August 30, 2008 at 5:44 AMWell, the news is in from Sydney: little Lin Miaoke is not the only Olympic faker, apparently the entire Sydney Symphony was simply miming along to a recording -- mostly of another orchestra -- during the 2000 Olympics.
Was the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra not cute enough?
It begs the question: Have you ever.....faked it?
It's actually not SUCH an unusual practice in outdoor settings and/or high-production shows. I can remember when I was in the Disney college orchestra one summer (I think I just won't add the year, here), we had a group of dancers that performed with us, and allegedly, sang. Actually the conductor had a click-track in his ear, which helped us to sync up our live playing with the pre-recorded "singing." It allowed us to have consistency in the show, night after night, and it let the dancers do their thing, which was not really singing -- I'm pretty sure that none of their voices were the ones recorded.
Is this wrong? Is it art? Well, it's entertainment.
Sometimes we are asked to "fake it," like the musicians in Sydney. Hey, the check still cashes. And sometimes people have a lot of fun, spending the day as an "extra" for a movie, in which they "fake it" for the movies. After all, real musicians make the best fakers. For example, can anyone spot the problems here with having an actress faking the fiddle?
Now, I haven't even gotten into whether or not any of you have faked some of those 16th notes in the middlemost sections of the 1812 Overture while sight-reading the Fourth of July concert, etc.
So now. Be honest and answer the question. Then, let's hear your views on "faking it" and also your funny stories.
I did go to Las Vegas and happened to be Downtown where a live band was playing outside and the violinist was obviously faking it...but not really trying to match the recording note for note. It was disturbing. More recently I saw an Icelandic synth-pop group, Mum, that had two members faking violin and viola parts and that was equally disappointing. People seemed to accept the visual pantomines as part of the intent and spectacle. The instruemts were very shiny bright new acoustic instruments and unamplified in an otherwise electric sound. I wonder if audience expectations of commonly enhanced sound production on today's recordings exceed the talent available or reproducaable on tour!
the last i heard is that sydney has better dental care and that is why.
in terms of "acceptability" of fake presentation in an otherwise perfect world:), on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 meaning: no big deal, figures, thus not surprising, to 10, meaning: wow, what were they thinking, here is my rating system and samplers:
the vanilla boys: 0. simply junk, non-issue. who cares.
fake or added on firework effect: 1. (the chinese never advertised: come see 100% authentic firework. it is a show, stupid, like magic:)
cuter face win: 3. again, just feeling more bad for the hidden girl than the illusion.
pavoratti lip sync: 7. i would have rated a 11 but since he had pancreatic cancer, he deserves 4 point of courtesy. since he was sick, he was not thinking, i figure.
sydney sickness: massive plague. i simply cannot imagine every single one of the entire orchestra going along with it. best kept secret of the past 8 years. well done boyz and girlz. a 10!
As for me, I've faked many a sixteenth note in the Firebird suite.
I faked that, though.
At lunch at Potbelly's, over my sandwich and malt, there was a terrific folk singer playing guitar, with an impressive audio setup. I noticed the precise bass over the fluent strumming. Then I noticed the not-quite-so-precise bass fingering. I checked out the interleaved top-plate percussion and full chords. They were a little less than synchronized as well. He started the next song, and I noticed him hit the footplate.
I finished my sandwich, and headed out past him with my malt. Here, the respect I have gained for anyone willing to put themselves before the public took over. So no one heard the line that made me smile, as I walked past him, but which seems irresistible in this context.
(Smiling and gesturing to malt) "Milli-Vanilla!"
I have found, for ezample, the end of Richard Wagner's Die Valkyries as being one of those passages . Another is a part of Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis , or how about Ives 4th symphony just to mention a few. And , I am sure there are plenty more passages that are even more difficult . But, for the most part , most passages are possible with enough practice .
Don't tell any condutors I ever said so
well the day comes and Yohimbe Bros are on stage and rocking out in FULL effect. I'm very excited. I've got my electric violin out - amplifier having been set up already. I hear the bass player calling me: "Hey Mazz, you're up!" I run up on stage and plug in only to find out that it was NOT, in fact, the song Vernon intended to have me play on. Which, in and of itself, isn't a totally terrible thing (though I worried he would think I was being presumptuous in coming up before he called me up, I knew he would know it was a misunderstanding once we talked about it afterward).
The big problem with what happened was that the song I ended up on stage for was completely through composed. No room at all for improv, which I'm actually fairly good at. But this tune was a full on composition. Line after line of the band playing practically in unison and tight harmonies. All the way through.
So I just turned the volume on my violin ALL the way down to ZERO and pretended to be playing along. I think I was pretty good at faking it - cause later people were like "that was awesome! but I wish the sound guy would have turned you up more - I couldn't even *hear* you!"
The story has a happy ending - I stayed up for 2 more songs and both had room for me to play over (esp. the last one, which was the one he inteded to call me up for), so it all worked out. But GAWD was I embarrassed. Can you imagine being trapped on stage (all I wanted to do was RUN), not knowing a SINGLE note of what was being played?
I mean, haven't you even had a nightmare of the exact same kind?! somewhat akin to the showing-up-to-high school-in-your-underwear nightmare that every single one of us has had in some form or another.
I'm just glad I lived to tell the tale...
Though we were all fine NYC musicians, you saw us, but the sound you heard was that of the LA Philharmonic. This probably was done because the actor playing the conductor, couldn't! I really regretted it, though I was well paid for my expertise, which unfortunately nobody could hear..
Ultimately, though, no one could really hear me or the pianist at all since the track was so loud.
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