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non ce futuro

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Seems to me that one of the biggest goals of every musician (here in this forum and I guess elsewhere) when trying to make some good music is to achieve the best sound possible. Hence the number of posts regarding the sound on the keyboards, the amps, the leslie emulations and so on. But don't you have the feeling that we're the only ones that actually care about sounding good?

 

Why am I pissed off about this now?

 

The other day I had a gig at a small theatre, was a benefit show for a big organization of blind people here. There were a series of concerts in different theatres covering many styles. So, we signed for this gig and the good news were they had a Steinway grand there, so I was able to go there with my hands on my pockets, play with the trio and leave. Cool. Not carrying around gear and a good sounding grand to play (nice, that's unusual here!). Seemed it was going to be a great, relaxed gig, with the audience quiet, enjoying music, and applause at the end of each tune.

 

The "audio engineer" told us he was going to mic everything, so he can have some sound through the PA system to "fatten" us and the sound can reach the further rows of seats, and we said "ok". Then he placed 5 crappy mics, 1 on the piano (!), 1 on the acoustic bass and 3 on the drums.

That started to piss me off, as we could have brought our good mics and our own tech if advised (our fault, I know). We hoped that there was no need to have a lot of sound coming through the PA as the venue was small enough to keep the "live" sounds of the instruments. Anyway we did the check and it all sounded pretty good, amazingly. Warm piano, cool defined bass, and a bit of punch on the bassdrum and snare.

 

So we played the gig, and on one tune I had a friend of mine as guest playing one tune at the piano, so I was able to step down the stage. I went to the end of the place to check how the sound was going, and I was REALLY pissed off. The great Steinway grand was sounding like a 1995 piece of s**t keyboard, the bass was way too high eq'ed and drums were incredibly noisy on the mix. Seems that the engineer did some experimenting after we started playing. I gave him a killer look, went to his side and very politely give him some "suggestions" (and I was really polite, I hate to tell anyone's how things should be done). The guy was cool and open, so he really take some of my advice and the sound improved a little (not much time to give advice though, as I had to go back to stage for the next tune).

 

We had fun playing the gig as the sound on stage was cool, and was a good money.

 

But what really sadden me more than everything, is that at the end of the gig, some people from the audience came to us to say:: "how good you sounded", "how great the Steinway sounded".

No, it doesn't. It could have been a great sounding gig, but it wasn't. But nobody seemed to notice or care.

 

I felt bad because we always put so much effort on our sound, how everything has to sound good enough, just to discover that nobody but us seem to worry about it. Is that really the outcome of our struggle? That reminded me that thread about the younger people using iphone speakers to listen to music. How could this people care about good sound when they're used to listen to music with that negligible quality?

 

Sorry for the long read, I just needed to let it go outside :)

Actually I try to sound good and make good music for myself, and because I want to do my job and/or passion the best I can. But sometimes it's somewhat discouraging to find out nobody else appreciate that.

 

have a great weekend folks!

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It's common everywhere! It's funny we talk about gear all the time and the benefits of this and that VST or hardware piece of gear, and then a bad sound man spoils everything with a vengeance!

BTW Spanish sound men are funny! They hardly speak a word of English. I had so many hard times trying to explain what i wanted during concerts there, until i finally learned some spanish :)

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Every time I hear people playing my gear, including my acoustic piano, they sound better than me. :idk:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Every time I hear people playing my gear, including my acoustic piano, they sound better than me. :idk:

 

I never fail to be impressed at how good my rig sounds when I'm in the audience and someone else is playing it (playing not withstanding).

 

Even with good stage monitoring, when that speaker is within a few feet of me, the sound just can't develop properly the way it can by the time it reaches the audience. Many of us using a powered speaker (QSC, EV, JBL, Mackie, etc) sometimes forget that those are longer throw than we typically need in a speaker that can often sit one meter away (and sound good), but sound great at 10 meters.

 

Of course, this is only the case when the rig is not going through FOH and you toss a bad soundman into the mix. Then all bets are off.

 

I'm also amazed at hearing some audience members go on about how good something sounds, when I thought it sounded like "a warm, stinking pile." When that happens, I just smile and politely say "thank you."

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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But don't you have the feeling that we're the only ones that actually care about sounding good?

