Print

Print


I don't know where I saw them now, but I do remember seeing a picture of a cowboy singer singing into a horn with another horn on the guitar.  And I've seen recording sessions photos with an array of horns coming out of the wall.
db 


     On Sunday, May 3, 2015 12:39 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
   

 Hi Steve:

I am correct in remembering reading somewhere that HMV developed a multi-horn recording system for 
large orchestras? If I remember what I read correctly, there were 3 or 4 horns that came together 
into a single pipe that fed the recording membrane. I forgot if Abbey Road was built in the late 
acoustic era or was always an electric facility, or where this multi-horn system was built. I don't 
recall reading anything about Victor in the US doing multi-horn recordings, nor Edison.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steven Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2015 12:10 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch


> I've been working on this at the acoustical recording end.  The pieces are
> finally coming together and I expect to give a presentation at ARSC in 2016.
> Rather than go into the hardware,  I'm analyzing the improved (or not)
> results by year based on a number of criteria.  Stay tuned to this horn.
>
> Steve Smolian
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Brandon Michael Fess
> Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2015 11:50 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>
> Thank you,  gentlemen. While I'm just starting my professional career in
> audio preservation, this project may be on the back burner for a while. That
> said, I'm seriously interested in seeing if I can't begin gathering material
> for an eventual history. I've considered doing the same sort of work on live
> sound production for several years, so they might turn into
> joint/complementary productions.
>
> Brandon Fess
> LIS Candidate, Class of 2015
> Graduate Assistant, Belfer Audio Archive
>
> ________________________________________
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of John Haley <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, May 2, 2015 12:55 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>
> HI, Brandon,
>
> Keep in mind that the ARSC Journal happily publishes articles exploring
> topics involving recordings, especially historical recordings.
>
> Best,
> John Haley
>
> On Sat, May 2, 2015 at 11:21 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>> Hi Brandon:
>>
>> If you undertake research, ping me off-list and I'll share what I know
>> and point you to what I've found online. This is definitely a topic
>> deserving of some macro-view writing -- how orchestral music has been
>> recorded over the eras.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Brandon Michael Fess"
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Saturday, May 02, 2015 10:52 AM
>>
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>
>>
>>  Tom,
>>>
>>> Thanks for the brief introduction. I have some recording experience
>>> myself, but as graduate assistant at Belfer for the past 2 years, my
>>> interest in historic recording in every sense of that phrase) has
>>> really been piqued. I'll have to investigate the suggestions you
>>> make. Thanks for pointing me towards good starting points.
>>>
>>> Brandon Fess
>>> LIS Candidate, Class of 2015
>>> Graduate Assistant, Belfer Audio Archive
>>>
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <
>>> [log in to unmask]> on behalf of Tom Fine <
>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Friday, May 1, 2015 9:23 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>>
>>> Hi Brandon:
>>>
>>> It's a topic that could use a good summary, written in plain English
>>> (but scholarly in the sense of having plenty of references and
>>> footnotes). Going back to the acoustic era, there were different
>>> methods used in different places. You could start by reading the
>>> Sooey brothers' memoires, online at the David Sarnoff Library's
>>> website. Also should read books and memoires by early EMI people and
>>> other Berliner associates. In the electronic recording era, it's
>>> worth paying attention to methods used by EMI/HMV, Columbia, RCA
>>> Victor and other major producers of orchestra recordings in the 78
>>> era. My interest has mainly been in the tape era, specifically about
>>> 1950 into the 1970s. I also have interest in the early digital era,
>>> but haven't focused on what if any changes were made in such things
>>> as how sessions ran and microphone techniques (and there were
>>> changes, simply for the fact that early digital rigs didn't offer as
>>> much multi-track/remix options as people at Columbia, RCA and EMI
>>> were used to by the late 70s).
>>>
>>> In more recent years, the big change has been the shrinking budgets
>>> and marketplace for orchestral classical recording, which has forced
>>> mostly live recording in the US.
>>> The typical recording is
>>> primarily live performances with a "patch up" session held after a
>>> performance. Low-budget labels like Naxos mine overseas broadcast
>>> orchestras (sometimes just releasing broadcast recordings) and
>>> 3rd-tier US ensembles either without unionized musicians or with
>>> cheap/flexible contracts, to make low-budget recordings, usually with
>>> quantity trumping quality.
>>>
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Brandon Michael Fess" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 8:49 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>>
>>>
>>>  I've known Deb Fox for years; I was an early supporter of Pegasus
>>> Early
>>>> Music when they were just
>>>> starting out. The Hochstein concert was my only option for seeing
