Music tweaking and Font tweaking

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Uli Stiehl's picture
Joined: 1 Feb 2006 - 8:02am
Music tweaking and Font tweaking

Having done much research about "font tweaking", I now came across this highly interesting similar "music tweaking" case, namely the music performance forgeries by Joyce Hatto, described in much detail here

and in dozens of other documents linked from this Wikipedia entry.

For instance, we read that the "music tweaking" (forging) of Chopin Mazurka performances was achieved thus:

"The CACD20012 release has added filtering, and the speeds of each performance pair vary slightly in the range of a few percent (+1.2%, -2.8%, and -0.7% for three sample mazurkas)."

This method of "music tweaking" (music forgery) is very similar to the method of "font tweaking" (Fred Smeijers).

At site we read:

"Smeijers introduces the term "font-tweaking," which he clearly doesn't think very much of, to describe the currently common process of simply taking an existing typeface and ringing a few obvious changes on it, then turning around and presenting it as a new design. Some of the results are simple rip-offs; others fall into a wide gray area - where does influence give way to plagiarism?"

see and similar sites.

Simon Daniels's picture
Joined: 11 Apr 2002 - 6:37pm

Comparing fonts to music is fun, but the example you give, comparing filtering or basic manipulation across these media is the least interesting aspect in my opinion. I think these may be less boring...

"Tracing" - which is kind of like buying (or photocopying) the sheet music, and recording your own version of the song. Requires more skill than filtering or tweaking but the results are almost always worse than the original.

"Playing by ear" - knowing the basic tune, and playing your own version, bringing your own voice to the recording. Depending on your skill you might improve upon the original. In the font world most people wouldn't look down on this practice.

Of course where comparisons fall down is the legal protection afforded to music and the power of the recording industry - both of which far exceed that afforded to fonts.