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Orchestra To Turn Copyright-Free Classical Scores Into Copyright-Free Music

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the going-the-extra-stanza dept.

Music 327

destinyland writes "An online music site has raised over $13,000 to hire a full orchestra to record royalty-free classical music. ('"Although the actual symphonies are long out of copyright, there is separate protection for every individual performance by an orchestra," notes one technology site.') MusOpen has reached their fundraising goal for both the orchestra and a recording facility, and will now record the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. And because their fundraising deadline doesn't end until Tuesday, they've promised to add additional recordings for every additional $1,000 raised."

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327 comments

First (3, Funny)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552662)

Beethoven symphony! (I for one do actually welcome our new free-music-producing overlords).

Re:First (1)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552670)

Great effort. Commendable work!

Re:First (4, Informative)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553044)

Great effort in a noble cause. However, they note in the original article that:

'Right now, if you were to buy a CD of Beethoven's 9th symphony, you would not be legally allowed to do anything but listen to it. You wouldn't be able to share it, upload it, or use it as a soundtrack to your indie film- yet Beethoven has been dead for 183 years and his music is no longer copyrighted. There is a lifetime of music out there, legally in the public domain, but it has yet to be recorded and released to the public.'

Here in the UK, the copyright term on recorded music is currently only 50 years. This means that most of the core classical repertoire is already available in this form, often as very high quality recordings (they knew what they were doing by the 50s!) of great performances. Now that the cash cows of the 60s are about to fall into the public domain, the record industry has lobbied for an extension, and draft EU legislation aims to push back the term to 70 years:

http://www.euractiv.com/en/innovation/music-copyright-divisive-despite-meps-backing/article-181703 [euractiv.com]

There are still some great performances of that Beethoven symphony from the 1930s, of course, but the 60s recordings in near-modern sound will be off limits for another couple of decades.

Re:First (5, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553096)

How in blazes does a *retroactive* copyright extension encourage the creation of the work? Has everybody in power forgotten the whole frapping point of copyright??

Re:First (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553152)

How in blazes does a *retroactive* copyright extension encourage the creation of the work? Has everybody in power forgotten the whole frapping point of copyright??

To appease your donors and get re-elected? Nope. They still remember.

Re:First (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553314)

I'd say it's pretty straightforward. If I know I stand a good chance of receiving the benefits of a retroactive copyright extension, I'll then be more likely to create and publish a work, because I'll have reason to believe my income from doing so will be greater.

Re:First (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553244)

>>>. This means that most of the core classical repertoire is already available in this form, often as very high quality recordings (they knew what they were doing by the 50s!) of great performances.

You answered my question. I thought there was already public domain performances, just as Ed Woods masterpieces (cough) are now public domain. As for the "point" of copyright, it is to give authors a temporary monopoly as incentive to create art that will eventually fall into the possession of all the People & enrich everybody.

It seems some in the US Congress and EU Parliament have forgotten that. Too busy getting bribed by megacorps I guess?

Re:First (2, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553246)

Right now, if you were to buy a CD of Beethoven's 9th symphony, you would not be legally allowed to do anything but listen to it.

On the other hand, you could obtain a score for the same work, and have the pleasure of spending unlimited hours imagining a variety of different interpretations as you read it through, "hearing" it in your head. This isn't actually as difficult as it might seem (given a little training and plenty of practice), and is highly rewarding.

Re:First (4, Funny)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553312)

Yep, who needs an MP3 player, just cart around a 3 ring binder full of sheet music. Fun for the whole family!

OK, but... (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553170)

There's more to a performance of an orchestral work than the employment of "a renowned orchestra". What conductor will they use? Nowadays, most of the major orchestras choose their conductors (as opposed to the opposite-way-around practice of yesteryear), but I wonder if their employment contracts will allow the conductors to do this sort of "pro-bono" work.

I'm not saying this couldn't or shouldn't happen, but I wouldn't be surprised if this issue that will comes up.

Yawn . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553056)

Let me know when these pick-up players match, for example, Tchaikovsky performed by Chicago under Abbado. Until then it is worth it to purchase a great performance.

For everyone here, content is supposed to be free for the taking, yet no one wants to pay for the "creating" of it. Interesting.

