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ARSCLIST  January 2018

ARSCLIST January 2018

Subject:

Re: Recording Process in 1920s

From:

Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:12:27 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (67 lines)

Dear Terri,

I hope that what you learned from the posts in answer to your query is that
there is no such thing as a standard playback speed for any disc medium.
Speeds have been published by makers, whose own products confounded that
"standard".

In a day when almost all phonograph motors were mechanical, there was easy
adjustment of speed to bring a recording either up or down to what was
perceived as correct pitch.

All cutting lathes had adjustable speed. Lathe operators, when cutting a
disc, would often employ a non-standard speed if they calculated that the
material recorded was too long to be successfully recorded at standard
speed. Also, the use of a non-standard speed would also produce a physical
product with a fuller appearing side. The assumption was that the careful
listener could adjust the speed to his preference.

As examples of non-standard speed recordings, aside from various examples
already cited, are the HMV Sarasate violin recordings, and the famous 1907
Victor recording of the Lucia sextet, "Chi mi frena", which suggests on its
label a playback speed of 82 rpm. Many, many other instances exist. In the
electrical era, American Columbia engineers constantly recorded at
non-standard speeds for all of the reasons already cited, e.g., the
Gershwin piano solos are all at speeds other than 78rpm.

In addition to deliberate speed "errors", there are inadvertent ones that
must be noted. The governor on the lathe occasionally would fail and speed
would change either abruptly or gradually over the side of the record.
Stokowski's Victor Philadelphia Orchestra recordings from October 1927 are
particularly prone to this.

The only way to detect the correct speed of a record is WITH YOUR EARS. Do
not rely on any published or "suggested" speed for any record made before
1940.

Happy listening,

DDR

On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 11:09 AM, Terri Brinegar <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Hello All,
>
> Can anyone tell me if recordings in the 1920s were transferred to disc at
> exactly the same speed as they were recorded? In other words, if someone is
> singing an “F” pitch on the recording, is that the actual pitch sung or
> could the engineer possibly speed it up somehow, thus raising the pitch?
> Not sure if that was possible back then.
>
> Thank you!
>
> Terri Brinegar
> PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology
> University of Florida
> [log in to unmask]
> [log in to unmask]
>



-- 
1006 Langer Way
Delray Beach, FL 33483
561.265.2976

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