Cyber Beethoven Mozart & Vivaldi
CYBER MUSIC MIDI AND SAMPLING In order to specify a note, in the scientific sense, four things are needed. First is the pitch. Second the volume or loudness. Third is the length of the note. These three properties are called the MIDI data. The size of the file for the midi data is small, only a few kilobytes. Fourth is the timbre or tone of the note. Technically speaking, this property of the note is the combination of the overtones unique to the instrument. Our ears hear quite different tones when we hear an oboe and a violin even though they may be playing the same note. The file needed to assign timbre to a note is very large indeed. It is measured in megabytes. A SHORT HISTORY OF SAMPLING In the 60's RCA Victor was studying the question of whether an electronic circuit could be made to generate the overtones needed to make a pure sine wave input come out sounding like an oboe. The goal was to synthesize the sounds of the orchestral instruments. Where did this lead? Today we have the electronic piano which can be switched from piano tones to others like violin sounds. The piano is passable but not so the violin. Stradivari it is not. Enter the computer. With the computer and digital signal processing comes a new way to look at the question. The solution is this: use a real oboe. Have an oboist play a note like A-440 and record the sound as a digital WAV file on the computer. When the midi sequence comes to the place where it requires an oboe to play A-440, have the computer play the recorded oboe. Have the oboist play each note in the range of his instrument and record these SAMPLES on the computer. Do this for all the orchestral instruments. Now type the midi data sequence needed to play Beethoven's 5th symphony into the computer and run the sequence through the sampler and - out comes cyber music - a performance produced on the computer. A performance where one person, call him the sequencer, alone is responsible for the tempo, the dynamics, the rubato, the timbre and all the rest. Literally, one person can perform Beethoven's symphony on the computer. WHY? The disadvantage of a traditional live recording is the reverberation in the concert hall. The sound reaching your ear in the audience comes both from the instrument that made it but also from reflections off the walls and other surfaces. The reflections arrive at your ear late because the path traveled is longer. The resulting sound is muddy, garbled, not clear. Did Beethoven have clear music in his head when he was composing - or reverberations? I think the answer is clear. Complicated pieces (Prokofiev) can never be clearly heard in live performance. Too much is going on all at the same time. PRODUCTION NOTES The music on this CD was produced on the computer. There is no orchestra, no players, no conductor, no concert hall. There is only the sequencer with the composer's score. To hear more cyber music go to download.com/Cyberchambermusic. ABOUT THIS CD Music stirs our emotions. But it can also stimulate the intellect. Vivaldi's Baroque era is the first example. It was common then to have the violin imitate bird calls. We would expect bird songs in the summer. We would also expect a lazy afternoon siesta to be troubled by bothersome flies and a deluge from a thunderstorm. Vivaldi achieves these effects with only a string orchestra of three violins (solo, 1st and 2nd), viola, cello and contra bass (here substuting for the continuo). The performance must be light and airy so all the subtile parts can be heard. After the Baroque era comes the Classical Period of Mozart. Mozart's music is close to nature and has strong intellectual content. What Mozart adds is charm and grace. He also begins to see the emotional possibilities of music. His flute quartet for flute, violin, viola and cello contains all these elements in abundance. It needs a virtuoso performance though to get all the intricate parts heard. After the Classical comes Beethoven and the Romantic Period. Beethoven was a great lover of nature and his music reflects this. Beethoven's contribution was his discovery of the the emotional power of music which we today take for granted. His 10th quartet (1st and 2nd violins, viola and cello) is full of dramatic emotional changes. But Beethoven was also a powerful musical intellect. He uses the inovation of plucked strings extensively in the first movement to carry the theme. Hence the name 'harp'. He begins to see the work as a whole with the third movement serving as a transition into the fourth. Later in his C#minor quartet he will mostly abandon movements altogether in favor of the organic whole. Whatever role nature and romance play, Beethoven's Harp Quartet is also a wonderful intellectual musical experience. The intellectual aspect of music is promanent in Cyberchambermusic's computer performances.