iTunes Exposes Classical Music Hoax

from the gotcha dept

The classical music world has been thrown into a tizzy by the revelation that the recordings of an acclaimed, dead pianist are actually the work of a hoax. Shortly before her death, the British pianist Joyce Hatto was proclaimed by some to be the "the greatest living pianist that almost no one has heard of" upon the release of her recordings. But according to a sound engineer working on behalf of a classical music magazine, all 100 of her CDs can be attributed to other artists. What's really fascinating about the story is how the hoax was discovered. Apparently a critic of the magazine put one of her CDs into iTunes and found that iTunes identified the recording as belonging to another artist. iTunes is able to identify an album by the comparing the duration of its tracks against a database of known albums. When the critic put in another one of Hatto's CDs, iTunes again attributed it to another pianist. It was only then that the magazine decided to consult experts, who confirmed that the recordings were not original. Of course, Hatto's husband who created a record label solely to distribute his late wife's work claims to have "no idea" why the tracks seem so similar to other people's recordings.

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  • identicon
    kneeL, 20 Feb 2007 @ 6:33pm

    first post! bam!

    Weird. Usually pianists, though, often perform others' tunes and release them. This one needs ALOT more followup information i think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Matt, 20 Feb 2007 @ 8:11pm

      Re: first post! bam!

      KneeL, you're missing the point...

      What the article says is that Ms. Hutto had been taking recordings from other pianists AND PASSING THEM OFF AS HER OWN RECORDINGS.

      What you're thinking is, "Hm. So she's recorded Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5. Where's the foul?"

      The problem is that she has taken, say, Claudio Arrau's recordings, and then slapped her name on them and released them as being her performances.

      I can only imagine the fun that the lawyers will have on this one...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brian Carnell, 20 Feb 2007 @ 6:51pm

    Hatto

    Gramophone has some of the details that kneeL and others may be wanting:

    http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTemplate.asp?storyID=2759&newssectionID=1

    Fas cinating how so many people fell for this hoax based apparently (given the revelation that it was a hoax) solely on the apparent obscurantism of Hatto's latter "recordings."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 20 Feb 2007 @ 9:30pm

    Wow

    Her estate (I suppose that being her husband) will be sued into oblivion. But this time I think that if it is proven she has been passing off someone else's work as her own then shame on her.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    iTuneYouOut, 20 Feb 2007 @ 11:52pm

    response to "Wow"

    "she has been passing off someone else's work as her own", incase you haven't noticed... "she" is dead, and therfore her husband would be the one passing these things off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2007 @ 12:17am

      Re: response to "Wow"

      did this start b4 or after she died? the husband really might not know.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sanguine Dream, 21 Feb 2007 @ 4:28am

      Re: response to "Wow"

      Yes I did notice. And it case you haven't noticed she may have set this up before she passed away and the husband my not know the truth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sohrab, 21 Feb 2007 @ 2:14am

    ...wow..lol. Go iTunes

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2007 @ 6:13am

    Why is iTunes getting all the credit for this? It is CDDB that did the discovering, lots of Music programs do look ups with CDDB this guy just happended to be using iTunes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    B, 21 Feb 2007 @ 7:56am

    Wait a minute

    In the Gramophone article they say that iTunes/CDDB identifies one Hatto disc as being by an artist named Laszlo Simon. Later they say that the sound engineer analyzed the recordings and said that 10 of the 12 tracks were identical to Simon's recordings. Another one was identical to an artist named Nojima and the last one was unattributed.

    So then Hatto's release was a compilation of sorts yet CDDB matched it to the work of a single artist. I know all it is doing is comparing the number of tracks with the duration of the disc, so there are bound to be false positives, but it makes me wonder about the circumstances that set this whole thing in motion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Harvey, 21 Feb 2007 @ 10:30am

    CDDB is not a good test for this...

    The disc ids used for CDDB are based on the number of tracks on a CD and their durations. If two people legitimately recorded the same classical pieces in the same style and tempo, the CDs would appear identical to CDDB. There are many CDs (with completely different songs and genres) in CDDB that look similar enough to be the same.

    In this case, however, CDDB let's you know enough that you can then compare the actual data in the tracks to see if they're the same.

    To sum up, CDDB doesn't use the actual music itself to generate its ids. It just uses the CD table of contents.

    From wikipedia: "Critics charge that the field listings for CDDB are inadequate for the inclusion of proper identification of classical music recordings."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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