Homework: listen, survey, comment

This must be complete by Thursday morning at 10 a.m

You will listen to the following four recordings (2 songs, each in two versions), then choose which you think is ‘best’ via the surveymonkey link, and finally comment as to why you chose the A or B versions of each song.

You’ll hear more about this in class on Thursday.

Listen to the files (mp3 files on my directory):
(please do not save these, they are for listening to from the server for class purposes only!)
Follow this link, and login with your Netfiles UIUC ID (same as CITES email):

Survey Link
Please listen closely, preferably more than one time, before deciding, and once this survey is complete, be sure to comment:

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32 Comments on “Homework: listen, survey, comment”

  1. glenn e Says:

    I voted for song A for number one because B sounds really cold, tinny and far away. The production quality really does the performance a disservice. A has a more real and lively quality, whereas B sounds small and canned.

    I voted the same way for number 2 for the same reasons.

  2. theresas Says:

    I agree with Glenn. I voted for A in both cases because these performances actually sounded live in a good performance hall. The B recording for both of them was just a little too dry, and I did not like the lack of resonance. A had a nice quality because it sounded more rich and full than the B recording.

  3. Erin Kimberlee Says:

    I voted for song A because to me it seemed like it had more of a consistent tempo. That is important to me, as a listener. Though, neither Teresa or Glenn said anything about tempo, so I could be crazy! I do agree that the first one sounds like a better quality recording, though my speakers aren’t good to begin with.

    I felt that ‘B’ in number two sounded fuller than A! So I voted for it. Other than that, I didn’t notice much of a difference.

    Again, this is probably a result of my speakers!

    -Erin 🙂

  4. Emily D Says:

    Like the two before me, I voted for Artist A in both cases. I felt as though I might have been in the hall with the performer in these two recordings, as opposed to far away, or perhaps behind a wall of Plexiglas listening to the performance like I did with Artist B. Not sure what makes the difference, but it’s noticeable.

  5. Andrew Says:

    In the first one, I voted for B. I feel that both of these were performed in a similar style, but while A is a bit cleaner sounding, it seems that some of it was synthesized. Not the performance, rather the acoustics. Artist B sounds as though the listener is sitting in a large concert hall with sound reverberating off of every surface. The sound is uniform yet random at times from the different locations it is being heard from. Artist A sounds as though it was recorded in a smaller hall or room with little to no reverb or that it was added later as an after effect. It is also possible that the microphones were just closer to the instrument. This would account for the cleaner sounds and ease of listening. I enjoy the “dirtier” more random sounds of a live performance as opposed to a studio recording enhanced for my listening so in this case, B wins.

    For the second piece, it seems as though B is the one with the microphones placed closer. So in this I feel that A gets my vote for similar reasons posed from the first piece. To me, the song resonates more naturally. I feel the music for both of these was made with the ability to hear individual note strikes in mind but also being able to hear how the notes come together to form one uniform sound. So naturally I lean toward the pieces that are allowed to resonate in a natural environment and let the ear distinguish between each not and the passage as a whole.

  6. Sara G. Says:

    In both instances, I voted for B. To me, A seemed too artificial an inorganic. I felt like I was standing right next to the piano. Which some people might enjoy, however I prefer a performance where the sound reverberates off of the walls. B seemed more organic, and it truly felt like sitting in a concert hall. I suspect that both sets of recordings have been manipulated in some way, splicing, microphone placement, reverb, compression, etc. I felt that A seemed cold, and some of the notes to me stuck out and had an artificial tinny sound.

  7. Emily D Says:

    I voted for B for both songs. With the first one, while A sounded perhaps more realistic, I thought the bass was more blended in B, and less jarring when the performer played low passages.
    n the second I simply felt B had a longer reverb when there was silence after notes, adding to the sort of ethereal quality of the piece.

  8. kditsch Says:

    For the first song, I chose the A version. I felt that this version of the song was more consistent with tempo and it was easy to see where the piece was leading. It also gave me a better sense of the different musical phrases and ideas were.
    The second song, I chose the B version for many of the same reasons. I felt that it was easier for the listener to follow and create their own ideas of the piece. It also had a consistent tempo that was easy to listen to.

