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Re: [ARSCLIST] "The Sound Of History" with Martin

Martin Fisher wrote:
Hi Guys,

Thought this might be of interest. Hope I didn't spread too much misinformation. :-)

You did fine, but she was a work of art. Caruso was a BARITONE???????? You and she never did get together about her insistence of the use of the word acetate because she was really meaning shellac!!! Explain to her when you have a chance that the records that break like grandmas plates when you drop them are shellac.

There are NO recordings of War of the World that were recorded by amateurs from distant stations and faded in and out. You are right to explain to her that differences were built in, but nothing in the show or the recordings fades in and out like distant reception. (Ironically I have a tape of the 1968 repeat of the WKBW modernization that a former student of mine recorded in New Jersey from the Buffalo NY station and there are fade ins and outs due to atmospherics, but this is NOT EVIDENT on ANY of the versions of the 1938 War of the World in circulation. Then she says "It is not as if they had sophisticated sound effects to work with" HUH??? They had very sophisticated sound effects at CBS in 1938.

Yes you are right that there is more surface hiss on the cylinders that you record now compared with the ones Edison manufactured, but the recording itself is more immediate and sounds like there are more highs and lows than on an early cylinder. Did you replay the cylinder electrically here? Is that CD she mentioned of the cylinders and the simultaneous electronic recordings available? You might remember that I electrically recorded (and videotaped) when Peter Dilge recorded the Fisk singers on cylinder at ARSC in Nashville. I've done it a couple of other times with Peter. The first take I did had my mic hanging down in front of the horn and I quickly realized that we could hear the horn resonances and the surface noise of the cylinder being cut!! So I moved the mic to about two inches above the bell of the horn to get the same perspective of the musicians as the horn did but not get the effects of the horn. If you need a purpose for using this antique equipment besides "It's Fun!", the understanding of what the acoustical performers heard in the horn while making the recordings is an important reason.

Good for you saying that they could edit on disc and that some places continued to use discs after Crosby had started to use tape. (and Ampex was not a German company as she claimed, and we would still have had tape even if Crosby did not push it.)

When she started asking whether it was important how Teddy Roosevelt sounded, I started wondering if she had read the arguement over on 78-L a couple of weeks ago about is listening to TR on a wind-up was listening to TR or to the phonograph itself (or the machine's version of TR.)

Mike Biel mbiel@xxxxxxxxx

Right click show for March 29, 2009 to download podcast or left click to play.

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