>>>> the concert, as I work in Rochester on weekends.
>>>>
>>>> Thanks for all the interesting info on early orchestral recording.
>>>> It's rather fascinating for me, as someone surrounded by thousands
>>>> of such records at Belfer, to have that information as part of my
>>>> understanding. Are there any other written works on the history of
>>>> orchestral recording practice that you know of? If not, I can sense
>>>> an opportunity for some scholarly work of my own...
>>>>
>>>> Brandon Fess
>>>> LIS Candidate, Class of 2015
>>>> Graduate Assistant, Belfer Audio Archive
>>>>
>>>> ________________________________________
>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <
>>>> [log in to unmask]> on behalf of Tom Fine
>>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 9:05 PM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>>>
>>>> Carl, thanks again for referring us to that article. It makes for
>>>> interesting reading.
>>>>
>>>> If I do my presentation on the evolution of classical recording in
>>>> the US again, I'll definitely use some info from it.
>>>>
>>>> Those mic diagrams illustrate some of the reasons that classical
>>>> recordings from that era don't sound very good to my ears. There are
>>>> too many mics with too many arrival times. Even with post-session
>>>> mixing from the multi-tracks, there is no way to prevent the problem
>>>> of collapsing stereo image when the orchestra gets going full-tilt.
>>>> The sound becomes muddy and the image collapses because there are
>>>> too many sounds arriving at too many different times to too many
>>>> mics.
>>>> Perhaps today, you could transfer those multi-track tapes to a
>>>> Protools rig and mess with time-alignment during the loud passages,
>>>> to clarify the stereophony.
>>>> These techniques evolved
>>>> because producers and engineers wanted to ever greater "inner detail"
>>>> clarity during soft
>>>> passages.
>>>>
>>>> Carson Taylor used fewer mics than the Columbia and RCA guys, and he
>>>> generally mixed the orchestra to 2-channel at the sessions. But he
>>>> got some strange frequency combing by using those coincident stereo
>>>> mics at different distances from the orchestra. On some sessions,
>>>> he'd put an AKG stereo mic about just behind the strings and a
>>>> Neumann stereo mic above and behind the conductor, out in the hall.
>>>> The problem is, if the brass gets going, it makes a very
>>>> strange-sounding balance between primary sounds and reverb because
>>>> both are hitting the stereo mics at different times. But, with the
>>>> other mics Taylor used, he was building on the classic Lewis Layton
>>>> RCA Living Stereo approach of filling in the quieter sections and
>>>> mixing the mics low relative to the front array. This worked very
>>>> well for Layton into the early 60s, but he kept adding mics and the
>>>> sound got muddier, as detailed in Mike Gray's history of recording
>>>> Reiner/Chicago original published in The Absolute Sound.
>>>>
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 7:19 AM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>  Parenthetically, the 1/1972 issue of Recording Engineer/Producer
>>>>> contains a
>>>>> very informative article on the contemporary orchestral recording
>>>>> practices of the three major US producers, via interviews with Max
>>>>> Wilcox, John McClure, and Carson Taylor. Taylor speaks about his
>>>>> rearrangement of seating for Cleveland and his experience in
>>>>> Chicago.
>>>>>
>>>>> Scans are available at http://www.americanradiohistory.com/
>>>>> originally from the collection of Doug Pomeroy.
>>>>>
>>>>> I recently recorded performances of Monteverdi's Vespers conducted
>>>>> by Paul O'Dette. Their tuning was A466, determined in part by the
>>>>> tuning of the cornetti. That was mean-tone, so it's a whole
>>>>> different scheme and effect.
>>>>>
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 9:57 PM
>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>>>>
>>>>> Part of John Marks' research into that article included contacting
>>>>> the Cleveland Orchestra's music librarian and archivist. Not
>>>>> surprising to those familiar with George Szell's music and
>>>>> biography, he was an absolute stickler for consistent tuning to
>>>>> A=440.
>>>>>
>>>>> The bigger issue I was surprised and somewhat dismayed to learn
>>>>> details of is EMI's practice of using 3rd generation dub tapes as
>>>>> their master of record for almost everything recorded by Carson
>>>>> Taylor in the U.S. That got me acquiring some copies of the
>>>>> original LPs and I was shocked to hear how much better many of them
>>>>> sound, even compared to late 90s "Recordings of the Century"
>>>>> remasters by Abbey Road. It goes to show that even if you have a
>>>>> good playback and a good digital chain, with skilled engineering,
>>>>> if you have a several-generations dub tape there's only so much
>>>>> fidelity you can get out of it. Plangent would help, but it's still
>>>>> better to get as close to first generation as is practical,
>>>>> particularly with classical music (because the dynamics, pitch and
>>>>> instrument tones are so effected by the slightest aspects of
>>>>> output<>input inherent to all tape dubs).
>>>>>
>>>>> According to what I learned from talking to people with knowledge
>>>>> of EMI Classics' practices (still in effect with Warner Classics),
>>>>> using the 3rd generation tapes is the path of least resistence
>>>>> because Capitol had some way to keep what were Angel master tapes
>>>>> in the US and only send out dubs for UK pressing. Apparently in the
>>>>> cases when a UK crew came over here and made recordings (standard
>>>>> practice after about 1980), then the master tapes were retained in
>>>>> England. In those cases, if the Angel LP was cut at Capitol, it was