Re:Yawn . . . (4, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553162)

For everyone here, content is supposed to be free for the taking, yet no one wants to pay for the "creating" of it. Interesting.

Actually, 363 people want to pay for creating it. At least when I checked... More now I am sure.

Need advice (again) (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552664)

Here me out on this again, okay I know it sounds gross.. but hear me out first..im 15 btw.

so my teacher let me sit at her desk cause she's cool like that and i raised my hand first. im on my period (sry TMI i know) and i have a heavy flow. i could feel the blood coming out and i didnt get a chance to change my tampon that day. so i pretended to drop my pencil and i went under the desk and i slipped on a tampon from my purse. i believe in female rights and i support breast feeding in public, etc.. so i dont see a problem with this, as long as no one else sees anything. but as i was taking out the used tampon the guy that i kinda like (who im also friends with) came over to get a sheet of looseleaf and he saw everything. i mean i shaved and everything but he saw blood running down my leg and it smelled fishy. and he told EVERYONE and he wont talk to me and people are saying that im grimy, a whore, unclassy, white trash, etc. and i dont know what to do, advice?

Re:Need advice (again) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552930)

Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do!

Go here [aclu.org] and file a complaint. This is well-known as cross-discrimination and though what you did was rather gross, you in NO WAY should be punished for it. It is your body's NATURAL process of cleansing itself!! If your really lucky you should be able to sue and get a little money out of it! But if you do be sure to save it for college because college is around the corner and is getting really expensive hun!

Re:Need advice (again) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553346)

is this another troll or did someone actually bite on the obvious copypasta? Next thing you know you'll be seeing serious responses to the poop eaters and gnaatards...

by the way in soviet russia only o

Open your wallets (5, Interesting)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552684)

Every quality song that is released to the public domain makes a future where it will be slightly more difficult for the RIAA to survive. Is there be a more noble cause anywhere on this planet?

Re:Open your wallets (3, Insightful)

pronobozo (794672) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552768)

This is along my train of thought. I think people should stop complaining about copyright and start taking action and put their own works under creative commons. It's a free world, if someone wants to restrict their work, they should have the right. If you don't like their system, start creating things and put it under some type of free license. We can live in a world where both systems exists and guess what, it already does! If enough people support it, it'll drown out your hated restricted content. Heck, all my work is under a reasonable CC license and it has only ever benefited me. I've had more than 500,000 free downloads, and amazingly, it hasn't made my life worse or destroyed the planet :-)

Re:Open your wallets (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552822)

If you're for releasing to the public domain then why do you care if the RIAA survives? Think about it.

Re:Open your wallets (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553092)

Because they'll still try to charge you for the PD music, because they think that all recordings must belong to somebody.

Re:Open your wallets (4, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553202)

If you're for releasing to the public domain then why do you care if the RIAA survives? Think about it.

I can not find the link, but a bar was fined almost out of business for allowing a musician to play his own music (written by him) without paying a performance royalty to ASCAP. So that is why I want them gone. I actually would not mind paying for music, as long as none of the money goes to those marauding bastards.

Re:Open your wallets (1)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552892)

I don't think the RIAA represents all that many classical producers. While this is a very interesting project, and quite a nice thing, i'm not entirely it's a brilliant thing. One thing for sure is that when it comes to orchestras, nothing beats being in the hall, you just don't get the dynamic contrast and feeling carried over as well as a live performance, also the audience will generally be quiet too, so everyone can enjoy it (if the music is good to begin with). But as far as the RIAA is concerned, i think they won't care too much, they might worry a bit if pop music was starting to adopt a public domain model, similar to open source, actually, i think that is what the riaa has been fearing out of the internet all along. I don't think we are seeing too many pop stars hit it big at the moment, and i think this is kind of attributable to the internet, because say with just about anyone i talk to, they tend to listen to music which the pop industry generally won't want to touch, be it electronic music, hard rock, or even folk music.

Re:Open your wallets (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553294)

I don't think the RIAA represents all that many classical producers.

You couldn't be more wrong. Try Sony, EMI, Decca, RCA, just for a start... full list here [riaa.com] .

Re:Open your wallets (1)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553112)

Not sure that would work, they would just change their business plan.
The Italian RIAA (the local name is SIAE) has started charging a "missed revenue tax" on empty media. Wanna buy a CD-R, a DVD or even a hard disk in Italy? You have to pay your share. Even if you use it to burn the photos of your holidays.

