have to work with (You can blame God if you want - but I'm an Atheist), so please stop trying to pretend you DO actually understand what you are ranting on about now. Some of us DO really have years of practical experience, backed up by years of study of the underlying technical principles.

I'm not trying to insult you by pointing out that I was tested to be in the top 3 in 100,000 world intellects, just trying reassure you that based on your other published pronouncements here on Mudcat, you will never understand the subtleties.

Please just enjoy the music you do, mate. I don't expect a dog to be able to learn to play Chopin, either.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Nick
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:52 PM

>>I don't expect a dog to be able to learn to play Chopin, either.

At least some people try to beat that expectation though - Dogs and Chopin


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:05 PM

Well, there's Chopin, and the there's dogs just choppin' around ....


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:12 PM

Nick, there's also a big difference between actually performing Chopin on a piano-forte, (something possibly beyond my physical capabilities due to my micromotor disability), even though I can do a credible Toccata and Fuge in D Minor (Bach on the Pipe Organ - different physical techniques!) and just sitting there 'listening' and saying that you 'enjoy' it ....


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: terrier
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:14 PM

It's F O O L - not foul...

Oops! Sorry, slip of the phinger :)


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 09:00 PM

Someone once commented that "We've all seen, on one television variety show or another, a poodle wearing a tutu and dancing around on its hind legs. The truly amazing thing about this is not that the poodle can dance so well, but that it can dance at all!!"

The best singers are those who, through careful use of dynamics, can tell--act out--the story of a ballad in a compelling manner. Not "hamming it up," but putting a ballad across with dynamics and intensity.

Dynamics? Absolutely!

Don Firth

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 07:14 AM

"I'm not trying to insult you by pointing out that I was tested to be in the top 3 in 100,000 world intellects" (Foolestroupe the Dynamic)!


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 03:57 AM

Thank you WAV - I do resist telling 99.99997 % of people that they are ignorant stupid fools.... no need really .... they can prove for themselves, and usually eventually do :-)

I find that many people who work hard with what talents they possess usually outshine me anyway ...

The Fooles Troupe was a literary creation long after that ... :-)


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 04:35 AM

As a percentage of you may know, American pop/rock/indie musicians often start singing fairly evenly (like a folkie), then belt words later in the piece.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 04:57 AM

American pop/rock/indie musicians often start singing fairly evenly (like a folkie), then belt words later in the piece.

Examples please?


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: s&r
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 05:24 AM

Oh WAV you understand so little of music

Stu


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:01 AM

American pop/rock/indie musicians often start singing fairly evenly (like a folkie), then belt words later in the piece.

This is a bit of a truism; I can think of hundreds of examples - like Stairway to Heaven or The Revealing Science of God - which use musical dynamics to bring off the sort of vinegar strokes you're describing here. However, I don't get the like a folkie bit because you're assuming folkies don't use dynamics.

I therefore recommend you listen to Peter Bellamy who was the Dynamic Master of Traditional Song. Many Traditional Singers made great use of vocal dynamics - check out Davie Stewart, Willie Scott and Phil Tanner. Shirley Collins, on the other hand, sang everything at the same level regardless of being accompanied or unaccompanied - flute organ, medieval fiddle, broken consort or rock group, it's all the same! Otherwise - try talking vocal dymanics with The Watersons, and The Wilsons and Cath Tyler.

Like your other musical pronouncements (fiddles etc.) I fear you haven't done the research to back up your theory - in other words, you put your theory before the facts. Also, with a WAV theory, bitter experience teaches us that what you're actually proposing is a correctness of approach, in which case you're way off, as ever.

*

On a seperate note, I was yammering on with Ron Baxter yesterday (who for his protests about being a crap singer employs an astonishing range of dynamic expression in his performances) and was reminded of seeing Anthony Rooley & Emma Kirkby giving a recital of Dowland to an audience of 700 in Durham Town Hall with no PA. Rooley instructed the audience not to applaud in between songs so as not to disturb the dynamic adjustment our ears made to the delicate sound of lute & voice. Once made, of course, the dynamic range of the music is as rich as any other.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:11 AM

I'm sorry, but neither Stairway to Heaven or The Revealing Science of God are American...


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:16 AM

PS: WAV - please note pop/rock/indie is not American. Another of your oft quoted musical misconceptions which you adhere too in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, such as the examples alluded to above which are as English as you could wish - The Revealing Science of God is even sung in an Accrington accent!


