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الموضوع: Old member checking back in

  1. #1
    تاريخ التسجيل
    Sep 2019

    إفتراضي Old member checking back in

    Dear all,

    It's been a while since I last checked in. Some of you may remember me as the troublemaker of the forum.
    For the new members, you can call me Bassio, and I am particularly interested in Egyptian Nahda recordings of 1900-1930s.
    IMO, the greatest Egyptian singer **of all time** is Abdel Hay Hilmi.

    I am glad to be back here and be in the company of old pals (old as from a long time ago, not as in "agouz").

    Due to, what I believe, the effort of members of this forum (and I assume others), Nahda recordings have since spread online, compared to the early days of the internet.
    The knowledge and documentation of Nahda recordings and artists have significantly improved, and therefore (I hope) people's interests in them have also improved.
    However, as abu-alaa always says, there is still more space for improvement.
    Social media have helped spread recordings, but with no proper documentation, verification, or artistic/academic discourse.

    Uploading recordings have been used, in lots of instances, as a form of gate-keeping, signaling or commercialism.
    But against all odds, this forum has kept its purity and mission over the years.

    And since this forum is all about activity, these are my (current) interests/ideas that I hope to start working on sometime in the next few months:

    1) Indexing and metadata record-keeping
    Fred has done most of the hard work for this.
    However, as far as I am aware (and you could correct me on this if I am mistaken), his discography pdfs are supplied as typewriter typed scanned PDFs, that are difficult to OCR.
    They are also available only as links on zamanalwasl and I am not aware they are widely available, perhaps because of copyright reasons?
    Anyhow important metadata as label, recording dates, matrix numbers, performers, references etc. should be catalogued in an organized and accessible format.
    The platform / file format should be easily searchable.
    The use of an *open source* collaborative platform (like github) will allow to keep this document or ledger open to corrections by interested parties.
    I will need to research what is the data format that easy to use and comprehensive.

    2) Comparative analysis
    This is the main reason why Zaman al Wasl exists and is the real reason why this forum remains a treasure amongst all other forums.
    The recent thread instigated by AmrB on "Ba'ad el khesam hebby estalah" is a great example.
    Comparative analysis includes comparing various renditions by the same artist, and comparing renditions by different artists.
    My knowledge is quite poor, (and my ears have dried up, even for picking up the simplest maqam modulations, since I have been away from 1/4 tone music for a while).
    But I will see what I can do.

    AMAR podcasts were great, but alas the last episode was in 2017. Any insider updates from AMAR on this?

    3) Recording speeds
    This is not an exact science, but I think more effort should be put into comtemplating what is actually the correct speed and pitch of a recording should be.
    Honestly, Nahda recordings on youtube and online tend to be slow.
    Hilmi's recordings suffer a lot from this.
    I heard recordings posted online as "with the new authoritative speed", so slow.. that the flow of music and the singer's tone are so warped.
    I am intending to start a new thread on Recording Speed soon.

    In Egypt, there is a phrase or saying called "3zoomet marakbeyya". I pray my post would not end up being one of these.

  2. #2
    تاريخ التسجيل
    Jan 2008


    أولا، حمداً لله على سلامتك وعود أحمد!

    ثانيا، سأترك التعليق على النقطتين الأولى والثانية للنقاش الموضوعي، خصوصاً أنك بدأت بالفعل تناقش بعض المشاركات القديمة. أمَّا النقطة الثالثة، بخصوص السرعات، فأحب أن أقترح على الجميع اقتراحاً أظنه سيكفينا هذا المسألة إلى الأبد. صارت الآن توجد تطبيقات محمولة تتيح آنيا تغيير السرعة فقط، أو الطبقة فقط، أو السرعة والطبقة معاً بالتناسب. أي أنَّك بلمسة واحدة يمكن أن تغيِّر سرعة ما تسمع فوراً، دون المعاناة مع الانتظار بجوار أوداسيتي أو غيره حتى صدور ملف جديد قد تحتاج إلى ضبطه مجددا، وهكذا دواليك. وفضلا عن ميزة الاستماع إلى أي قطعة بسرعتك المفضلة، فلهذه التطبيقات ميزة كبرى في التعلم والمصاحبة للعازفين، حيث لم أعد مضطراً إلى تغيير دوزان العود لمصاحبة أي قطعة بعينها، بل أغير دوزان القطعة نفسها. كما أنني أستعين بهذه التطبيقات لتبيُّن مفاصل القطع بإبطاء سرعتها، أو لمراقبة تأثير تغيير الدوزان (مثلا بين راحة الأرواح والهزام) أو بين طبقة الدوزان التركي وطبقة الدوزان العربي.