 

Basically, that's the size of it. At the risk of being contentious, the general music-listening public aren't the least bit aware of sound quality, nor (in my experience) do they care tuppence about it. They are simply listening to the music, and as long as they can hear it clearly enough to distinguish it, that's all they really want. Awareness of sound quality is perhaps more of an intellectual concern amongst those who are involved in making music - it's part of our job, while people listening to music are simply being moved by the emotion that the music itself conveys. In short, it's only a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. - W. C. Fields

 

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I played the organ at a wedding a week ago and during the signing of the certificates I accompanied a young girl singing with a grand piano. The sound tech at the church did use a mic for her and I am curious how it sounded through the speakers since I could hear her from the piano and it sounded amazing. I am not so sure how well she sounded from the rest of the auditorium. I did mention to the sound tech beforehand not to mic her too much.
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Every time I hear people playing my gear, including my acoustic piano, they sound better than me. :idk:

 

Painfully true. It's one of those secret fears that Dares Not Speak Its Name.

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. - W. C. Fields

 

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Every time I hear people playing my gear, including my acoustic piano, they sound better than me. :idk:

 

lol...I think 1 of the problems nowadays w/sound guys, is that they know more about doing sound "electrically", in other words not used to dealing w/how to properly mike and get a good sound from actual acoustic instruments. When Im on a show or gig, n the soundman/men are good, I buy them lunch, lend them my car, give them my seestors phone#..

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Good sound men are even rarer than good drummers... also, like musicians, sound men tend to specialize in one genre of music, and apply those rules to all situations. Urgh!

 

A few considerations about language: Personally, speaking my own brand of Italianish, I have no problem to get understood by Spaniards. But it's true that in Spain, people are a bit lazy with foreign languages.... even a bit more than Italians, and that is saying a lot. :D

Of course Non C'è Futuro represents one of the exceptions, as he writes great English (to my understanding at least).

 

Also, I invite my American friends to reflect on the fact that for us Latin types, the sound of English is quite... well, foreign. All those vocals *changing* their sound over time, like an envelope generator controlling a formant filter... to us, a vocal is usually a steady sound from beginning to end (unless there are two consecutive vocals, of course).

 

Americans, while being rather picky about English pronounce, are themselves a bit lazy with learning foreign languages... well, they aren't forced to. :)

In Northern Europe, *everybody* speaks another couple of languages other than their own, often more. The Dutch, in particular, are pretty amazing. If you only speak English, or German, or even French, you can get understood in most of the Netherlands. Wow.

 

 

 

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:)

Is my english really understandable? :) thanx Marino!

 

And yes, english pronunciation is a bit awkward for latins. In spanish we have 5 vocals, and they always sound the same (guess in italian it's the same). That amazes my dutch family and my working colleagues from all europe!

But we have two different verbs for the verb "to be". That's a tricky one for non-latin speakers. :)

 

Anyway, I guess polish or czech are even more difficult to pronounce though. :) And german is tough to learn too!

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:)

Is my english really understandable? :) thanx Marino!

To me, yes, but - I'm Italian! :D

 

What's funny is, I've spent the first few years on the forum apologizing for my bad English... and my *spoken* English has accumulated so much rust over the years, that last time I went to the USA, I had serious problems.

 

What's even more funny is that whan I speak English with those Northern Europe people I was talking about, I usually nderstand much better than when talking with American or Brits. :freak:

 

 

 

 

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:)

Is my english really understandable? :) thanx Marino!

To me, yes, but - I'm Italian! :D

 

What's funny is, I've spent the first few years on the forum apologizing for my bad English... and my *spoken* English has accumulated so much rust over the years, that last time I went to the USA, I had serious problems.

 

What's even more funny is that whan I speak English with those Northern Europe people I was talking about, I usually nderstand much better than when talking with American or Brits. :freak:

 

 

 

 

it's funny, but my english is much more american... my first teacher was a greek american from Ohio (but i didn't know he was half Greek, so it was all about english with him). I work with Americans in a band i play and their accent and slang is not unfamiliar to me. After two or three days with them become fluent again. On the contrary, i've got a problem with Scottish and Irish accent. When i first got to Endibourgh i couldn't understand a word (i still can't). I still love the Oxfordian english though!

On the other hand, despite that greek language is not latin based, i understand italians and spaniards and can read a newspaper there - maybe 'cause i speak good french. But also 'cause the latin accent is not strange to me, with all those open "aaaahs" and "oooohs"

But i think we got OF here :snax:

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Also, I invite my American friends to reflect on the fact that for us Latin types, the sound of English is quite... well, foreign. All those vocals *changing* their sound over time, like an envelope generator controlling a formant filter... to us, a vocal is usually a steady sound from beginning to end (unless there are two consecutive vocals, of course).
Could you explain this to me? I'm not sure what you mean. Vocals? Do you mean vowels, or something else?