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:22 AM

Sorry, ED - cross post! I'd best explain that WAV is of the opinion that all rock/pop/indie is American by default (and should be played in Atlanta). It's all part of his woefully absurd-as-it-is-inaccurate world-view of racial / ethnic / cultural segregation which flies in the face of the global cultural dynamics which have defined the variable wonders of music since we began the long march out of Africa.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:40 AM

I said "FAIRLY evenly", S.; and right now I'm listening to the National Mods, from Scotland, on BBC Rn Gael, where the folk singing is, indeed, all fairly even - there is certainly no Bon Jovi (Ed) like belting.

And American pop/rock has been copied by the citizens of many other countries - sadly, I think (even though I don't mind listening to the likes of Bon Jovi, e.g.). If we love our world being multicultural, we appreciate other cultures and perform OUR OWN (from here).

Stu: I've missed your in-depth analysis...and I'm still missing it!


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: s&r
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:44 AM

Damn. And I thought I'd kept it simple enough!

Stu


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 07:00 AM

Haven't we been through all this (dynamics, compression etc) before?

To illustrate radio compression in the UK, if you've still got an analogue radio just switch between Radios 2 and 3. 3 is not always compressed whereas 2 always is and sounds like it is still broadcast on AM. Don't even bother with DAB!

Re dynamics in folk music, I'd agree with Suibhne about Peter Bellamy. Pity he wasn't always well served on his recordings. On the distaff side I hereby nominate Sandy Denny. See "She Moved through The Fair" for a good example, recorded by John Wood and produced by Joe "I prefer analogue" Boyd.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 07:11 AM

Okay, Edthefolkie - one of the reasons why I found myself checking the tuning on my analogue radio, with BBC Radio 3 on, was the compression issue you mention. But you agree that overall there isn't as much use of dynamics in the folk genre?


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 07:40 AM

If we love our world being multicultural, we appreciate other cultures and perform OUR OWN

Culture, like humanity, is fluid; like clouds, it knows no boundaries - it drifts, blurs, adapts, changing & necessitating change; culture is flux arising from the necessity of human creativity. This why we find dozens of Folk Tales leaping over linguistic barriers like so many migratory birds. The same can be said (and has been said) of musical instruments, musical forms, genres & idioms on all levels - folk, popular, classical, experimental... Nothing exists (or indeed can exist) in a state of national isolation; and the diversity of global music is a consequence of this constant state of renewal & cross polination.

If we truly love our world being multicultural (rather just mire ourselves in specious self-serving rhetoric) then we must embrace the facts of the dymanics of global cultural process and rejoice in them. This can be anything from revelling in the splendours of Krautrock's global influence to exploring British ballad variations in the Ozark Mountains. OUR OWN in this context is so much bigger than what you might credit; thus might I merrily collaborate with Japanese & Italian experimental musicians, and find I have more in common with American Folk Musicians than I do with those in my home town. This doesn't imply a lack of diversity - on the contrary, it places culture as the reserve and consequence of the INDIVIDUAL who you conveniently overlook in your somewhat retarded world view.

Ever wondered where these so-called American idioms came from? Or why, for that matter, they find such popular favour globally? Why some of the finest blues singers arose from sea-port towns like Liverpool & Newcastle which are as much linked to an international identity as thyey are to their own countries? Or why Harry Partch rejected American Classical Music in his search for something uniquely American - and why he went back to the core of Pythagorean Musical Theory to do that?

I've recently been reading of Frank Zappa's fondness for Folk Music; seems he dug A.L. Lloyd & Ewan MacColl and was great friends with Paddy Moloney. In a radio discussion Paddy was describing how he'd found Indian folk tunes that were almost identical to Irish ones. When pondering the mechanics of why this should be, Zappa ventured the solution: "Sailors!".


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 07:51 AM

But you agree that overall there isn't as much use of dynamics in the folk genre?

