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#2336140 - 10/11/14 05:33 AM Prepared piano
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2437
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2337833 - 10/15/14 08:26 PM Re: Prepared piano [Re: Emmery]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3271
Loc: Madison, WI USA
This is the most elaborate prepared piano demonstration I have ever seen! I suggest it be used for the next Planet of the Apes sequel. (Actually, I mean that quite seriously. I very much enjoyed the soundtracks of the original series. Some weird things were done with pianos in them that were quite effective.) This borders on music that I have heard from Southeast Asia (Gamelon) except that it is too harmonious.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2337905 - 10/16/14 04:19 AM Re: Prepared piano [Re: Emmery]
tonyster220763 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 58
I do believe Jimmy Page does similar things in "Dazed and Confused" using a bow on a gibson... Dig it, Tech Cats !!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R6yUyUPd7o


Edited by tonyster220763 (10/16/14 04:23 AM)
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music." - Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare)

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#2339766 - Yesterday at 09:01 AM Re: Prepared piano [Re: Emmery]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9286
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
My thoughts,

In general, I loathe prepared piano pieces and what they do to pianos over time. In that regard this is not the worst thing I have ever seen.

The music was OK. Bill, It also made me think of a Gamelan.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2339947 - Yesterday at 07:19 PM Re: Prepared piano [Re: Rich Galassini]
PhilipInChina Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/19/13
Posts: 1045
Loc: China
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
My thoughts,

In general, I loathe prepared piano pieces and what they do to pianos over time. In that regard this is not the worst thing I have ever seen.

The music was OK. Bill, It also made me think of a Gamelan.


May I show my ignorance, yet again, by asking the obvious question? What do such pieces do to the piano?
_________________________
Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"

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#2339964 - Yesterday at 08:08 PM Re: Prepared piano [Re: Emmery]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 295
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
Philip,

This is a recurring issue especially at universities where the composers are looking for interesting things to do with instruments.

ANY hands on strings will compromise them, especially bass strings. The oil from your hands ruins strings. One big strum across the mid section just makes my heart ache. Any material that is put in between the strings except for natural materials like cloth, rubber, paper or string will scratch the wire, eventually ruining the quality. Even putting in the materials should be done with a latex glove. And I can show you horror pictures of the damage the screws in between the strings do to the soundboard - dancing like popcorn on the varnish.

Let's just say that most of this won't hurt the plate except if it scratches it, but marking the dampers alone to indicate the note will usually do some damage to the damper felts and the regulation of them.

Would the percussionists like you to roll one of their cymbals down the street on bumpy pavement to experience how interesting it is to hear the rocks putting small dents in the edge? Does the cellist mind if you pound on their cello with a brick? Does the brass section mind if we use their instruments to scrape along the back of the concrete wall of the auditorium? Apparently they do. But when the pianists complain that they don't want the piano that they have to play next week prepared THIS week no one seems to have much sympathy.

Most universities have a beat up older piano for these uses. I have tried very hard to "like" the "extended technique" stuff but if I go to the performance I just have to take something to calm my nerves.

I'm doing a class here for the composers. My point is that if you write something that ruins the piano, less people will want to perform it.

It is not just the composers who do this, it's the rock musicians who decide to throw the fall board as well.
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2339970 - Yesterday at 08:23 PM Re: Prepared piano [Re: Emmery]
Michael Sayers Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1158
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
They did quite a good job with it, I'm impressed.

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#2340024 - Yesterday at 11:48 PM Re: Prepared piano [Re: S. Phillips]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1766
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: S. Phillips
Philip,

This is a recurring issue especially at universities where the composers are looking for interesting things to do with instruments.

ANY hands on strings will compromise them, especially bass strings. The oil from your hands ruins strings. One big strum across the mid section just makes my heart ache. Any material that is put in between the strings except for natural materials like cloth, rubber, paper or string will scratch the wire, eventually ruining the quality. Even putting in the materials should be done with a latex glove. And I can show you horror pictures of the damage the screws in between the strings do to the soundboard - dancing like popcorn on the varnish.

Let's just say that most of this won't hurt the plate except if it scratches it, but marking the dampers alone to indicate the note will usually do some damage to the damper felts and the regulation of them.

Would the percussionists like you to roll one of their cymbals down the street on bumpy pavement to experience how interesting it is to hear the rocks putting small dents in the edge? Does the cellist mind if you pound on their cello with a brick? Does the brass section mind if we use their instruments to scrape along the back of the concrete wall of the auditorium? Apparently they do. But when the pianists complain that they don't want the piano that they have to play next week prepared THIS week no one seems to have much sympathy.

Most universities have a beat up older piano for these uses. I have tried very hard to "like" the "extended technique" stuff but if I go to the performance I just have to take something to calm my nerves.

I'm doing a class here for the composers. My point is that if you write something that ruins the piano, less people will want to perform it.

It is not just the composers who do this, it's the rock musicians who decide to throw the fall board as well.


+1
One person doing what are euphemistically called extended techniques is bad enough, ten people grouped around the piano doing their own thing is unthinkable.

Strings continually touched eventually become dead. There are those who specialise in this sort of performance. I have met most of them. It is a given that they have never known that it is essential to press the damper pedal before inserting anything between the strings. These are the professionals. Of course, there are untutored DIY tuners who slam their wedges and tuning strips between the strings not knowing the damage they are doing to the dampers.

The problems created are not noticed by the sort of player who perpetrated them but are noticed by any pianist who wants to play seriously after this sort of treatment.

I remind them that the copper on the strings is toxic and that their compositions don't stand a chance of being performed on the pianos of any major concert hall. (two London concert venues do have older pianos set aside for rough treatment of this nature, but they are very small grands).

Having said that, I actually enjoy the work of John Cage. I was once employed as consultant to such a performance and assist in the preparation. (Cages instructions were written out decades after the original performance and are not reliable in any way).
The pianist involved spent hours making fine adjustments to the original specifications by playing through the piece many many times and making sure each prepared note sounded good in all the contexts that it was used. The piano had to be used normally after this process so everything had to be dismantled and set up again. (I took photos and made recordings but it was necessary to start over entirely). The eventual performance was magical. I went to the conservatoirs' record library to listen to some more but was really disappointed. No recording studio could set aside the time it takes to do it properly. Nor could the performer or recording agency afford to pay for the time it really takes to do it well.

Any piano technician who thinks no damage is done either has not experienced the aftermath or is not a very fine enough technician to recognise the misadjustment which is the aftermath. I have an almost new concert grand now that needs new parts because of mostly unauthorised extended techniques.

One of the problems with giving permission and instruction for extended techniques is that there are impressionable people in the audience who see this and go and try it for themselves.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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