Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mechanical Piano Study no. 27

This piece by Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997) is very odd. I chose it not really for its musical presence, but rather for the ingenuity behind. I will preface this piece by saying that there is no form whatsover. So just get out of that mindset. This piece is performed on a mechanical player it sounds just that...mechanical. This piece could be considered minimalist maybe because there is a constantly repeated ostinato pattern underlying everything. This piece is very mathematic . Every interval is mathematically proportioned. Nancarrow actually punched the holes into the player piano roll and measured the distances between each hole. Then what he did is mathematically sped up one hand while leaving the other alone. He did this to make an exact ratio. There are no melodic lines really, it is pretty much just all rhythmic. The notes themselves seem to be rather random. It starts out with a simple rhythmic pattern in the left hand, and then the right builds upon, and then decreases down to nothing, and then back up again. When I first heard this piece, I did not much care for it at all!! Give me melody any day over something like this, but once I learned about the actual piece and the logistics behind it, I became interested in it. On the whole, I am usually the type of person to simply sit back and listen to the music for enjoyment. This piece...I do not enjoy listening to, but I enjoy the background of it. I know...kind of odd. I like that he calls this piece a Study...meaning an experiment of some sort. Ahhh!! ok, I need to stop listening to this before I lose my head!!!!!

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