>>>>> likely cut from a dub tape, so the UK EMI LP is likely to sound
>>>>> better. Taking it back to the modern era, I still can't get a
>>>>> definitive answer if the Capitol-made EMI classical recordings'
>>>>> tapes are in a vault here, and if they'll ever be used to make a
>>>>> new series of remasters.
>>>>>
>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>
>>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>>> From: "Steve Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 8:51 PM
>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A-440, was speaking of pitch
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>  I can't find the references at the moment, but I gave a paper at a
>>>>>> long-ago
>>>>>>
>>>>> ARSC about this issue.
>>>>>
>>>>>> I'm depending on memory for the dates, but it'll be pretty close.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> The U.S. Navy adopted A-440 in 1916.  The National Bureau
>>>>>> Standards did so
>>>>>>
>>>>> in or about 1918.
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I'm pretty sure that the bands of most or all U.S. Armed Service
>>>>>> bands
>>>>>>
>>>>> that were in training and
>>>>>
>>>>>> later participated in WW I were equipped with A-440 instruments.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> It is my speculation that many older instruments were given by
>>>>>> masters to
>>>>>>
>>>>> servants or found their
>>>>>
>>>>>> way into hock shops, which thus made such instruments available to
>>>>>> poorer
>>>>>>
>>>>> musicians.  I've not
>>>>>
>>>>>> seen any writing about this issue during the formative jazz band
> years.
>>>>>>
>>>>> Those more versed in the
>>>>>
>>>>>> reminiscences of the early layers may have encountered comments
>>>>>> about
>>>>>>
>>>>> adjusting or not adjusting
>>>>>
>>>>>> tunable instruments and, where impractical, living with the sound.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> In the early 1960s I contacted a piano tuner through Steinway, a
>>>>>> fellow
>>>>>>
>>>>> whose responsibilities
>>>>>
>>>>>> included the instruments used by Victor during Caruso's day.  He
>>>>>> told me
>>>>>>
>>>>> that they always tuned
>>>>>
>>>>>> tuned to A= 440.  I believe I included this somewhere in one of my
>>>>>>
>>>>> American Record Guide columns
>>>>>
>>>>>> then as a result.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Each orchestra has a collection of tuning forks, or, at  least,
>>>>>> used to,
>>>>>>
>>>>> and their period of use
>>>>>
>>>>>> is often documented.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> As to older situations, read "The Story of A" by - can't recall
>>>>>> his name.
>>>>>>
>>>>> It carefully explain s
>>>>>
>>>>>> and documents pitch issues over the centuries when a court in
>>>>>> Germany
>>>>>>
>>>>> hired an Italian or French
>>>>>
>>>>>> court composer who then had instruments made for use during his
> tenure.
>>>>>>
>>>>> It also talks about the
>>>>>
>>>>>> issues of different pitches for instrumental and instruments with
>>>>>> vocal
>>>>>>
>>>>> music and organ keyboards
>>>>>
>>>>>> that played in either of two pitches, depending on the type of
> service.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Pitch is also affected by temperature.  The way concert halls are
>>>>>> and were
>>>>>>
>>>>> heated had a direct
>>>>>
>>>>>> effect as well.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> It's really complicated and fascinating.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Steve Smolian
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Original Message-----
>>>>>> From: Tom Fine
>>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 6:12 PM
>>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] speaking of pitch
>>>>>>
>>>>>> http://www.stereophile.com/content/fifth-element-89
>>>>>>
>>>>>> This is a good telling of John Marks' tortured journey on
>>>>>> discovering a
>>>>>>
>>>>> seemingly small but very
>>>>>
>>>>>> audible pitch error.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I did some further reporting with people I know who are very
>>>>>> familiar with
>>>>>>
>>>>> the EMI classical
>>>>>
>>>>>> library. Apparently, the fast-pitched tape from which all digital
>>>>>> media
>>>>>>
>>>>> have been mastered came
>>>>>
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> Capitol USA, and no one can locate the original 2-track master
>>>>>> tape made
>>>>>>
>>>>> by Carson Taylor, from
>>>>>
>>>>>> which the first edition USA albums were mastered.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Now, after all of this consternation, it seems to me that one
>>>>>> could do as
>>>>>>
>>>>> I did -- own the
>>>>>
>>>>>> HDTracks
>>>>>> 96/24 download and then simply apply pitch-correction software to
>>>>>> it. I
>>>>>>
>>>>> couldn't hear any audible
>>>>>
>>>>>> degradation after doing that and, in fact, it sounded better
>>>>>> because it
>>>>>>
>>>>> turns out that once it's
>>>>>
>>>>>> in
>>>>>> A=440 (to which Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra strictly tuned),
>>>>>> the
>>>>>>
>>>>> music relaxes and flows
>>>>>
>>>>>> better, just from that very slight slow-down in tempo.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> My personal opinion is that John Marks' dream of remastering this
>>>>>>
>>>>> recording from the 4-channel
>>>>>
>>>>>> Dynatrack tapes will never happen, but I do hope that Carson
>>>>>> Taylor's
>>>>>>
>>>>> original 2-track master (ie
>>>>>
>>>>>> a
>>>>>> second-generation tape, made directly from the Dyntrack session
>>>>>> tapes)
>>>>>>
>>>>> will be found and this
>>>>>
>>>>>> pitch
>>>>>> error then corrected in all current in-print media.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>
>