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Hi Joe, I guess that was vowels, yeah :) Doesn't seem strange to me (in spanish is "vocales") but the correct word is vowels...

Unless Marino wanted to express something completely different from what I understood! :)

 

see what we mean regarding the language? :D

Yeah, really!

 

I never thought about our vowels like that. I'll have to listen for that difference.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I'm curious about that too, vowels that change their sound over time. I don't think of that as common to "standard" English pronunciation, though there are regional variations (i.e. the southern drawl that can turn one syllable words into two).

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Americans, while being rather picky about English pronounce, are themselves a bit lazy with learning foreign languages... well, they aren't forced to. :)

 

This is a myth, and one I wish would really die since it's so old can be proven wrong so easily.

 

I personally speak /read /write 4 languages. English, Italian (Which my parents speak), Chinese (which I have a degree in from College) and Greek, which I've been studying for 2 years at a Greek Orthodox church near my house.

 

I also know many other Americans, especially musicians who speak multiple languages. In fact I did a gig tonight with an American sax player who is fluent in Finnish and Hindi in addition to English.

 

I've been told musicians can learn languages easily because we have good ears to get the nuances of sound and also good memories from constantly learning music. Almost every musician I work with here speaks at least two languages and usually three or more.

 

My fiancée who is a professional flutist, speaks French, German and Korean in addition to English. She's also American, from Illinois.

 

Regards,

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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I think the biggest difference between latin and anglosaxon languages regarding the vowels is that in latin languages we have 5 or 6 basic vowel sound, and they're always the same, no matter what combination of vowels we make or the word they're in.

 

For example, our "i" is pronounced like english "e" (like in "be"). And no matter how's the word or syllable it is in, it's always the same sound. For a spanish is weird to find out that the vowel sound on "hid" and "first" is pretty different. While the first "i" is similar to ours, the second one is not.

That's why spanish people use to find difficult to differentiate the pronunciation of "shit" and "sheet", which use to be very funny on the english classes at school :) One vowel sound is similar to our "i", but the other is a new sound for us.

 

In spanish the vowel sounds are always the same, and always as written. The vowels' sound is the same in "amor" (love) and "jamón" (ham). Same "a" and same "o" sounds. Guess it's the same in italian -far as I know!-. Same "i" sound in "chiesa" (church) and in "raggazzi" (girls). So if you can read spanish, you'll never make a mistake with the pronunciation (with a very few exceptions).

 

For us it's very weird that the same group of vowels are pronounced differently when they're within different words (like in english "hood" and "blood"), as spanish, italian, portuguese and greek sound always as written (my greek and italian friends, correct me if I'm wrong, please!).

 

I don't even know if this explanation is understandable!! :D

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I'm curious about that too, vowels that change their sound over time. I don't think of that as common to "standard" English pronunciation.

Eh, I imagine that one doesn't even think about it... but when confronted for the first time with a simple word like "life", for example, an Italian or Spanish goes, "what? The "i" is really two different sounds changing over time, and the "e" is not pronounced at all?!" :freak::)

 

Americans, while being rather picky about English pronounce, are themselves a bit lazy with learning foreign languages... well, they aren't forced to. :)

This is a myth, and one I wish would really die since it's so old can be proven wrong so easily.

Well, I based what I said on my personal experience, but hey, I'd be very glad to be proved wrong in this case. :)

 

Non c'è futuro: Even though it's not what I meant, your explanation makes perfect sense to me. The general concept here is that Latin languages (and Greek too, for the little I know) have a more strict/literal corrispondance between written words and how they sound than English.

 

Now, if you have the time for a couple of lessons about how you pronounce the "jota"... :D

 

 

 

 

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Now, if you have the time for a couple of lessons about how you pronounce the "jota"... :D

 

:D

Marino, my name is Sergio! (the "G" being a strong "G" =jota, in spanish), so almost none of my international friends are able to pronounce it well (and they try really hard!). I always tell them that the italian pronunciation is ok for my name :)

But the "J" sound lesson would be: you know when you want to spit really heavily, and you acumulate saliva by roaring with the upper part of your throat...? That's the J sound!! :D

 

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I'm curious about that too, vowels that change their sound over time. I don't think of that as common to "standard" English pronunciation.

Eh, I imagine that one doesn't even think about it... but when confronted for the first time with a simple word like "life", for example, an Italian or Spanish goes, "what? The "i" is really two different sounds changing over time

Thanks for the example. Yup, I never thought about it, but if considered in slow motion, I can see that the i in "life" is an AH sound which morphs to the EE sound.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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