Use of dynamics in performance.

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Terpfan
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Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Terpfan » Wed May 01, 2019 2:21 am

It seems my dynamic range is in mezzoforte to fortessimo. It's a habit as young guitarist who want to play fast and loud. I am older now, musically I should change but how much???

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twang
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by twang » Wed May 01, 2019 11:23 am

My own experience:

1) I hear a volume change as being much larger than my audience does, and
2) When I perform I instinctively want to project the sound more which raises the overall level.

Thus, when I practice I try to use as much range as possible.

Usually the dynamic range that sounds too much when I'm playing sounds just right a recording.
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lagartija
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by lagartija » Wed May 01, 2019 11:33 am

Is your guitar traditional or modern? Depends on the venue in which you are performing, too.

Best to have someone whose ears you trust or a good recorder and play from pianissimo to fortissimo in a venue the size where you plan on performing. Then determine and feel what dynamic range works in that space. Then practice phrases of your rep with that in mind.
If your pluck has good core tone and projection, you may have access to more range than you expect and you just have to train yourself to feel the amount of power required a particular level of sound.
To train my touch, I have been using Carcassi #2, playing the repeated notes to pianissimo from the chosen starting point for that chord in the phrase. I use the Carcassi study because I know it well and can carefully listen to the sound production, and the repeated notes take the variation you get from changing strings out of the equation. You could choose any piece that allows you to concentrate on the physical feel to sound production.

It just occurred to me that my teacher told me of another way to monitor out in front of your guitar; wear good headphones plugged into a microphone or recorder that is placed at a distance. I did that with my Zoom H4n and it gave me a good idea how it sounded in front of the guitar.
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Rognvald
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Rognvald » Wed May 01, 2019 1:28 pm

Terpfan wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:21 am
It seems my dynamic range is in mezzoforte to fortessimo. It's a habit as young guitarist who want to play fast and loud. I am older now, musically I should change but how much???

Hi, T,
Age has nothing to do with dynamics. Dynamics are a function of musicality. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Terpfan
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Terpfan » Wed May 01, 2019 3:55 pm

lagartija wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:33 am
Is your guitar traditional or modern? Depends on the venue in which you are performing, too.

Best to have someone whose ears you trust or a good recorder and play from pianissimo to fortissimo in a venue the size where you plan on performing. Then determine and feel what dynamic range works in that space. Then practice phrases of your rep with that in mind.
If your pluck has good core tone and projection, you may have access to more range than you expect and you just have to train yourself to feel the amount of power required a particular level of sound.
To train my touch, I have been using Carcassi #2, playing the repeated notes to pianissimo from the chosen starting point for that chord in the phrase. I use the Carcassi study because I know it well and can carefully listen to the sound production, and the repeated notes take the variation you get from changing strings out of the equation. You could choose any piece that allows you to concentrate on the physical feel to sound production.

It just occurred to me that my teacher told me of another way to monitor out in front of your guitar; wear good headphones plugged into a microphone or recorder that is placed at a distance. I did that with my Zoom H4n and it gave me a good idea how it sounded in front of the guitar.
I have a traditional guitar, in fact I have never heard played or listen to modern guitar in person. However my guitar had good projection. Many people commented how loud my guitar at a Barrueco masterclass decades ago. The thing is my guitar sound very different when I am behind playing and if I was in front of it. When I practice front of a wall, the general sound is different, not just loud.

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lagartija
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by lagartija » Wed May 01, 2019 11:13 pm

Yes, a lot of guitars sound different when you compare the player’s envelope to what is heard in the audience some rows back.

Use headphones to monitor the sound out front. Learn what it feels like to get a particular sound by monitoring at some distance away.

Some guitars have a soundport to sample the sound when behind the guitar. I’ve never played a guitar with one, so I used my Zoom H4n recorder about 10 feet away wearing good headphones. I didn’t have a longer cord to get further.
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Kl3tz
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Kl3tz » Wed May 01, 2019 11:33 pm

I've found too, that when recording, the dynamic range seems too large when playing, but comes out less prominent and more subdued on the recording. This is before applying compression to the track. What does translate directly, and is preserved, is how the musical expression increases.
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jaan
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by jaan » Fri May 03, 2019 5:47 pm

The answer seems to me just that you need to exaggerate on the piano end of the dynamic scale. Dynamic range always seems much greater to the player than to the audience. You need to do a lot more for the variation to be clear.

Another way to think about it. Soft playing still carries beautifully in a hall; imagine making your audience lean toward you because they want to catch every detail of quiet playing. Inhabit that dynamic level; it's empowering, and you can make some beautiful sounds, shapes, and phrases when you use a true piano, pianissimo, etc.
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Tonit
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Tonit » Fri May 03, 2019 6:47 pm

I think there are two kinds of loudness.
One is what I call perceived loudness, and it is just too harsh when overdone so we could introduce just right amount of it. We all know that our sound becomes brighter and more strident when we pluck closer to our bridge. I think this has alot to do with our perceived loudness, and we can hear it "loud", and further obnoxiously "too loud" when we get too close to bridge. So we subconsciously introduce this one just at the point where the change in guitar tone is subtle enough, or gradual and acceptable enough. This loudness could be achieved with relatively less additional labor, and when recording, it would not appear anywhere on the VU meter except for sharper attack.

