Shelter-in-place performance of Beethoven

April 7, 2020, 7:53 PM · I am sharing this shelter-in-place performance of Beethoven's 4th Symphony, Scherzo (3rd Mvt). This was created by members of South Bay Philharmonic, a community orchestra based in Silicon Valley. Our conductor, George Yefchak, organized the entire project and edited the video. Enjoy, and stay safe, everyone!

Replies (22)

April 7, 2020, 10:06 PM · Why? Why do these groups do this - I mean it's not like they are playing together or enjoying the immediate mutual pleasures of making music together.
Edited: April 7, 2020, 10:36 PM · Why not?

There is a satisfaction in being a part of the whole. it reminds us that we are still an ensemble. It keeps an orchestra in front of its audience at a time when there is no other way to do so. It could perhaps inspire donations, or future ticket purchases. It’s fun to record one’s part at home knowing that it will become a piece of something bigger.

Why not?

Here is one done by my orchestra – I am the violinist in the green shirt.

Edited: April 8, 2020, 6:14 AM · Yes, exactly what Mary Ellen said. Thanks for sharing SAS’s video, Mary Ellen. Beautiful performance!
April 8, 2020, 3:30 AM · very nice Mary Ellen! free bowing too ;-)
April 8, 2020, 3:34 AM · I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing virtual orchestra rehearsals, virtual performances and sharing music in general. What a way to bring a little bit of joy to your day.

I took part in the Lockdown Orchestra a couple of weeks ago. A thoroughly enjoyable project.

Mary Ellen, the SAS one you shared is lovely! Thank you!

April 8, 2020, 3:55 AM · That was lovely, Mary Ellen.
April 8, 2020, 8:20 AM · ANDREW, these groups do this because they miss playing together, they are resourceful enough to go the extra mile, and at this time, this is the only way they can play together. Their spirit and drive are admirable!
GENE, was this done on ZOOM, or what software was used? Thank you!
April 8, 2020, 8:27 AM · They can’t be done on Zoom. Each musician records his or her own part alone at home, with a metronome in an earpiece or blinking silently on the stand. The videos are then edited together— there are various kinds of software that can be used for this. The San Antonio software used is listed on the YouTube video.

Glad you all enjoyed our video. We are working on another one right now.

April 8, 2020, 8:39 AM · For something somewhat different. . . I took an Old Time Fiddle class where we sat in a large circle and hammered out some fiddle tunes once a week. The idea was to get six tunes in good shape, then have a potluck dinner and a jam with fiddles, guitars, and banjos. Well, the virus hit, social distancing was necessary, and the last class with the potluck and jam were canceled. However, once we discovered Zoom, our problem was solved. Everyone got on their computers and we played. How did it sound? Well, with the delays in the sound, the visual cues a bit off, and with everyone - in reality -sitting alone, it wasn't great. So what? We all knew that going in to the session. Frankly, all of that was secondary, because the community was back. The spirit was alive and well. There were a few tears, and a lot of laughter, jokes, smiles, and more smiles. As far as the potluck, well, a lot of people had a glass of wine or a beer. It was a lot of fun.
Edited: April 8, 2020, 11:06 AM · M Zilpah -- I had never heard of the Lockdown Orchestra. What an awesome idea!

Erin -- As Mary Ellen stated, this would be nearly impossible to do over zoom. In our case, our conductor sent us a video of him conducting this piece to a click track. (In the completed project, you can see his video in the bottom-left of the screen.) Each of us then recorded our own part while watching him conduct and listening (via earpiece) to the click track. We then sent our separate videos to him. He ended up with 20+ videos totaling ~17GB, and used Adobe Premiere Pro to edit them all together (he admitted there are probably better tools out there). Mary Ellen, whoever did the SAS project must have a lot of video editing experience!

Michael -- Great story!

Edited: April 8, 2020, 11:11 AM · Thank you Mary Ellen and Gene for this info. I am working on a virtual rehearsal with my string buddies.
April 8, 2020, 11:26 AM · Gene and Mary Ellen, triumph!
Edited: April 8, 2020, 12:56 PM · Erin, I don’t see how a virtual rehearsal could be possible given the lag. I can’t even play with my students when teaching them online. Different platforms may decrease or increase the lag but there will always be a lag.

If you want to get a feel for the lag on whatever platform you are using, set a metronome on your end at 60 and then have the person on the other end of the computer play a scale with the metronome as they hear it.

Gene, our principal trombonist did the video editing and he is very good at it. :-)

April 8, 2020, 3:48 PM · Mary Ellen,

Excellent! I did notice that your orchestra has a left handed violinist.

April 8, 2020, 5:17 PM · No, she’s right handed. That was a technology fail.
April 8, 2020, 11:13 PM · Mary Ellen. Thank you for the details. That's how I thought it worked. My chamber orchestra personnel have been getting together at (the old) rehearsal times for ZOOM chats for the past two weeks. My computer is too old to support zoom, so I'm not participating.

What you described sounds OK for keeping spirit and financing alive, but not really making music together.

April 11, 2020, 8:43 AM · This reminds me - my orchestra was going to perform this piece back in February and our concert was canceled 4 HOURS before it was supposed to start. Very anticlimactic.
April 11, 2020, 11:12 PM · Andrew, nobody has claimed it is "making music together" in the way we are all used to. It is a new type of performance with its own value. I am baffled at your resistance to it.
April 12, 2020, 12:27 PM · Think of it as mailing in your brick to the cathedral. No less pride of authorship, even if the craft is different.
April 14, 2020, 12:00 PM · Thanks for posting this here, Gene! I included it in my blog too, as you saw. I'm in the third row on the left, in the alto clef T-shirt.

It's true, it doesn't take the place of live rehearsal and performance, but why let the perfect be the enemy of the good? I've enjoyed these performances here and when they show up on Facebook. And it was fun to do. We're all learning new things.

Mary Ellen, yours was gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

April 14, 2020, 12:09 PM · I get that this kind of thing is not the same as seeing a live performance, but is it not some kind of awe-inspiring that a credible performance can be put together by a large group of people miles away from each other. Maybe Charles Ives could have imagined it.

Andrew, your posts seem kind of out of character in their dourness. I hope this COVID-time is treating you well. We're all just trying to make lemonade these days, which is not an unrefreshing drink if not overly sweetened.

Edited: April 14, 2020, 2:20 PM · Last night I recorded my contribution to the next video by the Musicians of the SAS, and checked it by playing it back alongside the concertmaster's video which he had done several days before. (It took several tries to get the starts synchronized well enough.) Here's an issue that you'd think I would have thought of before: we cannot adjust to each other's pitch in these videos as we would when playing together onstage. There was a fairly lengthy passage in which the 1sts and 2nds are in octaves, and I found myself wishing for the opportunity to adjust my pitch on the spot in a couple of places to what I was hearing. So the next time you listen to such a video done by professional musicians, take a moment to marvel at how well in tune everyone plays even without the opportunity to adjust to each other.

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