Re:Open your wallets (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553172)

Not sure that would work, they would just change their business plan.

The Italian RIAA (the local name is SIAE) has started charging a "missed revenue tax" on empty media. Wanna buy a CD-R, a DVD or even a hard disk in Italy? You have to pay your share. Even if you use it to burn the photos of your holidays.

So, is it legal to fill up the media with 100% pirated stuff??

Re:Open your wallets (2)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553204)

My prediction is that the lack of copyright will help CD sales rather than hurt them, because removing restrictions adds value. I, for one, will be happy to pay for a high-quality CD that, for the first time in my life, I actually own in every sense of the word, with which I am free to do whatever I please, whether it is to use excerpts in for a home video, use as part of the background music in a school play, or anything else with no cares or concerns about legal issues. In fact I'll probably buy their entire collection.

Re:Open your wallets (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553212)

I find that immensely sad that the motive to hurt the RIAA trumps the motive to simply enrich the culture. I know you were probably being ironic, but it hits a little too close to home. It just goes to show how little of a role art plays in the copyright wars.

This is very cool (2, Interesting)

wwphx (225607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552686)

I've been considering doing a podcast on board/card game design and music is an issue. I know there's lots of Creative Commons music out there, but who has time to go through it? With this, I can find selections of music that I already have and like, download their version, and Robert's your mother's brother.

I'm also impressed by Kickstarter. I didn't know about it until last week and I ?think it's also pretty cool.

Next time (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552788)

One part of me says: this is great, should have happened a long time ago.

Record once, and be done with it, instead of paying over and over again.

But the other part is: After you're done recording symphonies, and no one needs (or needs to pay) orchestra players again, and they have to go into some other livelihood, where are you going to get orchestra players the next time you need them?

Re:Next time (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552810)

Every recording is unique, and there is nothing like a live performance. So really there is no fear to be had about the livelihood of the players. Now the industry responsible for the distribution of the recordings... Well, they're evil anyway.

Re:Next time (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552830)

Live music. Just like every anti-RIAA Slashdotter has been telling the pro-RIAA Slashdotter for years now. The idea is that your music should be so awesome that people will pay to see it played live anyway, even if it's also available as an MP3. Of course, different orchestra...e? also have a different sound and a different interpretation of the way they should play each song.

Re:Next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552966)

That's nice, but electronic music cannot be played live.

Re:Next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553060)

That's nice, but electronic music cannot be played live.

If you can't play it live, then you're doing it wrong. Or you just can't play to start with.

I remember seeing Kraftwerk in the early '90s, and their live show was outstanding. And performed live. And using all electronic instruments.

Re:Next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552836)

The BBC tried to release a lot of classical music for free a few years ago but commercial competitors complained to The BBC Trust (sort of an oversight organisation) and prevented them from releasing.

Re:Next time (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552920)

There will always be newer (and still in copyright) pieces of music for orchestras to play.
Ask any good film director how important a good orchestra is to his films.
Also, just because there is now a copyright-free version of (say) Beethoven's 9th doesn't mean that no orchestra will ever play it again. They havent invented a digital sound recording process that is good enough to replace the glory that is hearing good classical music performed live.

It DOES mean that companies like Naxos who make money selling CDs of classical music will loose sales (not that that's a bad thing IMO)

Re:Next time (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552940)

Very few orchestras make money from recordings, and even fewer make them from recordings of public domain music. The definitive recording of Beethoven's symphonies, for example, is usually regarded as being Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, recorded in 1968 and 1972. Compare the sales of this to any other recording of Beethoven's symphonies, and you'll see a massive difference.

Orchestras make money in two ways: concerts, and commissioned recordings (like the ones in TFA). For example, last night I went to the Prom in the Park, where the BBC National Orchestra of Wales were performing. If you read Slashdot, you've probably heard them before - they recorded the them tune to Doctor Who (which they played last night just after the Stravinsky). They also played a Karl Jenkins piece, which is still very much in copyright (it's only a few years old).

It's not like people will stop writing music and they'll still want orchestras to record it. It's not like live performances will be completely replaced by recordings, either. The Prom in the Park was broadcast on the radio (and streamed online), and our contingency plan in case of rain was to listen to it in my house and have the picnic indoors. The weather was nice though, so we decided to pay the entrance fee and go and listen to it in person.

