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Topic: Virtual Broadway

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  1. #1

    Virtual Broadway

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    I listened to an NPR (US National; Public Radio) piece last night about the potential Broadway musicians strike. Apparently the people who hire musicians want to remove a contract clause that requires a minimum number of musicians per show. This creates situations where they have to hire 20 musicians even if they only need 15 (union logic). The real issue though is the use of \"virtual orchestras\" as a partial or even complete replacement for musicians. The report played some live and virual music from Chicago.


    Broadway Musical Casts Prepare for Strike

    By MICHAEL KUCHWARA
    AP Drama Writer February 24, 2003, 7:08 PM EST

    NEW YORK -- The casts of several Broadway musicals start rehearsals this week with electronic equipment that could be used to provide accompaniment for shows in case there is a musicians strike.
    ...
    Among those musicals scheduling rehearsals with the so-called virtual orchestras -- computer-generated systems of music reproduction -- are two long-running blockbusters.
    http://www.nynewsday.com/entertainment/stage/sns-ap-theater-broadway-musicians0225feb24,0,399079.story?coll=nyc-manheadlines-stage

  2. #2

    Re: Virtual Broadway

    Imagine the cast party; five of engineers, two accountants, a producer and a case of Dr. Pepper.

    Gee, maybe the computer engineers can unionize?

  3. #3

    Re: Virtual Broadway

    Originally posted by csduke:
    This creates situations where they have to hire 20 musicians even if they only need 15 (union logic). The real issue though is the use of \"virtual orchestras\" as a partial or even complete replacement for musicians. The report played some live and virual music from Chicago.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hi, Craig:

    I believe, from almost the beginning, Broadway shows have had an arranged minimum number of musicians. This was originally done with the intent of guaranteeing the quality of the performance. Some were walkers---extras that were not needed for the show but were on-call substitutes in case of illness, etc. (Imagine going to see Oklahoma and the only musician that showed up that night was the tamborine player.) Since the early 1990\'s the union has been negotiating the minimum orchestra size for NY Broadway shows, so there\'s no news there. Don\'t know what they do in Chicago.

    The virtual orchestra is the real threat, as you pointed out. I think people have forgotten what true live performance is all about. Especially because they hear so much bad live performance and the real stuff is very expensive. That only leaves them one alternative.

    The symphony orchestra was the synthesizer of its day. And now the synthesizer is the orchestra of today.

    Live music is best. And yes, I\'m a member of AFM--Local 746. But not a Broadway musician.

    John

  4. #4

    Re: Virtual Broadway

    Originally posted by Lee Blaske:
    Dancers and choreographers like a high degree of predictability in their music.

    Lee Blaske
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hi, Lee:

    I like a lot of predictability in dancers, as well. Perhaps the choreographer could videotape them and play that back for the audience, too. Oh wait, it\'s already been done, it\'s called a movie. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    True, most people can\'t tell the difference between sound reinforced live and recorded. [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img] And I recall that situation developed because theater owners started putting bands in basement rooms, sometimes across the street in another building entirely, out of sight from the audience--circa 1980--so that another hundred seats could be crammed into the theater. Musicians lost that fight, too. The audience only heard piped-in live music. Next step, like the domino theory might predict, substitute recorded music for live.

    Frankly, live music is doomed on Broadway.
    Costs way too much and audiences don\'t perceive it to be an essential element of the performance.

    Eventually, sometime in the future, there will only be 100 authentic musicians. Cloned from ancient, gene-spliced DNA of long dead virtuoso performers, these 100 will be perpetually nourished by artifical means. Their inspired instrumental performances will be sampled over and over and over again to provide the world with pristine, perfect performance samples. And no one will know the difference. But, wait, the sample library developers only want to support 90. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    John

  5. #5

    Re: Virtual Broadway

    Hi all,

    why can\'t we just replace the producers, actors, singers, musicians etc. with computer generized performance/action?

    No really, this is so ridiciulus situation that I don\'t know if I should laugh or cry. I think I\'ll cry being musician myself. [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    Why do public think that musicians are replaceable with computers? Do we want mechanical music all the time? With no real feeling and expression? Are people today have less need to experience performance with heart and soul put into the work? Do we want the music played \"correctly\" all the time?

    I don\'t think that people understand that music isn\'t just the notes put on paper! It\'s the performer, the musician, which gives the music life, feeling and expression.

    What\'s happening to the world?

    Btw. I\'m all for the virtual orchestra concept for composers, so they can listen to their creation ASAP. But NOTHING can replace real orchestra! I want my pieces to be performed by live musicians not some mechanical \"junk\".

  6. #6

    Re: Virtual Broadway

    Originally posted by falcon1:

    why can\'t we just replace the producers, actors, singers, musicians etc. with computer generized performance/action?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Well soon we can replace the singers also.
    New VSTi from Yamaha coming soon called Vocaloid.
    More info: http://www.kvr-vst.com/news.php?id=914
    And some audio samples: http://www.perilith.com/~railed/vocaloid_demos/

    Well - as long as there isnt a Virtual Kazoo out Im happy [img]graemlins/tounge_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7

    Re: Virtual Broadway

    It\'s also strange that so many of the musicals are revivals--in a way themselves samples.

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