[LAU] [Music] Synthetic Air on a B-Thing

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Tue Oct 11 03:45:13 CEST 2022

Christopher Arndt <chris at chrisarndt.de> writes:

> Am 11.10.22 um 01:12 schrieb David Kastrup:
>> First, thanks for _not_ using the "Air on a G string" compaction
> I think magic of the piece is its fugue-ness, so it was a deliberate choice.
> The title comes from the (probably silly) desire to include some kind
> of pun on the Behringer name :)
> For the rest you're hitting exactly on the points I'm also not 100%
> pleased with.
>> For me, that distracts from the measured solemnity of the piece and
>> makes it swim about the bass part.
> The (maybe) over-use of portamento on most patches for the upper three
> voices is due to the monophonic nature of the synth. It allows to play
> it with a sort of legato feel, while still having a re-triggering
> envelope, which is needed to give each note some shape and not have
> the third, forth, etc. note in a legato line degrade into basically a
> sine-wave, due to the filter being too closed. If the portamento time
> is too short, the retriggering of the envelopes will be too obvious
> and it will not sound like a string or woodwind instrument anymore,
> but like some kind of keys instrument.

Well, as I said: the main problem for me is not the portamento as such
(which is a style choice) but the perceived lack of consistency about
when it starts and particularly when it settles in this performance.

As an analogy, when watching Slow Fox competitions, it can be puzzling
to figure out the relation between the music and the dancers' movements
(it's not the start or end of a step that is on the beat but the moment
where the feet pass), but there is a relation and a feeling of
consistency even if you cannot put your finger on it, and you can lean
into that feeling.  I don't get a dependent hang of such a relation from
this rendition.

>> For this particular recording, I find that you have much too much of a
>> pause between first and second halve
> Yes, I'm conscious that this a rather long pause and I thought about
> halving it, but then decided to leave it like that, because I like the
> second half of the composition a lot better and wanted to have it
> "stand on its own".

But it does not start with a starting harmony.  It feels like starting a
chapter with "But".

>> Then there is some rather large slowdown [...] that does not seem to
>> serve any purpose.
> That is the point were the build up to the crescendo begins, and to me
> marks a definite division in the second part. Maybe it was done a bit
> clumsily, I agree.

Why would you slow down in a buildup?

>> Apropos: what happened to the second repetition of the second part?
> I felt that the piece was already long enough and extending it to >5
> minutes would wear out most casual listeners.

Well, if you don't announce its end prematurely 3 times by a large
fermata, they might not be disappointed by its continuation...

> If I had chosen a faster tempo, I would have probably kept it.

I don't think that the basic underlying pace I picked with my sister's
wedding congregation was significantly faster.  And it's one occasion
where few people dare to throw rotten tomatoes.

> Also, it meant that I had to track 12 bars times 15 voices less and I
> was already late in finishing the piece ;)

15 voices?  How did you put them together from 4 in the score?

>> Of course it is easy for me to complain
> And I'm aware that with these re-interpretations of famous pieces you
> are always faced with one of the following:
> - If you stick close to the original, as a I did, you will be measured
>   against beloved performances from the past and the perception that
>   people have how this piece "should" sound.

Uh, you are pontificating to someone who has played this on accordion.
Soundwise your rendition is closer to strings than mine.

> - If you radically change aspects of the piece (instrumentation,
>   rhythm, style etc.), you probably loose half of the audience from
>  the start.
> ;-)

If you create something self-consistent and compelling, they'll stick

Here is a rendition on glissando synth
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFaMyB_CZGw> I can get to better grips
with.  Now I consider it likely that it's a mechanical performance or at
least done to a metronome click track due to the overconsistent speed
(it's almost cut off at the end).  Still, overall it works for me and
doesn't have the same kind of feeling of the melody line swimming around
the bass.

David Kastrup

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