I would like to share a one of the assessment methods that I developed over the years and that I use for evaluation of playback system potency. I call it “The Beethoven Test”.
It is know that many compositions in music have direct, indirect or sometimes very hazy references to other compositions. In many instances a characteristic phrasing, a peculiar sequence of dynamic, a distinctive sequence of notes and many other things might clearly refer to habits of other composer, other cultures, or other compositions. This is all well known. What is not well known is the fact that playback might moderate the amplitude of those musical references: one playback (amplifier, speaker etc…) would highlight that the specific phasing was “borrowed” and another playback would mask out the borrowing fact, presenting the given phrasing for instance more as the original intention born with this give paces. Sure, it is still recognizable but I am talking about the impact to the listening consciousness – in one case it more actively activate mind’s intellectual acknowledgment of the musical “quotation” then in other case.
I have to warn that the ability of a playback to emphasize or not the borrowed music is not a simple vote up and down but rather a complex characteristic. I would not say that a better playback more distinctively or less distinctively portray the “quotation”. A better playback rather has to have an ability to make “own” decision about the appropriateness of the given “quotation” and the validity of the specific performance of the “quotation”. Toward to this end a playback shell “read” the performing objectives, if not to “read” then at least not to violate them – very few playbacks can handle it… So, generally: a better playback is the one that treats better “quotations” in case they sensibly performed as the own originals music but ONLY in context of a given musical work. A better playback also shell throw alarming messages about the “quotations” in case if the work insensibly composed or poorly performed.
Anyhow, why I call this the “Beethoven Test”. Well, magnitude of Beethoven was a figure that impacted generations and generations of composers and there were tons of references to Beethoven in countless composers after him, particularly in classical and romantic periods. Sort of: “If you cannot beat him the join him”…
Rgs, Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche