HiveBloPoMo Day 4 - The Complete William Tell Overture


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    Published on Nov 04, 2021
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    So I might be cheating a little with this particular post, but it is something I have wanted to do for some time.

    This is the entirety of the William Tell Overture - all four parts - as performed by Arthur Pryor's band in 1910.

    Music was recorded acoustically before 1925, when electric recording and amplifying was finally available. Prior to 1925 recording was the equivalent of using a megaphone; to get louder, the band had to literally get louder.

    The records at the time were made of shellac, which is a very hard material, and were limited to about 4 minutes of play time per side. The entire Overture was recorded onto two records, one part per side. Nicely, each part was less than four minutes, so the entire overture fit very nicely.

    These Victrola phonographs were - and are - pretty fantastic, though the competing Edison Diamond Disc players did, at the time, have a superior sound. The Victrola's inferior sound was due in large part to the steel stylus; because the records were made of shellac (which, as stated, is a very hard material), the steel needles had to be replaced after every play due to wear and tear: the sharp needle would literally become dull, like a dull pencil, and would wear out the grooves on the record. To play this overture I really did use four distinct steel needles. The Edison phonographs, in contrast, using a diamond stylus on a thicker record and with a differen type of "music reproducer."

    You'll notice that I closed the lid when the records were playing; this keeps the sound from escaping and, instead, echoes it back into the horn to give a more full sound. Volume control is performed by opening or closing the doors on the front. This was high end technology at the time.

    Contrary to popular belief, Rossini did not, in fact, write the Overture for either Looney Tunes or the Lone Ranger. It was actually written over 100 year prior.

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