Symphonova

February 5, 2019, 7:30 AM · Bad news for violinists' career prospects, or what?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGVUE8zgFEc

Replies (13)

February 5, 2019, 12:38 PM · I'm not sure it has much to do with AI. I can see how the sound of a single violin might be manipulated and amplified to suggest a whole section, but what are all those instruments standing or hanging around in the room supposed to do? How can an unplayed violin produce anything more than a weak sympathetic vibration?
February 5, 2019, 3:13 PM · This doesn't put large orchestras out of business. I think in the end it will create more opportunity than it displaces. Computers were predicted to ruin chess ... nope.
Edited: February 6, 2019, 2:39 AM · https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_QvbfR9EjU

Sounds impressive with a somewhat artificial acoustic, but how FGS does it work? Can you really create the sound of a full woodwind section with a handful of players? And the passive Chinese fiddles?! It looks as if half the orchestra are on tea break

February 6, 2019, 8:11 AM · Hi Timothy - yes, they seem to be struggling to find a market niche. I also can't help thinking there's a little smoke 'n mirrors involved. What on earth must a loudspeaker with a trombone for a radiator sound like? If used to play real or midi trombone sounds, they must get terribly tromboney. And those cellos standing around like the terracotta army that'll probably resonate more to the trombones than the cello sounds? The conductor ("symphonist") has a pretty smooth sales pitch but his "TED-like" talk doesn't inspire much confidence.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3p3WmEL6xE
The only public comment it's attracted in 7 years seems to be from a relative of the flautist.

In spite of all this, the cellist does play a very nice duet with herself in Mahler 4.

February 6, 2019, 9:16 AM · They used this in Toronto a couple of years ago for the orchestra in Les Mis - I know because my teacher at the time was 'the second violin section'. I went to the show (before I knew he was doing this) and you could not tell.

So maybe the real niche is musicals and maybe opera where you can not see the orchestra. The advantage of real musicians over an orchestra recording is that you can then lock onto the singers and not the other way round.

February 6, 2019, 9:50 AM · Following up on Elise's comment -- it's more musicians employed compared to the recording too. Wages vs. royalties.
February 6, 2019, 12:37 PM · "Following up on Elise's comment -- it's more musicians employed compared to the recording too."

More?? One violinist did the job of a section that might have had 6 in it. OTOH more productions may use life music as a result.

Edited: February 6, 2019, 1:01 PM · I think Paul's point was that if the orchestra's contribution is pre-recorded the nightly musician count drops to zero (apart from the conductor and I guess the singers if you stretch the definition a bit). Maybe your teacher could let us know whether the pit in Toronto was populated with playerless violins and cellos like we see on Symphonova's youtube clips? But your point about the Symphonova orchestra being able to follow the singers rather than vice versa is well taken
February 8, 2019, 12:27 PM · Nothing to do with faking, but in a tango quintet I had considered feeding the rich vibrations of an Zeta violin (where there was a stereo pickup under each string, on top of the bridge) into a small cello body...

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