Re:Next time (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553122)

It's quite the opposite effect. Get that music out there were everyone can hear it and drum up the market for a live performance. Particularly for orchestras which survive through ticket sales and donations.

You don't go to the concert to hear Beethoven for the first time. You decide which night of the season to go because they're playing what you really want to hear live.

Re:This is very cool (1)

MusedFable (1640361) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553088)

What's the podcast website? I'm heavy into boardgame design. If you don't feel like posting the website here for whatever reason you can reach me at gmail or boardgamegeek with the same name (I'm the only MusedFable as far as I know). Gamers seem to be very willing to put money up for projects; which is probably why Kickstarter can work so well for game makers.

Broadway? (3, Interesting)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552690)

Why aren't they doing what broadway did [slashdot.org] ? They can replace the musicians with synthesizers and record MORE music to protect copyrights.

Re:Broadway? (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552716)

> Why aren't they doing what broadway did? They can replace the musicians with synthesizers and record MORE music to protect copyrights. ...clearly not someone that listens to or appreciates classical music.

Re:Broadway? (0, Troll)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552942)

For the kind of musicians who you can hire to play all of Beethoven's symphonies for a total (for all orchestra members) of $13,000 (or $20,000, or $50,000) I think I would take the synthesizers.

I used to have a complete boxed set of Beethoven symphonies put out by some cut-rate Japanese distributor. I think the whole set was about $7. There were several prominent oboe squawks in the first movement of the Third Symphony. And don't get me started on what cheap Japanese singers sound like singing the Ode To Joy in the Ninth Symphony in German, with Japanese accents.

No, this will be another cut-out bin grade recording. Nothing to see here. Move on, now.

Re:Broadway? (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553158)

Yea, I was thinking it could cost $13,000 just to get the orchestra together for a night.

The only thing I can figure is that this is an additional income for an orchestra which is already touring through the composers.

That, and it doesn't need to be the greatest recording ever to see a lot of use. Background music in indie games and movies would be possible. Layered in with ambient noise, sound effects and character dialog, the lesser quality of this work might not stand out.

Re:Broadway? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553308)

There's also the possibility that the orchestra believes in the cause and is offering their services at a cut rate - if anything, it would be more likely that the better (and presumably, therefore, relatively well paid in general) musicians would be willing and able to do such a thing.

In any case, their website [musopen.com] has examples of music they've previously had recorded, so you can judge the quality for yourself.

Re:Broadway? (4, Insightful)

mitchells00 (1181549) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552732)

Synthesizers are never as good as the real thing, they don't have the ability to add certain qualities to the music like emotion. Any true musician would understand the passion that flows through their instrument as they play; very much like having sex. Yes the synths can sound very convincing, but they're just not the same thing. They don't have the level of human error and randomness built in.

Re:Broadway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552756)

They don't have the level of human error and randomness built in.

So toss in some RNG?

Re:Broadway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552762)

You obviously haven't touched a synth in modern times to know what they can do.

Re:Broadway? (1)

mitchells00 (1181549) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552826)

I actually use them quite frequently. Attempts to replicate these qualities have been somewhat formidable, but unless you're using a very high quality digital instrument for each part, you're not going to get anywhere near what an orchestra can do. To get similar qualities from that type of music, one would need someone extremely experienced in the individual intricate qualities of each instrument and knowledgeable with regards to how to replicate such qualities... you'd end up paying more than just getting a few dozen skilled uni/college students to play for you.

Re:Broadway? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553004)

An orchestra is a whole group of skilled musicians who listen to each other as they perform, and to a degree 'riff' off of each other. The kind of AI that would be required for a digital instrument (actually a whole rack of computers each controlling a digital instrument with AI, sensing of the other computers' output, etc.) just isn't there. And there's no sense in it. Blah-blah background muzak is very easily accomplished with human-free methods. Just like you can program a big bunch of stepper motors to pull levers and arms to 'paint art.'

