Pianist to Pianist

A collection of pianistic, pedagogical, methodical, musical, artistic, and cultural contemplations, concepts, observations, and concerns, from pianist to pianist, pedagogue to pedagogue, musician to musician and from a curious and critical observer.

At piano competitions some contestants come like lambs to the slaughter, some like captive animals, some like stubborn or spoiled children, some like robots prepared to recite data, some like wounded soldiers, some to experiment with repertoire, some about to fight, flight, or freeze, some...

Rubato is not taking time and then giving it back, not "returning a time debt", not slowing down and then speeding up to balance a metrical equation. Rubato is taking time and then returning to the previous tempo, essentially adding time. Playing rubato with a metronome...

The sound of the piano is a Chimera, a monstrous mythological creature of the imagination. The piano does not have an own sound (with the exception of its percussive nature), particularly in the realm of balance and timbre, overtone mixing of two or more notes: the sound of the piano comes from the inner world, the imagination of the pianist playing it. It can be anything you want, imitating orchestral instruments, human voice, organ, choir, animals, weather, and an infinite variety of natural and unnatural soundscapes.

We don't have a direct contact to the string: we fling, we catapult little felt covered hammers against strings. The sound of the string starts decaying immediately after it unfolded it's full vibration onto the sound board. All that makes the concept of a beautiful tone a mystery, and yet we have the aristocratic magnetism of Rachmaninoff, the golden sound of Gilels, the majestic sound of Rubinstein, the phantastic sound of Horowitz, the superhuman sound of Gould, the tenderness and fire of Argerich, the force of Richter, the melancholy of Evans, the miracles of Tatum ... As different as these pianists are, there is one thing they have in common: the connection of the whole arm through the fingers to the keyboard, to the string, to sound. Some with flat fingers and some with curved.

Let me introduce a concept of sound production, of the physical creation of tone, at the piano:

The Mirror of Light.

The pianist bio-mechanism consists of four parts:

1: Shoulders, anchored into the balanced torso, which guide independently (from each other) and freely swiveling

2: arms, which function like the bow arm of the violinist, moving cyclically like pendulum weights or ocean waves and which transmit their momentum into the

3: wrists, which function like a car suspension, transmitting the weight of the arms as quills transmit the force of the wing to the feathers, forward down into the

4: fingers, which have their entirely separate mechanisms (finger independence) like the fingers of the violinist, with the necessary range of firmness ranging from bladesmith hammers to steel rapiers and from water falls to falling ashes.

Each of these four parts has