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Scarlatti Sonatas on the Bösendorfer Imperial
Last post Wed, Aug 26 2020 by Louisc, 6 replies.
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Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2020 13:41
by Louisc
Joined on Fri, Sep 10 2004, Posts 13

Hello all,

I recently worked on a series of Scarlatti piano sonatas that I did on the Bösendorfer Imperial.

They're all sequenced (very carefully) and nothing was actually played by hand. They're based on performances from different artists that I found represent best the spirit of each individual piece. I tried to provide an intimate "private concert" type of ambiance and used as little reverberation as possible.

The sonatas can be found here:


Any comment would of course be greatly appreciated.


Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2020 15:18
by FRG
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2014, Posts 38

A great job, exquisite and very good rendition.

I would like to know, if each piece you work on a single track or divide into several, in that case, one for each hand or create even more tracks.

Thank you very much, you have made my last hours at work more pleasant. ;)

Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2020 16:05
by Louisc
Joined on Fri, Sep 10 2004, Posts 13

Hello FRG,

Thank you very much for the nice comment!

It's all done on a single track.

Surprisingly, the most critical part is really the tempo track. If not done properly the performance will never sound convincing. It's amazing how tempo can change dramatically from one measure to the next, even from one note to the next.

After that, velocity is obviously very important, as it defines the overall mood of the piece and must be carefully controlled to convey the subtle nuance of each and every note. Note length is not as critical, but nevertheless has to be controlled as well, and is mostly important for short and very short (staccato) notes. Random variations of velocity and note duration is an absolutely necessity for series of repeating notes, as it would occur with any regular performance.

Thanks again!

Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2020 18:01
by FRG
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2014, Posts 38

Thanks for the detailed explanation.

You're right, the tempo track is essential, in my musical mockups it ends up looking a lot like the New York skyline, I was also very surprised to discover it. It takes a long time to get a convincing tempo, usually I save it for the end, except if there is a very notorious passage like ritardando or similar.

I have barely done one or two piano pieces so far, I will take note of what you have commented, thank you


Posted on Wed, Aug 26 2020 14:51
by Seventh Sam
Joined on Sat, Dec 29 2018, Posts 343

These sound fantastic!  There's so much attention to detail.  The fact that you didn't play these in is - to me - really, really impressive.  Thank you for sharing these.

Your point about tempo mapping is well taken, and valuable advice.  If I may ask, what mic settings, levels, and EQ/reverb/compression/etc. did you end up using?  That these come through on my crappy laptop speakers crystal clear (and on Soundcloud, no less!) is an achievement in and of itself.

Hats off,

- Sam

Posted on Wed, Aug 26 2020 18:58
by Louisc
Joined on Fri, Sep 10 2004, Posts 13

Hello Sam,

Thank you very much for your appreciation of my work!

To answer you questions the best I can:

- No compression was used at all

- Mic/Reverb was, as I mentioned, kept to a minimum:
  * Condenser at -3dB
  * Mid 2 at 0 dB
  * Main at -3dB to + 3dB (usually around -2dB/-3dB) depending of each piece, to control overall room reverb
  * Surround at -3dB (not at all necessary, used just for sweetening)
  * No Reverb (-inf on all channels)

- EQ is different for each piece and is used to try to match the performance that was used as a reference. Here are some examples:
  * K.27: (BP 300Hz at +4.5dB / Q ff 1.7) + (BP 590 Hz at +4dB / Q of 0.5)
  * K.162: No EQ
  * K.380: (LowShelf: 138Hz at +6dB) + (BP 292 Hz at +6dB / Q of 0.64) + (BP 1.5 KHz at +5dB/ Q of 1.4) + (LP 3.5KHz 6dB/oct / Q of 0.7)
  * K.431: (BP 540Hz at +4dB / Q of 0.71)

As you can see, it's all fairly straightforward.


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