A synthesizer is still a synthesizer (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552854)

You obviously don't know or don't care that most people who listen to classical music have a much more perceptive ear than people who listen to other types of music. A synthesizer is still a synthesizer no matter how you try to market it. There's no way that it can accurately produce the various tonal qualities of a full orchestra. The type of mallet that's used to strike a cymbal, the stroke speed of a violin bow as it passes over the strings, the subtle change in tone dynamics by adding a vibrato to a sustained note on a cello ... synthesizers can't accurately reproduce those, yet each of those can be very important to the quality of a piece.

Yes, synthesizer technology is impressive, but it's still a cold, digital reproduction of an instrument no matter how good the technology gets or how hard you attempt to defend it.

Re:A synthesizer is still a synthesizer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552998)

Most classical music is played through elevator speakers world-wide. I don't think that ambience caters to the most intricate details of musical phrasing. A good synth really is good enough.

A live concert is something different and can be a profound experience. But a recording of a orchestra is not necessarily better than a recording of a good synth. Sometimes it's quite the opposite.

Re:A synthesizer is still a synthesizer (1)

mitchells00 (1181549) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553078)

The entire point of this project is to provide this service to people who actually enjoy it, so your comment is redundant.

Re:A synthesizer is still a synthesizer (1)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553320)

The entire point of this project is to provide this service to people who actually enjoy it, so your comment is redundant.

Or to provide royalty free music to people who wish to use it in a production. Therefore, it's not redundant.

Re:A synthesizer is still a synthesizer (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553248)

You seem to be making an argument against just synthesizers. Fair enough. However, it is entirely possible to construct robots to play each instrument.

That would result in the sound of each instrument being correct. However the basic attempts to do so will create a perfect performance. Besides inaccurate reproduction of sounds the music being too perfect (the tempo has no jitter, and every note starts exactly on the beat.)

But synthesizer artists have studied how to make the playback less rigid, and perfect, making that aspect of synthesized music more realistic. Much of that could be combined with robotic musicians. The result would be fairly decent music. It would still lack some of the aspects that humans give by playing off each other, but it would also lack many of the distracting errors found on recordings by low quality orchestras. The result would be music that is inexpensive per recording (since only one person needs to be paid), and of good, but not great quality.

Music is still soundwaves (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553286)

No matter how much you extol the virtues of a human instrumentalist, music is soundwaves, and soundwaves can be reproduced. I see no reason why a sufficiently complete algorithm and a quality sound system couldn't, in theory, manage to reproduce the effect of a human instrumentalist, to such an extent that the most discerning audiophiles could not tell the difference. Granted, we are not there yet, but to say "synthesizer technology [is] still a cold, digital reproduction of an instrument no matter how good the technology gets" is clearly unfounded.

Re:Broadway? (3, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552786)

I've met a fair few classical music fans who prefer MIDI versions of various piano repertoire to human performances. Some of them are musicians themselves.

Re:Broadway? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552924)

If it's just piano and it's well-programmed then you can get quite good results. Piano synthesis seems well-explored compared to most other instruments.

Re:Broadway? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552974)

You are probably talking about MIDI performances that are actually live recordings of pianists playing the works on high quality MIDI keyboards that feature aftertouch and all the enhanced features and effects that MIDI can record. I doubt if it's MIDI files that Dopey Joe coded in using a mouse and a Piano-roll MIDI editor.

Re:Broadway? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553030)

No, I'm talking about the sort of MIDI output you get from e.g. Sibelius or Lilypond. I think the issue is that a great deal of modern piano repertoire is so grand and complex that merely human players are not capable of playing it as the composer wrote it. Sure, a human performance may hold interest in that you can watch a musician struggle with the piece (and fail), and Ferneyhough has made a career of writing music where the human performer is forced to choose what parts he'll leave out in order to concentrate on the remainder, and so every performer fails differently. But when it comes to hearing a New Complexity or Ligeti piano work performed the way it was written, there's no substitute for MIDI generated from the score.

Re:Broadway? (1)

mitchells00 (1181549) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553094)

Again, musicians with little or no passion, mostly just a competition to see who can do it better. Excellent way to compare orchestras with synths.

Re:Broadway? (1)

mitchells00 (1181549) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553022)

First I would like to set the record straight that I am in no way a spiritual person, nor do I believe in any extra forces or any junk like that. However, I do recognise the incredibly overcoming sensation of sensory overload which only occurs at times of ecstatic passion. A state of mind where nothing else exists except the source of the sense stimulation that overpowers your brain and controls every aspect of you even just for a moment; true passion. Almost everybody can feel this sensation when they "make love", but those who are lucky to feel it when they make music, paint, mould clay or speak charismatically, any form of what one would call "art", can only be called true musicians, artists, sculptors and public speakers respectively. This feeling can also be experienced by people who share that passion, even if they aren't involved in the process themselves, and this is what I am talking about. Just because you can skillfully play an instrument, doesn't mean you're a good musician. If you want good examples of this, watch+compare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKKd0PZd8sk [youtube.com] and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL2kuX4o0UM [youtube.com] compare the emotion you feel when listening to the two. Yes, the first is more skilled, but you can clearly hear that he is passionate about how he plays it, he stresses the tense sentences, he fluffs the light soft sentences; his body is propelled almost uncontrollably from side to side... there is more to playing an instrument than just getting it right.

Re:Broadway? (3, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553068)

Yes the synths can sound very convincing, but they're just not the same thing. They don't have the level of human error and randomness built in.

IIRC during the early 1970s one of the prog rock bands (I think it was Yes) had an early analogue synth that was extremely tempramental and unreliable. One evening in the middle of a concert it picked up a radio transmission of an announcer reading out the football results.

Now, you were saying...? :-)

And they are hard to make sound good (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553274)

I play around with sampled music all the time because it is a lot of fun, and I CAN'T afford to hire out an orchestra just to goof around. If you want to check it out go to soundsonline.com, they are the samples I like. Very realistic. You can do some amazingly realistic performances with them too... But it is a real pain. To do so you have to spend a lot of time programming (MIDI programming, not computer programming). It requires a lot of adjusting what sample is used, the various data (modulation, expression, etc) sent to the sampler and so on. So you probably can make something that sounds convincingly real, if you spend a lot of time.

However with a musician, you just tell them what you want and they give it to you. You can say "Make it sadder," or "I need this part to be light, this part to be heavy." You can be vague and use emotional terms, and they can handle that and give you what you want.

So unless you are really skilled with your sequencer and have tons of time on your hands, you aren't going to get a highly realistic sound. I sure can't. I can get it pretty realistic, which is all I want for fooling around, but I could have something sound much better and much more like I want just by giving it to an orchestra along with some instructions. As it stands I can spend an hour choosing string samples and mixing them to try and get the sound I want, where a real strings section would take 5 minutes and get it right on.

Re:Broadway? (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552754)

Why aren't they doing what broadway did [slashdot.org] ? They can replace the musicians with synthesizers and record MORE music to protect copyrights.

Because Turing-machines can't produce art.

Great! (5, Insightful)

FritzTheCat1030 (758024) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552720)

This is great news, but that's 26 complete symphonies, probably something along the lines of 17 hours of music (at an average of 40 minutes each...that's probably a little low actually). Add in rehearsal times and I have serious doubts about the feasibility of doing this for $13,000. I wish them luck, but I'd rather have less music at a higher quality than more with an amateur-level ensemble.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552800)

It is entirely possible that the bulk of funding is going to the actual hiring of equipment/rehearsal space etc.. and many most or all of the musicians involved are donating their time/effort to the project.

Re:Great! (2, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552926)

If you read the project description, you'll see that they are in fact hiring an orchestra to do this. Nothing wrong with that IMO.

If anyone is unhappy with the quality of the performers they hire.... recruit your own. That's what the public domain is all about.

Re:Great! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552988)

Gotta feeling there's a musician's union or two that may say otherwise.

That's a bit of an arrogant assumption (2, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552876)

Did you ever think that maybe the people involved are highly skilled professionals who are doing this for their love of the music and all time and resources are being volunteered? If that's the case, $13,000 can go a long way. To just assume that the people are cheap amateurs is ridiculously short-sighted.

Re:Great! (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552956)

That's what I was thinking too, in the comments it was asked but the answers are fuzzy:

1. What orchestra(s) are you planning on using
2. Who is conducting?
3. Who is mixing the recording?

1. orchestra depends on total raised. I'm hoping for a mixture of conservatories + professional orchestra to lower cost and increase total music, but it depends on what we can negotiate and the total raised. Some orchestras we are considering include London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic and several others that regularly record movie soundtracks.
2. I have several contacts who would conduct for free, I'd also like to try contacting some well known conductors to see if they would be interested. My backup would be a for hire's conductor that orchestras use to record with
3. Several orchestras we've spoken to include those kinds of services as they regularly record for movie soundtracks

I read that as "might possibly be considering it for one of them if we exceed our budget, I doubt you'll get the London Symphony to record it for $500/symphony...

