Friday, December 29, 2017

Robots reanimating dead musicians

From NPR (May 28, 2007)
Pianist Glenn Gould's classic 1955 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations has never been out of print. Yet this week, Sony Classical will release a brand-new recording of it.

It’s actually a recording of a "re-performance" of the music, designed by a North Carolina software company called Zenph.

The idea is simple: Old recordings sound old. Decades of amazing musical performances are hidden behind the limits of audio technology at the time they were recorded.

The Zenph "re-performance" process isn't a remastering — that is, trying to fix an existing recording with equalization or noise reduction. Instead, it's a new recording of a performance that scientifically matches the earlier one. Zenph uses a Yamaha Disklavier Pro, an actual acoustic piano that can, with a computer's help, play back with microscopically accurate timing and sensitivity.
Zenph will be turning to jazz next, with a recording of “re-performances'” of Art Tatum, including a live concert performance they hope to re-create, with no one at the piano, at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

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