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Featured Articles:7-22-14

Simple Gifts  
 A brief guide to the things musicians do

What's With all the Italian?     

  Have you ever wondered why musical terms always seem to be in Italian?

 Don't your fingers get tired?

A question and answer page for the curious...

a column about the music of people's lives
this is supposed to be a picture of some dude playing the piano in front of a stained glass window!
 Wedding pages
These are some of my former piano students from Baltimore. Can't see them? sorry about that.
 for students:
 Musical Games 

 Erasmus's blog:
In Praise of Chicken

 Mike's Ballpark
 hotdog review

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This week's featured recording:

This week on
Pianonoise Radio:

How Beautiful are the feet

music particularly involving the feet of the organist

more in the archives
Sonatina in C, op. 36 n.1
by Muzio Clementi
"student edition"

You won't believe what you hear! Well, maybe you will. It's me, pretending to be a typical piano student struggling through a favorite Clementi Sonatina. It's intended to be funny (not cruel). Of course, if you happen to be a piano student of similar ability, you might want to think about what sorts of things make this performance less than ideal. At least you aren't listening to yourself! If you're a teacher, have a good belly laugh on me.

New on the Blog
from the concert hall, the teaching studio and the organ bench, posted Mon, Wed and Fri

Listen Up!

Monday 7/14: 1001 Themes but wait, there's more!

Pianonoise Conservatory
Wednesday  7/16: Blog vacation I'm going on one

The Visible Organist
Friday 7/18: Catching the flue the pipes, the pipes, are calling...

The blog will be on summer semi-vacation for a couple months--through September, I'll only be writing on Fridays. I'll be back full blast in October.
Articles from around the pianoverse....

Mailbag    (from 2009)

Hello again. This assemblage of words is brought to you for another month by one human being whom you may never have met and who conceived and executed thousands of tiny maneuvers with his hands at a date and time several weeks in the past, then posted them to a machine which is there to serve your need for reading material at any time of the day or night in whatever part of the world you happen to reside.

It all sounds fairly one-sided. I write, you read. But as it happens, I sometimes hear from you guys regarding things Iíve posted on my site, and this monthís effusion is about that phenomenon. Even when you donít write Iím listening. But Iím getting ahead of myself.    (read more)


from Don't your Fingers get tired? (A question and answer page for the curious)

Is there much difference between a piano and an organ?

If you are particularly accomplished at either instrument, yes. If you are not, then not so much.

The instruments are vastly different, of course. One makes sound by striking strings, the other by moving vast columns of air through pipes. One can grow up to nine feet (concert size)--the other fills up several small rooms. (I'm assuming neither instrument is electronic.)

But the music written for the two instruments, when it is written well, is also very different. For one thing, a piano has a sustaining pedal which allows notes to continue sounding so long as your foot is on the pedal. You don't need your fingers to maintain contact with the keys. An organ does not have a sustaining pedal. The instant your fingers leave the key the note stops sounding. Thus you cannot play a chord in the bass and moving your hand up to the high part of the keyboard in a flashy sweeping gesture and make it work. On a piano, that would sound impressive. On an organ it would sound stupid.    (read more)



from the department of "Godmusic" --  under the sub-heading "Christian piano music"

An Interesting Conversation

Perhaps it will only become evident after long years of profitable study of the texts and tunes available on Pianonoise, but there are few assumptions that, if I am not in the business of imploding, I do not at least feel my duty to question. Someone has to. Since it appears that staunch opinions are the principle export of mankind, there is plenty of raw material. As it happens, a little while back I came across a page on the web which contained all kinds of such assessments. It was a conversation, a chat page. Since the conversation took place in 2005, I was not able to contribute to it then, and I doubt I could have added much, since most of the principle positions were covered. But in retrospect, and since internet conversations which are sometimes the product of only a momentís reflection often wind up on servers for years, we have the chance to go over it, consider all the dramatis personae and their prejudices, and see if any stunning insights come to us. Perhaps the original participants were missing a few after all.

There is a fellow named Bernhard. He seems amiable enough--sometimes, but he has a problem. He has a piano student, andóbut let him tell it:

"I have a student who is a committed Christian, and she has decided that she is now only interested in religious music. She brought me a CD to listen to, with some ghastly pop Christian music saying this is what she wants to play from now on. I was horrified at the prospect of having to listen to this drivel, so I suggested to her instead that she should dedicate her musical studies to some of the greatest sacred music ever written Ė and gave her a number of CDs to listen to by Bach (St Matthew Passion, Mass in B-minor, cantatas, etc.) Mozart (Requiem), Beethoven (Mass in B minor) and Arvo Part, plus Gregorian chant and the like. She was suitably impressed and wants to have a go.

So here is the problem: Does anyone have any suggestions for "sacred" pieces? Preferably originally written for piano solo, that are not too forbidding (around grade 5 Ė 8 )? Although there seems to be plenty of "sacred" pieces for voice or choir, the only ones I could come up with for piano solo were [the following]:"   (read more)


wishing Lebron James luck on his way back to Cleveland; take in a ball game while you're there....

Mike's Ballpark Hotdog Review: Jacob's Field, Cleveland, Ohio

If you are in the mood for something with the consistency of paste, the taste of recycled poster board, and an appearance that will make you marvel about what they can do with plastics these days, the hotdogs at Jacobs Field are your item. If you are not so inclined, not to worry. You can always wash it down afterward with something like the hottest, flattest soda ("pop" in the Midwest, "coke" in the South) I have ever had the inverse privilege to consume.

Visitors to Jacobs Field (affectionately known as "the jake" by Clevelanders--Dick Jacobs, the club owner, felt compelled to write a memo to the media trying to encourage/demand that this kind of thing be stopped since the phrase is often used colloquially in reference to a toilet, but to no noticeable effect) --Visitors to Jacobs Field will bask in the splendor of the view of the Cleveland skyline, and the relative spaciousness of the lower levels as they make their plebian way to the fifth (yes) floor in order to bake in the northern Ohio sun and ponder incredulously just how small it is possible to manufacture a hotdog which costs $3.75. 

Jacobs Field is also known for its massive wall of luxury sky boxes which contribute to a more gargantuan look than some of its retro-ballyard brethren and for the healthful effects of the air since far-sighted legislators have decreed that no smoking is to take place on the grounds. These same legislators were kind enough to pay for the stadium by levying a cigarette tax so that smokers wouldn't feel entirely left out of the loop. I miss Cleveland politics.    (read more)


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