    التطبيق الذي أستخدمه على أندرويد اسمه
    Music Speed Changer
    وهو مجاني لكن يمكن التخلص من الإعلانات بشراء النسخة المدفوعة بسعر زهيد. وهناك عدَّة تطبيقات أخرى متاحة لأندرويد وغيره.

    وبشأن ضبط سرعة تسجيلات عبد الحي دون سواه، لاحظت عموماً فيما يتعلق بكلٍّ عبد الحي حلمي وصالح عبد الحي أنهما يغنيان الراست من الفا على دوزان ناقص نصف بعد (أحب أن أسميه الدوزان العربي القديم لكن لست متأكداً من ذلك). بمعنى أنَّ درجة ركوز الراست بالدوزان الغربي هي المي E، ودرجة ركوز البياتي هي الفا دييز F#. وعند بعض المطربين الآخرين، يكون الدوزان ناقصاً بعداً طنينيًّا كاملا وهو حسب حوارات سابقة مع أبي علاء الدوزان المعمول به في تونس في أداء الموسيقى العربية (المصرية؟) القديمة، ويسمونه (دوكاه راست)، أي أن درجة الدوكاه التي يفترض أن تستقر على الري D، تستقر على الدو C، أو على الطبقة التي يُفترض أن تستقر عليها درجة الراست.

    وللتحوُّط، أنا لم أطبِّق هذا التمرين على جميع تسجيلات الأفندي صالح وخاله، لكن في كل الحالات التي طبقته فيها بدا لي أنَّ السرعة الطبيعية هي التي تتحقق إذا ضبطت الطبقة بهذه الطريقة.

    وعلى أي حال، فأنا أنصح الجميع باستخدام التطبيقات المذكورة، وليشغِّل كلٌّ الملفات بالسرعة التي تريحه، فهي مسألة تتفاوت بين تقدير شخص وآخر، بل وقد تتفاوت في تقدير الشخص الواحد في اليوم الواحد.

  3. #3
    تاريخ التسجيل
    Mar 2006
    Paris, France


    Dear Bassio

    Alf hamdellah 3ala l-salama !

    I will comment on the two issues that were raised :

    - Concerning the discographies I prepared : those were part of my doctoral thesis, submitted in 1995. The work was done in the early 1990s. In these ancient times, pre-Windows, in a past century, the computer I was working on was an Amstrad home computer, more of a word processing than a computer actually, since this was before the internet became a current way of communication. When I switched to a mac in around 1998, there was no way to recover the data from the Amstrad sloppy disks : they advertise they could transfer it to windows format, but for some reason, it did only work for some fonts ans size of characters, not for others. To make a long story short, this pioneer work only exists now as a picture pdf, and characters are too small, quality is too low for effective OCR.
    Now, one must consider that this work needs improving : apart from the (very) few mistakes or misprints, there are obvious shortcomings :
    - the matrix number of Gramophone and Odeon recordings is not mentioned, because I had no way to find it and was not knowledgeable enough in the 1989-1992 period to note it down when I actually worked with the late Abd al-Aziz Inani.
    - records that have now been discovered and that were not mentioned in catalogues have been discovered
    - some catalogues have also been discovered (very few, unfortunately, the AMAR collection is not too rich in this field unfortunately)
    - many records have been found and allow to correct the maqam and genre info when missing or wrong
    So I do believe it now should be indeed a collective endeavour in some sort of an open source project where people can participate, correct, add, etc, just in the wikipedia way. My old work should just be the basic matter that needs to me amended.
    But who is going to enter all this information, and who is going to prepare the new framework for this ? I suggest AMAR should be the leader of this endeavour, but not alone. Let me speak to Kamal and Mustafa about this. I believe it needs funding.

