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ARSCLIST  January 2018

ARSCLIST January 2018

Subject:

Re: Recording Process in 1920s

From:

Tim Gillett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 07:38:51 +0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (165 lines)

Then there's the problem of rotational speed changing between outer to inner 
grooves. It's harder for the disc cutter to maintain a constant rotational 
speed when cutting the outer grooves than the inner. It requires more torque 
cutting the outer groves. So typically the playback will start at one pitch 
and appear to lower in pitch (slow down) towards the inner grooves. I dont 
know how common this  problem was in disc cutting in that era but I've 
observed it ocasionally repairing an old wind up acoustic gramophone. Of 
course it's harder to correct for such an error but I'd imagine today a 
product like Celemony Capstan or the equivalent Cedar product would make it 
a lot easier, though strictly they appear to be designed to correct wow and 
flutter. Others with experience with these tools will know more.

Tim



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 6:21 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Recording Process in 1920s


> The easiest way I have ever found to determine the pitch of a recording 
> and
> adjust it correctly is this.  Just play along with the recording on an
> electronic keyboard such as the Yamaha one I use, which has absolutely
> perfect pitch--it reads "top dead center" on a Korg tuner.  This will tell
> you instantly if the recording if at the same pitch, or higher or lower,
> and you can easily hear very, very small pitch errors this way--they 
> become
> quite apparent--way easier than trying to remember a pitch mentally.
> Obviously I am just playing tunes and sometimes harmonies, not the whole
> thing, and I am not making any effort to play anything well.  This takes
> hardly any keyboard skill, and it is far easier for me to hear what is
> going on this way than using a Korg guitar tuner (which is itself way
> better than nothing).  Getting pitch right used to be such a headache--now
> it's a snap.  I can do it in seconds.  Such an electronic keyboard costs
> something like $100.
>
> Plus, the keyboard is easily adjustable to other pitches--for instance,
> where we know that an orchestra tunes to A = 442 or some other A besides
> 440.
>
> Best,
> John
>
>
> On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 4:28 PM, George Brock-Nannestad <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>> From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
>>
>>
>> Hello, Terri and all,
>>
>> the question, as I read it, is not entirely clear to me. What is meant by
>> "recordings in the 1920s were transferred to disc"? Would that indicate
>> that
>> recordings on cylinders -- a standard format in ethnomusicology until 
>> about
>> 1940 -- would have been transferred to disc in the 1920s, OR that
>> recordings
>> from the 1920s (still on cylinders) have been transferred to LP (from the
>> 1950s) or CD (from about 1985)? This involves two stages of recording: 
>> 1st
>> on
>> cylinder, and 2nd onto the next medium, playing the cylinder. There may
>> certainly be problems in the transfer from cylinder to next medium. The
>> early
>> ethnomusicologists (from the time the field was called "comparative
>> musicology") knew this, and this is why they frequently sounded a pitch
>> pipe
>> before each take. If this pitch is reproduced correctly in the next
>> medium, the
>> whole recording is correct as concerns pitch.
>>
>> Most commenters have talked about disc recording, but these did not 
>> become
>> really important for ethnomusicological sound collection before the 1930s
>> (John
>> Lomax and Laura Boulton were typical representatives). The Library of
>> Congress
>> started transferring their Densmore cylinders to 78 rpm vinyl discs in 
>> the
>> 1940s.
>>
>> I am worried about the 1938 Presto lathe that apparently cuts 7% slow 
>> with
>> the
>> cutter on the virgin disc. This how I interpret that the playback of the
>> record
>> just cut is 7% sharp, all provided that the Presto turntable is used with 
>> a
>> pickup-arm for reproducing the disc just cut. And this would indicate an
>> underpowered motor. Otherwise the reason could be that the speed of the
>> reproducing turntable is too fast.
>>
>> Concerning discs I agree completely with John Haley at Mon, 22 Jan 2018
>> 11:57:30. And I have used the approach recommended by Steve Smolian since
>> 1981,
>> and I am on my 4th Korg right now, although it is called a Chromatic 
>> Tuner
>> with
>> no string preferences. If you would like to know more about my version of
>> this
>> approach, Google will show the way.
>>
>> If someone is interested in digging deeper into acoustic recording as
>> performed
>> at the Victor Talking Machine Company and the Gramophone Company up to
>> 1925, I
>> would recommend my AES Conference Preprint from 1997:
>> "The Objective Basis for the Production of High Quality Transfers from
>> Pre-1925
>> Sound Recordings", AES Preprint No. 4610, 103nd Convention 1997 September
>> 26-29, New York. This is free in electronic form to members of the Audio
>> Engineering Society. I have noticed that it is being cited quite
>> frequently in
>> later years.
>>
>> I would be happy to provide greater detail, but in that case perhaps an
>> off-list exchange would offend the fewest people.
>>
>> Kind regards,
>>
>>
>> George
>>
>>
>>
>> -------------------------------------
>> From:   Terri Brinegar <[log in to unmask]>
>> To:     [log in to unmask]
>> Subject:        [ARSCLIST] Recording Process in 1920s
>> Date sent:      Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:09:06 -0500
>>
>>
>> > 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]
>> 


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