Spinning the 78’s is a double feature gramophone festival held in Basel, Switzerland on 16 March 2023. The evening starts off at 18:00 at the Musik-Akademie with a lecture on the many types of gramophones used in the early twentieth century. Áurea Domínguez will present several gramophones and explain both their function and their context. The evening continues at 20:00 with a gramophone jazz social, held at a former factory. While the bar staff is serving up prohibition-era cocktails, a live gramophone DJ will be ¨spinning the 78´s¨ (on two newly-restored His Master´s Voice portables – 101 & 102). Feel free to bring your own shellacs!
The Gramophone and its Time: Questions around Tempo in Early Recordings
Early recordings are invaluable tools for research into historical performance practice. For the first time in history, they allow us to “listen in” on the performers of the time as they give us a seemingly authoritative example of their performance – but to what extent can we trust these recordings? How much of what we hear is the performer and how much is the technology on which it was recorded and played back?
Using historical recordings played on original early twentieth-century gramophones, this presentation will contextualize the technical issue of tempo from the viewpoint of performance practice. When operating a gramophone, the end user used a special tempo regulator to determine the playback speed of each performance in accordance with its specific musical character. These machines, with their tempo regulators instead of volume regulators, invite us to question our own concept of tempo. A historical overview of early recording and reproducing technologies, featuring live demonstrations, will offer listeners a first-hand experience of recorded sound as it was understood in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Gramophone Social 20:00
Jazz and Cocktails
An evening of early jazz music played on two gramophones from the 1920s and 30s at Freibad starting at 20:00. While the bar staff is serving up prohibition-era cocktails, a live gramophone DJ will be ¨spinning the 78´s¨ (on two newly-restored His Master´s Voice portables – 101 & 102). Free entrance. Feel free to bring your own shellacs!