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Piano and Violin Duet Recording

Discussion in 'Piano' started by MicHead, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. MicHead

    MicHead Active Member

    Hello to all,

    I will be recording a Steinway "D" concert grand piano and violin recital in February. The stage is approximately 50' wide with proscenium arch at approx 20'-25' in height. The depth of the stage is approximately 40' from the front of the throat to the back wall. The stage will be clear. All surfaces are finished wood. I am in control of the session and the auditorium will be empty. I would like suggestions on instruments placement, and number, pattern and position of microphones. A coincident pair in the auditorium ceiling facing stage is also available for use.
    I've done similar recordings in the past but it seems each time I do it, I have more questions and concerns about the proper techniques. I always feel like there is always a lot more to learn. Thank you.

  2. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    What style of music is it? (i.e. classical or contemporary)
  3. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    A quick pointer to an article in the Sound on Sound magazine.


  4. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Forgot to ask... you said it was a 'recital'. Will there be an audience in the room? If so, the recommendations will be different, and you'll have other factors to consider - possibly including the visual impact of microphones on the stage.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yeah, I'm a tad confused as well. It's a recital, but the hall will be empty?

    Is this a dry run that they'll be recording? If that's the case, you're in luck.

    Chances are, the position which the instrumentalists will set up will be a good one for you to record. That is, they'll be recessed from the lip of the stage by maybe 6-8 feet (maybe a tad more) and the violinist will be at the tail of the piano facing towards the pianist. (This is probably the most common arrangement, but I've certainly seen others - including soloist behind pianist - soloist in bow of piano.)

    It's likely that the piano will be positioned with the player and keys upstage and the tail downstage and only slightly angled (maybe 30 degrees or so.) The violinist will likely be, again, positioned at the tail, but parallel with the pianist in relation to the front of the stage.

    Of course, they will be in constant eye contact.

    The absolute easiest way (and with good results) to record this arrangement (in my humble, omni-loving opinion) would be a spaced pair used to pick up the piano and some of the ambience of the violin. Then a spot mic for the violin - I would tend towards a directional mic, placed overhead aiming down towards the base of the bridge or slightly off onto the deck of the instrument.

    My personal choice as of lately would be the Beyer M130. It would offer a fair bit of side rejection so you could easily "tune out" the piano, and the sound on violin is silky smooth without any stridency.

    Another spot might be called for in the piano itself to assist with the percussive nature of the music. Blend it (or a stereo pair if you feel necessary - but be careful - two stereo pairs picking up the same instrument can really lead towards some funky sounding recordings...) in to add just the right touch of direct sound.

    As for the overhead spaced pair, I would go Schoeps, Gefell, or DPA and get the mics a good 8 to 10 feet above the instrument. Since the piano will be recessed on stage a bit anyway, you may have to get the mics right to the edge of the floor adjacent to the stage. You may be able to get greater distance though too.

    As for the lid - the violinist will probably have a preference, but I would lean them towards full stick if possible.

    Granted, in a performance situation, this might over power the violinist on some occassions, the sound difference on the recording is just WAY too much to be pleased with.

    Let us know how it turns out.

  6. MicHead

    MicHead Active Member

    The music is in the classical genre although I do not have the repertoire at this time. Sorry for the delay in reply.
  7. MicHead

    MicHead Active Member

    Thank You! I will check it out.
  8. MicHead

    MicHead Active Member

    Yes, sorry for the misleading info. The material was for a recital that will not happen. Instead they have chose to record the music only. I'm not sure of the final disposition at this time. Thanks for your reply.
  9. MicHead

    MicHead Active Member

    Thank You! First I am sorry for the confusion on the recital. It will be a recording only. There will be no audience. I absolutely like your instrument layout analysis and I've learned something from it. Maybe the angle might be a bit greater than say +35deg. so as to not have so much of his back to the audience. But it doesn't matter, since there will be no audience. But what stands out is the piano will sound on an angle towards the side wall instead of directly off the the rear wall of the space. I like it!
    Your choice of omnis are, I think very good for this project and will create a broad soundscape across L-R and fill the phantom source center area very well. And lastly I feel you have good taste in mics. I will have to use (2) Brauner Valvets over the piano and a Sony C-48 set to card. above the violin. Thanks so much for your thoughts.
  10. Jeff Smith

    Jeff Smith Guest

    I recorded a concert like this once, but in a much smaller space with, of course, an audience to contend with. I kept getting too much piano in the violin mic, so in a fit of inspired desperation, I threw a Sennheiser MKH 60 on a stand above the vioinist's shoulder pointing away from the piano. Worked pretty well.
    I had 414's on the piano, stereo, above the hammers and a couple of mics out in the room for blended sound.
    The clients were happy.

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