The other one is simply actual loudness when we apply more energy that results in more VU. And it is more relative to the fullness of the produced sound across the entire spectrum, and will never be perceived as "too loud" how much ever we try to squeeze this out unless the strings hit the frets when it is finally too loud.

I see the loudness we deliver are combination of the two. The perceived loudness is more percussive and reaches further, while the fullness decays as we get farther away from the guitar. Of course the acoustics would also contribute to how acceptably loud the perceivable loudness may be.

This is something I feel everytime I listen to the other guitarists. I don't know how well I myself am controlling these and playing how I could comfortably listen to myself from my own listening point, except that, I sometimes direct my right ear very close to the sound hole, especially when I play flamenco. And I think I use more of the perceivable loudness when I play cedar tops than spruce tops.

Being nothing relative to our different ages, still hopefully I could better learn how to control these as I get older.

Just to share my thoughts on loudness.

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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Luis_Br » Sat May 04, 2019 1:02 pm

Tonit wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 6:47 pm
I think there are two kinds of loudness.
Yes, it is a bit complex. We perceive higher frequencies as louder than lower frequencies. It is important to notice that at a distance higher frequencies decay faster than lower ones and the tone quality from a distance in a theater is different from near and behind the guitar: enter the concept of sound projection.

I recommend John Taylor's book "Tone Production on the Classical Guitar". He discusses those issues in details, including numbers and physical explanations.

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Larry McDonald » Sat May 04, 2019 2:29 pm

Hi,
I usually accompany volume changes with slight changes in timbre. For instance, if I want a section quieter, I move my hand a bit closer to the fret-board, which quiets the higher harmonics more than the fundamental. Like others have said, it depends on the room.

My teacher (who was a judge for the GFA) said we only have two dynamics in concert halls, loud and louder. But I think I have better projection with my newer Michael Thames guitars than my older instruments, and I can put a warm mezzo piano with a rest-stroke in the back row of most rooms.

All the best,
Lare
PS. Studio recording is another matter since the mic is in the place of the audience, and we can play pianissimo. Putting a mic several rows back in a concert hall and using headphones is a great idea, and new to me. Bravo.
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Tonit
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Tonit » Sat May 04, 2019 4:34 pm

Luis_Br wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 1:02 pm
Tonit wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 6:47 pm
I think there are two kinds of loudness.
Yes, it is a bit complex. We perceive higher frequencies as louder than lower frequencies. It is important to notice that at a distance higher frequencies decay faster than lower ones and the tone quality from a distance in a theater is different from near and behind the guitar: enter the concept of sound projection.

I recommend John Taylor's book "Tone Production on the Classical Guitar". He discusses those issues in details, including numbers and physical explanations.
Right. I recommend that also before experimenting by ourselves.

SteveL123
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by SteveL123 » Sat May 04, 2019 5:30 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 2:29 pm
(.....................)

Putting a mic several rows back in a concert hall and using headphones is a great idea, and new to me. Bravo.
I wonder how useful that is? Mics, amplifiers and headphones each have their own unique characteristics. Mic's have different pickup patterns and sensitivities. Amplifiers have volume and tone controls. Headphones have different sensitivities and frequency response. The system of mic, amp and headphones has to be calibrated to human hearing. How do you do that without sophisticated instruments and the technical expertise to do the calibration?

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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by Tonit » Sat May 04, 2019 6:27 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:30 pm
Larry McDonald wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 2:29 pm
(.....................)

Putting a mic several rows back in a concert hall and using headphones is a great idea, and new to me. Bravo.
I wonder how useful that is? Mics, amplifiers and headphones each have their own unique characteristics. Mic's have different pickup patterns and sensitivities. Amplifiers have volume and tone controls. Headphones have different sensitivities and frequency response. The system of mic, amp and headphones has to be calibrated to human hearing. How do you do that without sophisticated instruments and the technical expertise to do the calibration?
Maybe it helps when we compare that with different microphone placements, like a foot, 2fts, 4fts to see how it changes, using the same mic, amp, and headphones. It might not give us the exact answer but we can see how they change more clearly. Or, we can have someone play our guitar for us to listen, which may be handier.

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lagartija
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Re: Use of dynamics in performance.

Post by lagartija » Sat May 04, 2019 10:46 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:30 pm
Larry McDonald wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 2:29 pm
(.....................)

Putting a mic several rows back in a concert hall and using headphones is a great idea, and new to me. Bravo.
I wonder how useful that is? Mics, amplifiers and headphones each have their own unique characteristics. Mic's have different pickup patterns and sensitivities. Amplifiers have volume and tone controls. Headphones have different sensitivities and frequency response. The system of mic, amp and headphones has to be calibrated to human hearing. How do you do that without sophisticated instruments and the technical expertise to do the calibration?
I used a recorder’s (Zoom H4n) amplifier that was known to me; as well as my usual set of headphones. I know how my guitar sounds with that setup with the recorder 5ft away and how it compares with what I hear from behind the guitar. When I put it farther from my usual placement and the input level is set the same, then I can compare how my use of dynamics comes across at the greater distance away.
Is it rigorously done? No, of course not. It does give an indication, though. Then I can experiment with the sound I get and somaticize the feeling in my fingers it took to get that sound. It is a training method, that’s all.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
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