Old 12-28-2010, 11:05 AM   #1
ReaDave
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Default Recording my 170 year old Kirkman piano

The last day of October 2010 was rainy and the traffic was rushing to and fro outside as I sat at my piano and started to play. Suddenly, I stopped playing and thought, "I have to record this!!"


Here's the link to the song player

>>>> Rushing To and Fro <<<<
An instrumental piano improvisation.
On a rainy day, as the traffic rushed to and fro, I sat at my piano and meditated on the grace and mercy of God.


Here's the direct download link

>>>> Rushing To and Fro (DOWNLOAD MP3) <<<<
Right click and save to your hard drive.


Some of you have already seen and heard about this piano but for those who haven't, it is a 170 year old Kirkman upright that I have been restoring and it sounds delightful. At the time of this recording, I had just finished doing a pitch raise to bring it up to concert pitch and had completed some of the work on replacing the felts on the key bed. I still have work to do restoring and replacing the action felts and leathers so there's an amount of clicking from the sound of a well worn action but I have all the replacement parts now to get the work done.
Hopefully I'll have this all done next recording.

This recording was done in REAPER using three mics on the piano and two mics for the ambient traffic sounds.
On the piano, I used two Rode NT2a's in a stereo pair in front of the action and at ear height and width. I also used a small diaphragm condenser on the bass strings to capture the richness of the low end.
I used an M/S pair consisting of my AKG C414eb and C451e for the traffic sounds.

There's no reverb whatsoever on this recording and very little EQ. I went for a very minimalist approach here in order to preserve the characteristics of the piano as much as possible.

Here's a photo of my piano in it's current state of restoration....


Last edited by ReaDave; 12-28-2010 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
EvilDragon
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BE-A-U-TI-FUL!
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:44 AM   #3
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Cheers ED
I'll be adding a direct download link to my post above soon.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:00 PM   #4
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This is perfect material for timestretching and making drones and doing all kinds of weird shit to it. Because it's really moderately played, very non-busy mood, it should be great for atmospheres and stuff
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:21 PM   #5
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If you want to take some samples from it, go ahead ED.

I added the direct download link to my first post for those who want to save it too. The download version is 320K cbr mp3 while the player version is 220K vbr mp3.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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FLAC rules, too.



I might use this, some day. Thanks for the approval
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:59 PM   #7
jdhchang
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Default Beautiful playing, beautiful sound

I really enjoyed listening to the piece. The hustle and bustle of the busy city street outside with quiet sanctuary of solitude. Your piano sounds reflect its history and your sensitive playing brings it life. I only wish there were more pieces like it and that I could download it into my mp3 player.

Thanks!

Jacob
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:33 PM   #8
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Default Ooops!

I see that you included a direct download link. Thank you!

Jacob
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:07 AM   #9
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very nice
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
FLAC rules, too.
I might use this, some day. Thanks for the approval
You're welcome
...and yeah, I might put some flac versions up too. Obviously, they require more bandwidth but I have a good server hosting my site so this shouldn't be an issue for the relatively few who will know what flac format is and how to use it.
The original recordings were done at 96K/24 bit so I could upload 44.1K/24 bit flac files which will maintain, for all practical purposes, the quality of the original recording.

I probably didn't really need to record at 96K for these because I actually use very little processing and 96K has become more of a habit than anything.
In fact, I'm really starting to question the CPU cost on bigger mixes vs the gain in processing quality of 96K in general. The newest track I am working on is a 14 minute prog rock epic and it has been recorded at 44.1K/24 bit and sounds great so far. I'm not really missing the relatively minor benefits of 96K on this recording to be honest and I am loving the extra CPU horsepower I have for such a complex mix.

This is a pretty big thing for me because I have long been a perfectionist in my productions and have aimed for the very best I can do in ALL areas from performance and composition to engineering. I CAN hear the difference between 96K and 44.1K in processing on large and complex mixes but I am not missing it!!! Besides, the decisions we make when engineering are often more subjective in nature than objective and subjectivity is very much a creative process. When we mix at 44.1K, we mix subjectively within the bounds of what that presents to our ears and, as we all know, particularly in prog rock and other similar highly produced genres, if it SOUNDS good, it IS good!!

Anyone who has heard an esoteric vinyl system through a high end tube amplifier and an equally esoteric pair of hifi speakers knows that what sounds wonderful is not necessarily that which is accurate.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdhchang View Post
I really enjoyed listening to the piece. The hustle and bustle of the busy city street outside with quiet sanctuary of solitude. Your piano sounds reflect its history and your sensitive playing brings it life. I only wish there were more pieces like it and that I could download it into my mp3 player.

Thanks!

Jacob
Quote:
Originally Posted by ugh View Post
very nice
Thank you very much for your kind words guys
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:21 AM   #12
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That joanna sounds bloody lovely Danni

Somehow I was not expecting such depth warmth and beauty from an old upright - shows what i know doesn't it?
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:39 PM   #13
ReaDave
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Cheers Ted. She is a lovely sounding old girl!!!
I wasn't expecting such richness and warmth either, especially for 100 bucks!!! But I figured it was worth the gamble. Boy was that an understatement!!

When I first got it home, C2 was broken, everything was MILES out of tune, some of the notes got stuck and it looked shabby. Many hours of TLC later and I have a piano that has FAR exceeded all my expectations and it has still cost me less than 500 bucks!!!
As mentioned in my first post, I still have a considerable amount of work to do on the action but I have all the replacement parts now.

All up, this purchase has been a MASSIVE win for me!
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:30 AM   #14
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Default Date of Kirkman piano

Hi! I am curious to know why you think your Kirkman piano was made in 1840. If you open the top, you should be able to see numbers which may tell me when it was made, but my guess is nearer to 1880.

Bill
pianohistory.info/Victorian.html
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:07 PM   #15
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RD,

Really lovely piece ---- so soothing in this mad world --- I liked the passing traffic too.

The instrument looks beautiful and sounds even better.

Congrats on your performance, both musically and technically(restoration).


Cheers, SR
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:11 PM   #16
ReaDave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianohistory View Post
Hi! I am curious to know why you think your Kirkman piano was made in 1840. If you open the top, you should be able to see numbers which may tell me when it was made, but my guess is nearer to 1880.

Bill
pianohistory.info/Victorian.html
Thanks for the post Bill. My reasoning behind the date estimate is based on the manufacturer stamp on the pin block which states the factory location (3 Soho Square London). From my research, Kirkman were only in that location for around 15 years from 1831 to 1846. However, there seems to be some conflicting information on that so I could well be wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sambo Rouge View Post
RD,

Really lovely piece ---- so soothing in this mad world --- I liked the passing traffic too.

The instrument looks beautiful and sounds even better.

Congrats on your performance, both musically and technically(restoration).


Cheers, SR
Thank you so much SR. Glad you liked it.
I have more piano improvisations I've recorded on this piano and must add them to my website some time soon. I've been meaning to do that for a while now but never gotten around to it.

I think I need one of these.....



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Old 02-12-2015, 06:52 PM   #17
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During the spacious slower parts the traffic noise sounds like waves on a beach. I like the naturalness of the performance and the tone of the piano... The ambient sounds - traffic, bench creak here and there, don't detract because the piano sounds so big and rich.
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Old 02-15-2015, 05:20 AM   #18
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Thanks for the feedback Timothy. Glad you like it.
It's interesting that you mention the traffic sounding like waves on a beach. It was actually raining that day so the road was wet. That road actually leads to Torquay Beach (a place I used to visit frequently) too.
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