I must admit that this post by Chris Foley at Collaborative Piano got me thinking and worrying about what ‘new music’ is doing to the beloved acoustic piano.
Here’s some things that some modern composers are calling for, as well as some of the workarounds required to achieve this:
- strings to be plucked with a plectrum
- it is necessary to put stickies inside the keyboard on the edge of the string
- Next, the piano part in Rose Bolton’s Netsuke calls for a dulcimer-like effect on the strings. I originally tried the ends of a pair of pencils, but couldn’t get the right sound. Next I stripped the erasers off the pencils to get more of a metallic sound, but Rose’s fine score called for a higher grade of metal. Finally I tried a pair of spoons from our Oneida everyday flatware set held on the spoon-end and played on the handle-end. Perfection, but again demanding a high level of accuracy
- one work that called for a metal chisel to be slid across one string in order to bend the pitch
- once where I was called to pluck strings with my finger, I used a Palm stylus to even better effect
- standing up and sitting down with one’s foot on the damper pedal
And I am sure these are tame.
Am I a purist (or maybe I’m not a purist in these enlightened days) ?
This strikes me as odd, and almost sacrilegious. Why do we have to do things to the piano that it wasn’t intended for?
I shiver to think of running chisels across piano strings.
Interesting thoughts, as I am sure is the music. At least it will never happen on my digital piano. 🙂