July 18, 2010

What's a Pedal Piano?

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Schumann. Almost every pianist has played one of his many pieces written for piano. He also wrote some pieces for a pedal piano. This is a piano that has pedals, similar to an organ, for playing bass lines. A company in Italy (Borgato) currently makes pedal pianos. Take a look at these two videos to see it in action and the Borgato homepage.

Silvio Celeghin plays Brahms on Pedal Piano
Mirco Bruson plays Bach on Pedal Piano

Borgato Homepage

July 8, 2010

Diminution of a Minor

If you can laugh at these puns, then you have progressed far in your theoretical understandings of music - Congratulations!   If you don't understand what is funny, wait a few years and then you will.

C, an E-flat, and G go into a bar. The bartender says: "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So, the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished: the G is out flat.  
An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. A D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, "Excuse me, I'll just be a second."  
An A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims: "Get out now! You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight." The E-flat, not easily deflated, comes back to the bar the next night in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes.  
The bartender (who used to have a nice corporate job until his company downsized) says: "You're looking sharp tonight, come on in! This could be a major development." This proves to be the case, as the E-flat takes off the suit and stands there au natural. Eventually, the C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. The C is brought to trial, is found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.  
On appeal, however, the C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that all accusations to the contrary are bassless. The bartender decides, however, that since he's only had tenor so patrons, the soprano out in the bathroom, and everything has become alto much treble, he needs a rest and closes the bar.