Posts Tagged ‘Piano’

Twice a year my adult piano student group gets together; something which inevitably involves me playing something from my old repertoire. In the past, it’s been the usual suspects: some Bach, Shostakovich, Mozart, and lots of Schumann. One off the beaten track performance was of a ‘rag’ by Tenney. And then there was the time at the old house when we had two pianos in the living room. We had requested that the tuner tune one instrument down a quarter tone and Siamese Connection and I played some Ives for a ‘teachers concert.’ That was fun.

Tonight I went for something completely different and brought out ye olde accordion with the pickup attached and fed through the effects pedal and the amp.

What interested me in particular from the performer’s side of things is that it was never really clear to the audience when the performance began. Of course there were some sound check elements, playing with the mic, hooking the pickup up, checking levels, but the noise gradually developed into something more and organically became the ‘piece’– albeit an improvised one. I really wondered at what point in the improv (which only lasted about 7 minutes) the audience of adult students actually realized that this was not just a sound check.

Later on I found out that another one of the teachers ended up shushing one of the students who would have continued talking through it, not realizing that the performance was going on. I guess some people realized it. Others didn’t. But what exactly was the tip-off for those who did hear music in there somewhere (and they all did agree that it was music, in the textbook ‘organized sound’ sort of way)? What exactly was the point at which the noise ended and the ‘music’ began?

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