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#1130157 - 01/08/05 09:50 AM George Winston muting question
PianoBeast10489 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 830
Loc: Virginia Beach,VA
When George Winston plays piano, he sometimes puts his hand in and touches the strings w/ his palm. He did this on opra a long time ago, and he said it was called muting. I study classical piano mostly, but i also play a little non-classical, and i have never heard of this in either! If anyone knows what "muting" does, how you do it, and what peice you have seen it in, i would be very appreciative.

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#1130158 - 01/08/05 10:19 AM Re: George Winston muting question
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
It's a harmonic actually. You press down on a string at a certain point with your finger and you'll get one of the overtones.

George Crumb has used it quite a bit in his music, and it's most commonly found in avant-garde 20th century music.
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#1130159 - 01/08/05 10:33 AM Re: George Winston muting question
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Aren't there composers now who create works that require a pianist (at the keyboard) and other performers around the piano itself who then do things to the piano? Like pluck strings, mute strings, or other things the composer dreams up?

I've never seen or heard anything like this; the closest I've come are performances on "prepared" pianos, where they do things to the piano before it's played in a traditional way.

I'd love to see/hear some of these multi-performer works. Anyone have any recommendations? Sounds really interesting.

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#1130160 - 01/08/05 10:37 AM Re: George Winston muting question
Entheo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1111
Loc: chicago, il
winston does this on his 'plains' album, for example -- it's similar to a guitarist using the heel of the picking hand to partially mute the strings. where the hand is placed (in relation to the bridge, for example) determines whether or not the harmonics sound or not.
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#1130161 - 01/08/05 01:44 PM Re: George Winston muting question
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
If you attend a Jamie Cullum concert - you'll see quite a few "unconventional" things being done on a piano, including it being played like a bongo drum.

I think I have a piece on a CD where piano strings are being plucked. Needless to say, this is a simple tune since one can only go so far with this. Although, if you think about it, I suppose someone could take this much farther - even though this is not the way a piano is meant to be played!!!

I thought I heard it's best not to touch piano strings with your hands - the oils transfer to the strings and eventually they corrode them.

??

Jeanne W
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#1130162 - 01/08/05 08:31 PM Re: George Winston muting question
pumpkin_waltz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 24
Loc: Singapore...for the moment
 Quote:
Originally posted by PianoBeast10489:
When George Winston plays piano, he sometimes puts his hand in and touches the strings w/ his palm......If anyone knows what "muting" does, how you do it, and what peice you have seen it in, i would be very appreciative. [/b]
George Winston, my favorite :3hearts:
I love it when he does this "muting" on "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" and "Hummingbird". He talked a bit about this technique in his website: http://www.georgewinston.com. Check out the FAQ page (In case you haven't).
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#1130163 - 01/09/05 02:36 AM Re: George Winston muting question
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: not in Japan anymore
pumpkin-waltz, thanks for that link! I'm a big fan of George Winston too.

Does he sometimes use a synth or something other than a regular, acoustic piano? On the December album, one of his compositions, is it called Snow? (that CD is in my car and it's too cold to go out and get it. forgive me!!!) That does not sound like a piano to me. Has anyone else noticed that or is it just my imagination?
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#1130164 - 01/09/05 04:05 AM Re: George Winston muting question
pumpkin_waltz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 24
Loc: Singapore...for the moment
I think you're probably talking about part 2? I don't think GW use any synth, he does play other instruments (guitar and harmonica).

He's really great with what he does with acoustic piano, and it's probably one of his techniques to produce such sound we heard in the music "Snow".
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#1130165 - 01/09/05 08:32 PM Re: George Winston muting question
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Yes, pumpkin-waltz, that's the one, part 2. Maybe he's plucking? It sounds so eery, and the way it echos or reverberates.. well, it just can't be an acoustic piano played the way I play it! \:\(
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#1130166 - 01/09/05 08:54 PM Re: George Winston muting question
JohnC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 1672
Loc: Lower Left Coast
I saw George perform a few years ago.

I saw him reach into the piano and mute the strings. For the life of me I couldn't figure out how *that* sound was coming from the piano. It was quite interesting to see/hear.

Of course it would have been even more interesting to see a camera view of where and how he places his hand on the strings.
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#1130167 - 01/10/05 02:05 PM Re: George Winston muting question
PianoBeast10489 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 830
Loc: Virginia Beach,VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeanne W:
If you attend a Jamie Cullum concert - you'll see quite a few "unconventional" things being done on a piano, including it being played like a bongo drum.

I think I have a piece on a CD where piano strings are being plucked. Needless to say, this is a simple tune since one can only go so far with this. Although, if you think about it, I suppose someone could take this much farther - even though this is not the way a piano is meant to be played!!!

I thought I heard it's best not to touch piano strings with your hands - the oils transfer to the strings and eventually they corrode them.

??

Jeanne W [/b]
Thats what they told me when i bought mine. I guess when your George Winston and you can afford to go out and buy another Steinway it doesnt really matter.

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#1130168 - 01/10/05 09:59 PM Re: George Winston muting question
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 309
Loc: LA CA
Someone has found a way to mute George Winston? Thank you God.
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#1130169 - 01/11/05 07:47 AM Re: George Winston muting question
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
\:D
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