    - concerning the speed issue, I have already made my points clear : (1) everyone is free to listen and enjoy at the speed they are comfortable with, as Amr pointed, since there are enough free or cheep programs around to alter the speed (2) for a "scientific approach" toward the right speed, let us not forget that these recordings were made in the infancy of commercial recording, and we will never have a correct idea of these artists' voice, the medium distorts it profoundly. Records do not have a stable speed either, from beginning to end of the side, since it was made with turntables operated by springs, with important irregularities and variation. (3) my conviction is that we should not slow down or speed up excessively, simply because 78rpm was the "normal" speed of a record. For the purpose of "packing up" more material on a side, the decision to reduce speed during recording could be taken by engineers, but it altered quality, and such a reduction must have been cautious, and probably never exceeded 10%, which means I suggest this is the extreme limit we should stick to in either way (speeding up or slowing down). But then again, the real issue is trying to have a constant speed from beginning to end of side : in the case of some records, wow and flutter can be extreme (the case of Salama Higazi's little-known dōr Asbaḥtu men wagdi comes to mind, and Mustafa Said had a lot of issues with this tricky one).

  4. #4
    تاريخ التسجيل
    Sep 2005
    Vienna, Austria


    ليس لي ما أضيف بخصوص مسألة السرعة على ما كتبه كلّ من عمرو وفريديريك، وهي مسألة حسمت من زمان فيما يخصّ المنتدى، إلاّ أن يأتينا فاتح بفتح جديد (لا أتوقّعه)، أمّا ما يصنعه الأستاذ عيسى متري فهو يدخل في دائرة الذائقة الشخصيّة كما صرّح لي هو نفسه بغضّ النظر عمّا يكتبه، وذا ما جوّزه عمرو وفريديريك وليس لأيّ منّا أن يحرّمه.
    أمّا عن مسألة الجرد والأرشفة فقد كان علاء ابني أعدّ منذ سنين تطوّعا تطبيقا لمصلحة المؤسّسة بطلب من كمال لهذا الغرض لكن لم يبلغني أنّ المؤسّسة استخدمت ذاك التطبيق قطّ ؛ وأتوقّع أن يكون صالحا لمثل هذا العمل الجماعيّ، واستخدامه سيسمح باكتشاف عيوبه ونقائصه ومن ثمّ تحسينه وتطويره من خلال إصدارات جديدة.
    أبو علاء

  5. #5
    تاريخ التسجيل
    Sep 2019


    Thank you all for the welcome.

    Your opinions on speed are to be respected and indeed is the most correct synopsis. I am still planning to open a thread on what could be used as guidance for speed (relative, again this is not exact science) but would be a topic for debate.

    Fred, I read with joy and amusement how you wrote your thesis and what has been involved in it! Again it is a great academic effort, and we owe it to you perhaps this part of heritage could have been dispersed. An effort I would hope we could update in a more 21-century digital way. But of course, I agree with you that your thesis and the pdfs uploaded here should only act as the central nidus for what could be a more inclusive and correct and updated effort.

    I am happy to help with as much as possible as I have some programming skills. I have been reading up on this recently and reading about various available software options, I will keep this updated.

    Abu-alaa perhaps if you could relay me to Alaa's contact details or his version of the database, perhaps (with minimal disruption to him, I assume he is a very busy man and may not be particularly interested in our very particular tastes in Art on Zaman al Wasl)

    Fred, keep us updated on your discussions with AMAR, but as far as my opinion goes, I think we can also always start this as an initiative with some of the active members (and perhaps online community) joining us in our cataloguing efforts once such that no one has the responsibility of entering in all the data (this would indeed be a magnanimous effort for one or even few persons).
    No harm in starting small!

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