Again, check the traditional sources, WAV - you might just surprise yourself. As ever you're entering into this having already made your mind up, which isn't sound method.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 05:59 PM

I haven't been to the EFDSS yet, S., but I've heard quite a lot from "traditional sources" via the Beeb, as suggested above, and stand by what I've said. Also, most of the bands formed by young people in many countries now have similar drum kit, electric bass and lead guitar set-ups, perhaps singing in their own language but often in English with an American accent and pop/rock style - that IS reducing diversity.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 07:22 PM

You don't have to go to the EFDSS, WAV (hell, I've been there only once and that was by accident when I was meeting someone at The Engineer before a gig at the old LMC on Gloucester Avenue over thirty years ago) - just listen to Traditional Singers without the need to formulate yet more absurd conclusions about how things should be done.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 07:57 PM

"you agree that overall there isn't as much use of dynamics in the folk genre?"

No - just the opposite!


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 09:47 PM

Ever hear a good, rousing rendition of "Sam Hall?"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 03:03 AM

Also, most of the bands formed by young people in many countries now have similar drum kit, electric bass and lead guitar set-ups, perhaps singing in their own language but often in English with an American accent and pop/rock style - that IS reducing diversity.

Is that entirely true, WAV? And so what if it is? As an Anthropolohgist you should observe these things rather than passing scorn on them. People (ie Human Individuals like a you or a me) can do whatever they like (just as you do and I for that matter), this a simple act of choosing that enriches cultural diversity without apology. Otherwise from the available evidence I'd say there are plenty of yioung people the world over exploring their respective cultural idioms. Here's a particular favourite of mine from a few years back, just kids sharing music in a locker room...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv_LFxeK1Ik


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 07:19 AM

At times the late great Italian, Pavorotti, would, when singing an Italian aria, hold up his hands to quieten the audience, before coming down from forte to piano, then up again - but that's another genre.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 06:18 PM

I can't say I've ever seen that. Pavarotti's arms are usually by his side. If he ever does raise them, it's when he's really belting. And at the end, when it's as if he's embracing the whole audience

I've seen Pavarotti a lot, and his audiences are always quiet and well-behaved, not needing to be "quietened" down during soft passages. They're usually hanging on every note and every syllable.

Whenever they "go bananas," it's at the end of a song or aria.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 07:22 AM

WAV - In point of fairness, we've been talking about you on 'The Concept of FREED Folk Music' thread, in case you haven't seen it.

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. - Oscar Wilde


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 06:51 AM

S: whilst you (and yours) may sing some songs with more enthusiasm than others, for any given piece you yourself don't use much dynamics (you don't move radically from piano to forte, but sing with a fairly even volume), and niether do the others at the singarounds we've attended - that's the genre. Of course, a good chorus can add nicely to the volume, but that's another matter.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 08:05 AM

Not sure if that's strictly true as we're dealing with dynamic control the whole time. In our version of Child #102: The Birth of Robin Hood (as featured on John Barleycorn Reborn Vol 1) for example the dymanics of the music are keyed into the events of the narrative, likewise in our other ballads, such as Diver Boy, we certainly stress a lot in there. This comes quite naturally to us as singers especially when we're singing together; in singarounds I agree things tend to level out rather but (generally) that's a matter of being heard. I don't think it's the genre - nor yet the makings of a rule - but I do agree that a lot of Traditional Folk Singers weren't trained as such, so maybe such considerations as dynamics aren't that important but you can't write it off altogether. In classical music the dynamics are as aspect of a composition, in Folk Song they're very much the choice of the performer & that's going to be different each time.

So - no rules, eh? Let us each rejoice in the freedom to do what suits us best on any given occasion.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 08:21 AM

David, I should point out, if others haven't already done so, that dynamics in music doesn't mean just volume. It also encompasses other things such as timbre, tempo, rhythm - all techniques available to the performer. If you look at some of the pieces in Jim Copper's songbook, for example, there are written changes of time signature. You might get a 5/4 or a 3/4 bar popping up in the middle of a piece essentially in 4/4. This doesn't mean that the singers were consciously singing those time signatures as an exercise in dynamics; merely that Jim was indicating a subtle change of rhythm - one which the singers used naturally and unselfconsciously. But they were still there. The dynamics of a song or tune refers to the total shape of the song or tune, and there can be very few performers in any genre who sing or play in a dead monotone with no light and shade.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 09:43 AM

Generally I agree and where I disagree or have qualified is atop, so we are going in circles now - thus, probably a dead thread.


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 01:42 PM

Since I'm right 97% of the time, I feel entitled to continue the discussion even in a degenerate thread like this one without worrying about the other 6%, so:

It is my observation that there generally is little modulation of dynamic range in informal group playing, such as in most sessions, since (in sessions I go to often enough to observe) the eleven participants with the big Martin guitars will force the other three with musical instruments to play as loud as possible to be heard at all. Listening to the "Irish" sessions at our recently completed festival suggests a similar effect with respect to tempo due to the tendency for the seventeen hammered dulcimers to force everyone to play faster than appropriate.