Re:Great! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553040)

Given that these are famous symphonies, it's entirely possible that no rehearsal time is required, as the orchestra has probably performed them before. They are probably offering a seriously reduced rate as well - given the distribution that public domain recordings are likely to receive, the amount of publicity they'd receive is likely to be worth a lot to them.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553268)

Given that these are famous symphonies, it's entirely possible that no rehearsal time is required, as the orchestra has probably performed them before. They are probably offering a seriously reduced rate as well - given the distribution that public domain recordings are likely to receive, the amount of publicity they'd receive is likely to be worth a lot to them.

As I asked in another post, do we even know what orchestra they're planning on hiring? Does musopen even know yet? As for the claim that they may not even need to rehearse, I take it you've never played in an orchestra before. We're talking about 26 full pieces here. Unless these are full-time musicians from a fairly well-known orchestra, they're not going to know these pieces through and through. Regardless of how well known these works are, any sensible orchestra will do at least one or two read-throughs beforehand, as there are a lot of intricate parts that need to be perfected (both on the performer's and conductor's sides). I'm curious to see how this all works out.

Not so fast (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552812)

Dear Sir or Madame,

I represent the estate of Mr. Ludwig van Beethoven.

We see that you have downloaded a copy of Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven from www.musopen.com. Enclosed is a bill for $500, payable immediately.

We are aware that the site you have downloaded our client's work from represents it to be "copyright-free"; however, the musicians who recorded this work did so only after listening to a copyrighted recording of our client's work. Thus, this new work is a derivative work of Mr. Beethoven's and is covered under our copyright.

regards,

H. G. Reckshun, Esq.
Dewey, Cheatham, Howe, and Reckshun

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra free 10 symphonies (2, Informative)

hessian (467078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552856)

MusOpen has a great idea and I am glad to see them pursuing it. Since I've started buying classical music, I've found I'm getting more enjoyment per work than I ever did with popular music.

Before MusOpen, there was the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's giveaway of 10 symphonies:

http://kco.radio4.nl/index.php?lang=en [radio4.nl]

http://www.concertgebouworkest.nl/page.ocl?pageid=109&lang=en [concertgebouworkest.nl]

My favorites are the Schubert, Saint-Saens, Bruckner and Beethoven.

Re:Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra free 10 symphonie (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552910)

Those are MP3-only (not lossless), and they don't appear to be anything close to public domain. I don't see any mention of a license. Registration is required, and I believe redistribution is verboten.

Re:Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra free 10 symphonie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552946)

You are essentially selling your personal information for a downloadable copy of a performance. That may be free in the sense that you don't have to part with any money, but it is not free as in you get something for nothing.

Re:Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra free 10 symphonie (2, Interesting)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553126)

The BBC tried this in the UK with a set of free-as-in-beer Beethoven symphonies. The music industry whined about it and the typically gutless response of the BBC Trust was to promise never to do it again:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23652107-end-this-downloads-ban.do [thisislondon.co.uk]
http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/070207-NL-downloads.html [scena.org]

Let the computer play it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552858)

Most classical music, unlike other types, is strongly mathematical. The beauty comes from various mathematical properties of the music.

Since computers are better at math than humans, a computer playing it would do a better job than a human.

Re:Let the computer play it (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553210)

Spoken like someone who doesn't know jack shit about classical music. Even for music from the Baroque period, which is perhaps the closest to what you describe, the pathos of human musicians is critical.

Re:Let the computer play it (1)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553226)

Not too familiar with classical music, are we? It's okay. I'd probably post as AC too if that's all I had to contribute to the discussion.

it's about the performances (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552874)

While I certainly applaud what they're doing, I just wanted to point out that classical music is generally about the quality of the performances themselves. So what orchestra are they hiring? How much practice/exposure to some of these pieces will they have? Will they be sight-reading some of them? It will be nice to have recordings out there that are free of any copyright issues, but it won't mean much if the performances are mediocre or have glaring mistakes (wrong notes, missed entrances, etc). I'm curious if anyone has asked any city/community or college orchestras if they'd be interested in releasing some of their recordings into the public domain.