  9. mcowen2 Says:

    I voted A for the first version because it sounded more full and sounded very classical for a piano piece, because the seconded one had some changed notes that i felt it made it uneasy. And for the second one I voted for B because for mainly the same reasons, i felt as if B was steady and the sound was also better for the second version of the song. It was easier to listen to B because I could hear the melody clearly.

  10. katieh Says:

    I voted A for song 1, because it sounded fuller and richer, and a little brighter. I liked the darkness of the 2nd recording, but it didn’t sound as pleasing to me.
    I chose B for the 2nd song, because right away it caught my attention. It stopped me in my tracks–so beautiful. The sound was much more resonant, probably because of the concert hall it was played in.

  11. lpence2 Says:

    I preferred B for both of the songs. Both A’s seemed to choppy and both of the B’s were much smoother and more flowing. They were a lot more pleasing to the ear and relaxing because of it.

  12. eskayve Says:

    I chose B for the first one because I felt as if it was performed better. The pianist built up to climaxes better and played them louder. The phrasing also seemed a little more moving, possibly because of the dynamics. I also liked the tone on it better. For the 2nd example, I chose A but I liked both of them about the same. They had similar tones and phrasing. A seemed to flow a little better throughout the piece, although I liked the opening better for B.

  13. Batman Says:

    I chose B for both songs. In the first piece, version B was faster, but it also seemed cleaner. Version A was still really good, but it felt way to slow and choppy after hearing version B. I think version B in song 2 is slower then version A, but I think it has much more motion in it. I feel like there is a real cool push/pull going on with the tempo, and this makes it much more enjoyable to listen to.

  14. Ben K Says:

    I voted B for both pieces. I recognized the first one as the C major Etude, and while both sounded pretty similar, I thought B had a little more weight to it. The same goes with the second piece. I thought that while both were very similar, B had more weight to it, and more depth, I guess.

  15. mike k Says:

    I voted for version A in song 1 because I felt it had better sound quality. I heard a couple accidental clicks while listening to version B both times.

    However I voted for version B in song 2…I don’t know why, I just found it mesmerizing. I was really brought into the music while listening, I felt like I was in a concert hall.

  16. Eric Swanson Says:

    I enjoyed Aritst B’s work a little more than that of Aritst A. I liked his song A more because I could hear all of the notes in the fast runs and I could really hear where the musical line was going at all times. Song B was better because the artist made all the notes heard without sacrificing sonority from the piano.

  17. NatDoug Says:

    I chose Artist B in both cases. I really enjoyed the aggressive and energetic qualities of their performance of song 1. It was more exciting, I felt, than artist A’s recording, with greater contrasts and sense of drama.

    Artist B’s recording of song 2 sounded more like music and less like a barrage of fast passages than Artist A. This is clearly a very virtuosic piece with lots of notes, and I felt like Artist B gave used more musical structuring and phrasing than Artist B.

  18. emilyjayne Says:

    i chose artist a for the first recording and artist b for the second recording, based solely on recording quality. artist a had a much crisper sound to it on the first song. both recordings of the second song were muffled and not pleasant to listen to. i’m sure the piece is really lovely in person – but… too much straining and turning up of speakers for my taste.

  19. Colby C Says:

    I am extremely skeptical as to whether these recordings are by different performers or not.

    Song 1 is the Godowsky “Studies on Chopin Etudes” No. 1 in C Major (Ian Hobson’s multiple takes?!?!) Song 1 version A sounds remastered and polished (version released on Ian’s CD) over what sounds like a more raw/rehearsal/alternate audio track in version B.

    Song 2, however, is seemingly the reverse — version A sounds like raw audio and B sounds more remastered. Also I would venture to guess a scenario of multiple takes by the same performer for this example as well.

    Although it is not really fair to vote which is “better,” I selected A for Song 1 (Godowsky), and B for Song 2 in the survey.

  20. Marie R Says:

    I chose A for both of the recordings. Artist A for the first example had a cleaner sound and the tempo was more even. For the second one I chose Artist A again because it sounded more natural.

  21. Melissa S Says:

    I voted for song A in both cases, I felt that with song A, they were more realistic sounding as if you were actually there. Also the tempo seemed very steady in the first song. With the second song I felt song A sounded like you were actually there as opposed to listening to a recording compared to song B.

