Author Topic: Ison Machine  (Read 2035 times)

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Offline Orthodox11

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Ison Machine
« on: November 10, 2011, 09:27:38 PM »
Does anyone know how much an ison machine costs? I'm making a short trip to Greece next week, God willing, and was thinking of picking one up there if it's not too expensive.

Thanks!

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 09:48:42 PM »
What is an ison machine?
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 09:50:44 PM »
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2011, 09:52:40 PM »
What is an ison machine?

A small keyboard-type thing used to keep the ison when chanting. Basically an instrument that mimicks the human voice.

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2011, 10:29:00 PM »
I have a CD that uses this and it... bugs me. Normally I can tolerate all kinds of studio wizardry... drum machines, cheesy synth strings, etc... but in church music it just seems wrong.
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Offline Paisius

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2011, 10:34:51 PM »
I have a CD that uses this and it... bugs me. Normally I can tolerate all kinds of studio wizardry... drum machines, cheesy synth strings, etc... but in church music it just seems wrong.


Well it's a heck of a lot better than an organ!

Offline Orthodox11

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Price of Ison Machine
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2011, 10:41:24 PM »
It's a musical instrument and as such it shouldn't be used in church. However, it's a very useful thing to have for learning purposes.

So...anyone have any idea how much it costs? Google isn't helping.

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 01:04:13 AM »
Why substitute a machine for the human voice?  Ison machines are annoying. I've heard a couple of recordings of Fr. Seraphim Dedes using an ison machine and it's just bad.  Yes, a good human isonkrates is hard to find, but rather than allow the machine to give the drone note, you should look to train someone who can do that for you.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 02:27:18 AM »
Why substitute a machine for the human voice?  Ison machines are annoying. I've heard a couple of recordings of Fr. Seraphim Dedes using an ison machine and it's just bad.  Yes, a good human isonkrates is hard to find, but rather than allow the machine to give the drone note, you should look to train someone who can do that for you.

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These machines are tolerable for training purposes, but ghastly when used during services.
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 06:27:01 AM »
Yes, a good human isonkrates is hard to find, but rather than allow the machine to give the drone note, you should look to train someone who can do that for you.

And keep them at home when practising? Unless I can train my wife to do the drone, that's not really an option.

As for recordings, there are some bad ones and some better ones. The human voice is always nicer, but often not available - teaching someone to do a proper ison is more difficult than teaching them how to sing the melody. So it's often the machine vs. nothing. In church, where only the human voice can be employed, no ison is better than a fake one. For a recording, machine is better than nothing at all.

Offline arimethea

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 09:32:42 AM »
Yes, a good human isonkrates is hard to find, but rather than allow the machine to give the drone note, you should look to train someone who can do that for you.

And keep them at home when practising? Unless I can train my wife to do the drone, that's not really an option.

As for recordings, there are some bad ones and some better ones. The human voice is always nicer, but often not available - teaching someone to do a proper ison is more difficult than teaching them how to sing the melody. So it's often the machine vs. nothing. In church, where only the human voice can be employed, no ison is better than a fake one. For a recording, machine is better than nothing at all.

If you are recording, and have the knowledge and the skill, then you should be able to do your own ison via a second track.

Ison machines should never be used under any circumstance. They are evil.
Joseph

Offline MarkosC

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2011, 07:06:05 AM »
Does anyone know how much an ison machine costs? I'm making a short trip to Greece next week, God willing, and was thinking of picking one up there if it's not too expensive.

Thanks!

I wasn't going to respond since I can't be of much help, but it seems you've gotten completely unhelpful answers.

Your best bet is to ask your parish priest or psaltis.  Failing that, try the Aposoliki Diaconia store in Athens.  (I kept my eye out for one in Thessaloniki and found none.  The AD store there didn't seem to have one).  And I hate to say, but unless you know modern Greek you probably won't be able to find one.  And I also hate to say, it could be exorbidantly expensive, and be on guard for a rip off unless someone you know, or AD refers them.  Please also tell us if you find one.  :)

And the machines can be useful, IF employed judiciously.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 07:12:40 AM by MarkosC »
O Lord although I desired to blot out
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And for the rest of my life to please Thee
through sincere repentance
Yet doth the enemy lead me astray as he wareth
against my sould with his cunning

O Lord before I utterly perish do Thou save me!

Offline Opus118

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2011, 07:03:45 PM »
Does anyone know how much an ison machine costs? I'm making a short trip to Greece next week, God willing, and was thinking of picking one up there if it's not too expensive.

Thanks!

I looked into this previously. A few years ago an ison machine would cost about $1500, it may be somewhat cheaper now. You will find phone numbers in this thread http://analogion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4794&page=1 for Naoum ison machines.

A cheaper alternative is to use this free PC program (the original website is not working):
http://web.archive.org/web/20080820192323/http://www.byzanmusic.com/iso/isokraten.html
From what I read, it does not run on Windows 7 (It is meant for Windows 95/Me). I just downloaded it from the above site and tried it out on an XP computer (making sure not to install the older Windows components that comes with it) and it runs (although I did have a runtime error once).

Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2011, 07:11:15 PM »
MarcosC and Opus118, thank you very much for your helpful responses! $1500 is a lot more than I'd be prepared to pay for a machine that goes "uuuuuuh", so I think I'll give it a pass this time since I'm just going for a few days. The program you linked to looked interesting, will definitely try it out!

Offline MarkosC

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2011, 07:17:40 PM »
Excellent, Opus.  I figured it would be expensive, but €1000!!!!

Getting a used Win95 laptop is probably a better bet if you want portability.


ETA: Orthodox11, the one store that's a must visit is AD, at least from my time in Thessaloniki.  I wouldn't bother with others on a short trip, unless there are other places that are really good elsewhere. 
« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 07:20:54 PM by MarkosC »
O Lord although I desired to blot out
with my tears the handwriting of my many sins
And for the rest of my life to please Thee
through sincere repentance
Yet doth the enemy lead me astray as he wareth
against my sould with his cunning

O Lord before I utterly perish do Thou save me!

Offline Opus118

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Re: Ison Machine
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2011, 08:18:38 PM »
This simple and beautiful statement,
I wasn't going to respond since I can't be of much help, but it seems you've gotten completely unhelpful answers.
was inspiring Markos