Classical is one big copyright trick (5, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33552916)

Most symphony orchestras get taxpayer support. When they record, it's often subsidised by the federal government, or state and local ones. In many cases, the people who manage and broker deals for these orchestras artificially split the funding, so that all the necessary preliminaries to album sales are supposedly based on private investment/contributions. They treat it like all the practice sessions for a live performance are taxpayer subsidised, but the practice sessions for the album are paid for by private sources, so that the law is technically being observed. It's part of that whole "socialise the costs and privatise the profits" school of economics. It makes no sense as a matter of fact instead of law - does anyone really want to claim that they practiced the same piece for live performance and recording, but only put the part of that practice that was funded by one method or the other into their performances. "Yeah, I deliberately held back on that Oboe cadenza, so it didn't sound like all the practice I had contributed to my leet symphonizing skillz!".
          What the federal government funds is normally held in the public trust, not subject to copyright. I know several symphony soloists and conductors who are generally uncomfortable with this legal ruse, and have heard accounts of many more. Most orchestras don't have the stature to sell a lot of recordings, and taxpayer funding generally takes any profit from CD sales into account, so it seldom benefits the performers much, if at all. It's more likely they see the same overall pay, with a shift in just when they get each check because some of it is coming as royalties after sales figures are processed. It makes bookkeeping for symphonies much more complex, and some managing directors see it as a big gamble, where they might get lucky and see really impressive sales, but doing classical music at the major orchestra level isn't gambling to most people, it's a steady job with a safe floor for income. Just like some people in rock/pop/rap/whatever become studio musicians because they want a steady paycheck instead of a high risk venture, people who shoot for a job in the second row violins for the New York Philharmonic want a reliable career instead of a 1 in 10,000 chance of a mansion with leopard skin covered volleyball courts.

Raising money Fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33552954)

I just saw the money raised jump a hundred dollars in under a minute...

I have zero problem with what they're doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553048)

and I bet that Deutsche Grammaphone (sic?), Columbia, and the other major labels don't either. If anything, this will increase the population of classical music listeners which will help the record companies.

However, it remains to be seen whether the results will be interesting to serious listeners.

People on a budget might want to check out Naxos, a small label which records excellent orchestras performing their in-season repertoire (not rush jobs) and sells the output for well under $10 per CD. The orchestras are usually not those considered "first tier" by the general public, and the conductors and soloists are not celebrities, but the quality is generally very high.

Pointless. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553144)

I'm curious where they plan on finding the orchestra to play this music with such a small budget. People still need to be paid for their time and effort. Then there's finding a proper studio with high quality recording equipment. That isn't cheap and plopping down a microphone on stage isn't going to cut it. And who will decide how the music will be played? What interpretation will they follow? Things get complicated quite quickly.

Then there's the matter of the ultimate format these compositions would be provided in. What are they going to use, AAC or some other crap-quality lossy format? That alone would defeat the purpose of this whole exercise. If they devised a process for disseminating this music, on CD or better yet, SACD or DVD audio, perhaps there might be something here. But it's unlikely that will ever happen.

The reasons I indicated above is why it costs money to buy a classical music recording. Simply because a score is copyright-free doesn't mean that this music suddenly becomes free to play, record and distribute. And it's already trivial to go online and find any of these compositions anyway.

Good music anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33553168)

Instead of performing crappy music, why don't they pay them to record some good music? Just a thought...

This won't be in the public domain (3, Interesting)

phiz187 (533366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33553220)

Under U.S. law, these commissioned works won't be in the public domain. There is no way to "create" a work into the public domain. Work only enters the public domain upon expiration of the copyright term. (The one way to create a work into the public domain, is that governmental works are not subject to copyright.)

What the project can do is create a contractual license that says that all-comers are granted a perpetual, non-exclusive license. Even then, presumably the resulting works would be works of joint authorship [university...fornia.edu] , with copyright residing in all of the authors. And under the reversion provisions [wired.com] of US copyright law, those orchestra members, or their families, could have the licenses terminated after about 30 years.
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