Huberman’s Canzonetta

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2014 – Performance analysis of Bronislaw Huberman’s Canzonetta by Tchaikovsky.

How can one notate the performance choices that make each recording of a piece of music unique? Knowing that Bronislaw Huberman performed on the same violin that Joshua Bell plays today, can performance choices of the past be re-expressed, re-created? Finally, how did recording technologies of the past influence performance choices, especially the use of timbre? In this analysis, a number of different recordings of Huberman playing the same piece were investigated.

Brunswick (1923):

Columbia via Pearl (1928):


Joshua Bell, Sony (2005):

What sounds old?

A 4000 Hz cutoff not only limits the reproduction of violin timbre, but also limits the reproduction of bowing and fingering articulations which have broadband, noise-like qualities. Here is a completely unaltered, modern recording:

Here is the same recording with the 4000 Hz cutoff:

Additional information can be found here.