  22. Lauren S Says:

    I voted for song B in the first case. I felt that song A was too perfect, like all the mistakes were fixed by a computer, or not even played by an actual musician. I thought that even though the second example wasn’t as perfect as the first example, it was more musical and had more energy throughout the piece. I voted for example B in the second case also for the same reason. The tempo was a little slower and it was just overall more pleasing to listen to. I felt that I could connect with it more and it the musician put more emotion into playing.

  23. hornplaya88 Says:

    For the first recording I voted for Artist A. Overall, I think that B might have been played more musically, but I just couldn’t get over the sound quality of the recording. Artist A’s recording was much fuller.

    For the second recording I voted for Artist B. I feel like this recording had a lot more color and feeling to it.

  24. travismarkley Says:

    I voted for B in the first song because it sounded less perfect and like the person playing was really putting their sould into the piece. A just sounded like someone really good sat down and didnt really enjoy it.

    For the second song I voted for A. It sounded like the same two performers. It just sounded like they switched from B to A or vice versa. I guess I am biased to the one I chose.

  25. jschwar7 Says:

    For the first song I would have, if the survey page wasn’t down, voted for B without a doubt for the first song, because I liked the style of their playing. The way that he/she played the song just made me know how the song was suppose to go.

    As for song two I would have voted for A because of the same reason. I liked the tempo they chose for the piece. More feeling was put into this piece as well I thought. Especially the ending with a very defined ending. Bravo!

  26. Jenny Says:

    Song 1: I voted for B because, in a nutshell, it was cleaner. The player had a concept of the chord changes and timing, where as the first one sounded like slamming down random keys at times. I like their style…they had a good grasp on the technical aspects and were therefore able to be more expressive.

    Song 2: I voted for song B, but it was a close call. They were both very well played and I enjoyed each. I finally decided on B because it was more expressive than the first, much more rubato and liberty taken with it. I found myself moving with the phrases more rather than thinking “ah, sounds like they’re playing it right”

    ps-Sorry I forgot it was due this morning…CRAZY week…I’m sure everyone can relate 😛

  27. oliver3 Says:

    I think both songs are two different edits of the same recording. The performers are the same but I think the microphones were either set up in different areas or different finishing mixes were used.

    That being said I liked the B version of the pieces. It seems like the mics are perhaps closer to the piano or somehow picking up the direct sound of the piano instead of the boom resounding from the hall. Because of the hall they are being played in in the A versions the bass is more emphasized and in the B versions it sounds cleaner because the treble is more prevalent.

  28. sherylm Says:

    Song 1: I voted for song A simply because I noticed deeper dynamic contrast, more expression, and a smoother, more gentle feel. On the other hand, song B was performed in a more direct, less gentle fashion. It sounded more like plunking out notes than actually creating musical lines.

    Song 2: I voted for song B for the same reasons. This version creates smoother, more connected lines and I felt that it left a lot more room for musical expression. Song A was just too mechanical.

  29. Jeff N Says:

    Song 1: Song A was a lot better because I feel the performer put more emotion into playing the piano. There were more swells in dynamics, and the tempo seemed to push and pull with the music, showing more emotion and feelings. Song B was a little lacking.

    Song 2: Same reasons, B was a lot more personal and intimate with the performance, there just seemed to be somehting missing from A in this one.

  30. Kristin K Says:

    I voted B for the first because I thought it was played more musically, and it sounded cleaner.

    I voted for A for the second one. I liked how they took it at faster tempo, and it sounded cleaner. I also thought it sounded more natural.

  31. Aaron K Says:

    First one – I choose B because it seems much more musical and has some rubato (variance in tempo) and seems to have more emotion and depth to the sound.

    Second one – I also chose B because it doesn’t seem as “artificial” This one has more rubato, liberty with time and more dynamic contrastts. I also feel like the melody line is more present here.

    Both very lovely pieces!

  32. kevinraschen Says:

    For the first one, I choose B because I felt the music had more life and energy into that A did. I also like the fluctuation in tempo and better clarity in choice B.

    For the second one, I also chose B. It has a more “real” sound to it and a character that A does not have. I also found it to be smoother and more expressive that choice B.

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