Since "session playing" is a principal learning method for a large percentage of us, we do "learn" that most music should be played too loud and (Irish music) is supposed to be played too fast.

The effective use of dynamic range and modulation of tempo is, in practice, currently confined to solo performances by "misfits" who ignore the rules.

A small professional group can effectively produce a solo performance (a group deliberately "acting as one") if they practice doing so, and if they perceive that it's a good thing to do.

Most "classical" music, regardless of the size of the orchestra, is a solo performance by the conductor, who, by mutual agreement of the members, dictates variations in tempo and dynamic range thereby "playing the entire orchestra" as as his/her "solo" instrument.

The differences in dynamic range and tempo modulation heard in music, and especially in broadcast music, are not generally characteristics of the music genres. They represent primarily the "ignorance" (or perhaps simply the uninformed(?) preferences) of the performers. Note that the "preferences of the performers" may accurately cater to the "uniformed habits of intended audiences(?)."

The "compression" already mentioned also contributes, but the real reason for this compression has not be explicitly stated. Compression of dynamic range was necessary, especially with the advent of "LP" recording, because the recording media had insufficient ability to record large dynamic range without distortion and "cross-talk" between stereo channels. Similar limitations persist in newer media, pickups, amps, and speakers, and compression "on the disk" persists (almost) universally.

The compression can be according to a variety of rules, but is always non-linear. In effect, the rate at which the amplitude changes on the recording affects how much the amplitude increases when decompressed in playback. Since a change in pitch is a similar "rate" change, there sometimes is significant cross-distortion, so compression and decompression are theoretically imperfect; but the result generally is preferable to the distortion that would result with uncompressed recordings.

Ideally, all the decompression should be done at the single point where the electrons are converted to air blips; but some broadcasters do a decompression from the recording media to the "radio signal" that gets broadcast. This may result in changes in signal amplitude sufficient to cause "drops" in reception in fringe areas when the "music goes quiet," so some broadcasters only "partially decompress." Some amount of decompression is usually done because not all "receivers" include the expected decompression capability (although there probably are few now that don't).

The bottom line is that dynamic range (in broadcast music) is only "slightly" and "sometimes" a characteristic of a particular music genre. It's affected by the recording and broadcast methods, but mostly depends on the (largely ignorant?) expectations of the consumer segment for which it is produced.

John


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 03:34 PM

John-
Excellent explanation, thanks.
However I'd like to add that the ability to decompress between recording and transmitter is also limited, technically, by the need to avoid overmodulation while staying reasonably above the noise floor. Overmodulating at the 'loud' end is looked upon very sternly by the licensing authorities (because it generates spurious signals that stray into other people's frequencies). Undermodulating is not inherently bad, but it creates the impression of a noisy playback at the quiet bits. But that's the price of keeping some dynamic range in the performance, which I much prefer to the robotic pop sound (at the other extreme obviously).
All a very windy way to say that you shouldn't expect a fully uncompressed program from even the most sonically sophisticated broadcasters.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 08:55 AM

I can think of very few traditional singers who used dynamic; those who did usually had a reason for doing so.
"Davie Stewart, Willie Scott and Phil Tanner."
Davie Stewart's singing was, as with others in his situation, influenced by the fact that he was a street performer, used to having to project his voice in the open air and often over traffic noises, in a constantly altering environment.
Margaret Barry was probebly the archetype of this style of singing.
Phil Tanner and Willie Scott - certainly not in a million years.
Sam Larner used it because he 'performed' his songs, playing his audience pretty much as a music hall performer did - not entirely absent from the tradition, but not common.
IMO, at best, a singer will use subtle tonal rather than volume changes, singing with an evenly controlled delivery.
The revival style that SO'P describes with singers like Bellamy owe more to a theatrical approach and personal idiosyncracies rather than the tradition.
As far as English traditional singing goes, I tend to think of dynamic in terms of volume and alteration of pace; but then again, most of our examples are of singers remembering songs rather than performing them within a living tradition.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Re. Dynamics
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 09:25 AM

Phil Tanner and Willie Scott - certainly not in a million years.

Not what now?


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