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Discussion in 'General' started by pianolady, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Pianolady wrote:
    Oh, Monica, I didn´t know, that you have such a problem. I´m just going to read chapter 20 now and then I´ll write you my opinion to that. But I know, that an artificial tension all the time while playing is not a good thing.

    My tip is: try not to think of it. Think of other things f.ex. or nothing and try to let through the music itself. The best way to solve problems is to let them and not to think of the problem, because we make them ourself (even if it is unconscious). I know, that this is easier said as done.

    Yes, I do remember well, that we talked about this. For me the repeats mostly are very important because they are a certain chance, to say the same with other words, to bring change and interesting lightings and colours to the musical ideas.

    To chapter 18 (The Deal): I found it very interesting, that Luc played the game with his dealer and his client "like Molière". That´s very French, this manner, and very clever. I find it likewise, that Luc takes the risc and trusts the dealer.

    To chapter 19 (Beethovens piano): That was a very interesting and deep view into the piano-world of 18th and 19th century. I still have played on a "Tafelklavier" (virginal) of 18th century. It was in a castle and I asked, if I might play on it. The tone was really bell-like and soft and much more silent then the tone of our pianos of today. I also have some recordings of Jörg Demus, who plays on the Viennese piano of Beethoven, built by Graf in the 1820th. It was his last piano he possessed. I think, this one still has a metal frame, but it sounds very differently from todays pianos, its tone is much more thinner and its registers are much more imbalanced.
    It´s a pity, that the art of wood is "out of the world, in which we live today", like it´s said in the novel. I fear in 200 years or so wooden pianos could be out of the world like this art of 18th century is still today. May be in 200 years there only will be electronic pianos or "virtual pianos". What do you think?

    I´m going to chapter 20 right now! Hope I´ll finish it this evening! I really like this book very much!
     
  2. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    IMHO, I think piano continues to become a more specialized and eccentricism. Especially here in the states, it may be different in the old world.

    I have two pianos ... an upright baldwin and an electric Yamaha. The Baldwin is really a pitiful instrument ... icky sound, uneven action, ugly resonance with pedal. Many times I enjoy the electric more because of how nice it is to play: action is always the same and always in tune. Although the tone produced many times is just lacking .... most especially is this noticeable after playing on a real piano. But, I would think, most non-musicians really wouldn't notice ... or that it would even make that much of a difference.

    I've been most affected in the book at the beautiful descriptions of the roundness, fullness of tone from the pianos. Also, the difference in sound ... I really, really want a piano!!!!
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    There are some piano manufacturers that are using plastic for certain parts inside the piano. I wonder if more plastic will be used in the future. Do you think they could make a sound board out of plastic? Or what about metal? Maybe that would produce too loud of a sound?
     
  4. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Pianolady wrote:
    I´m quite sure, that this is impossible both plastic and metal, because the sound would be to tinny and loud.
    I could imagine (with a bit science-fiction-fantasy), that in 50 to 100 years or so the holograms will be as well developed, that it will be possible to play on a "hologram-piano", which is virtual and not real. Poor men of the future, what will they do, if there will be an outage? :wink: :lol:
     
  5. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I think, here in Germany the piano is still very prevalent, but digital pianos respective e-pianos capture the front more and more. I think, this is mirrored also on PS, isn´t it?

    An accoustic natural piano can´t be compared with an e-piano, because it´s sound has more soul and naturalness, even you regard the more superficial "advantages" of an e-piano like always to be in the right tuning, to have a regular action and so on. These "advantages" do not replace the soul, character and naturalness of the sound of a real piano, because bad tuning and bad action can easily be corrected by a piano manufacturer respective tuner. :wink:
     
  6. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    To chapter 20, which I have read at last (I discover, that I need nearly the triple of time to read a book in English than I need for to read a book in German :roll: ):
    This is probably the most interesting chapter for me in the novel until now.
    There is so much wisdom in what Peter Feuchtwanger and György Sebök say to their students:
    F.ex. that we put always ourself in the interpretation to the composers intention and that a wrong note here and there doesn´t matter, if the expression and the concept are coming from inside and convincing.
    Indeed, what Sebök calls the "emptiness" or the inner calm center is the origin for every good music. Indeed, all tensions and anticipations are the biggest enemies of true music-making and all is ambiguous. That means, that there are thousands of possibilities concerning the interpretation of one piece and to interpret means, to explore one of these thousands of possibilities.
    I like very much the notion of Peter Feuchtwanger, that the arm and the fingers are like an extension of the keys. This is an imagination, my professor teached me during my studies. And yes, technique is vastly overrated. People forget, where true technique has to come from, that is to say from that inner center of musical imagination and flow. And this is so easily blocked by fear. This is the reason I´m glad to have piano-playing just as a hobby. It´s a luck from my view not to have made a concert-career with all its pressure, so I´m free now to play like my concepts and inner center describe it to me. And: the longer I practise on a piece (in the best case so long, that I can play it by heart) the more I´m able to play it in the true manner.

    I´m glad, that in the novel I got confirmed a way again, on which I´m principally since years. But I would be interested in more concrete aspects of the method of Feuchtwanger. Do you know, if there is a book of his method?
     
  7. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    no worries ... last time I had to read a novel not in English ... I joked to my wife, now I know how you feel when you read a book! It took me 3 or 4 days to finish the novel ... horrificly slow for me!
     
  8. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nathanscoleman wrote:
    Wow! :shock: So, this must be a foreign language you are very used to, isn´t it? I´m reading since 8th of april now on "The pianoshop..." , o.k. with interruptions, but my aim is, to improve my English and to learn more vocabulary, so I very often look after new words in the dictionary. I have to say, it´s a very useful thing, to read with an e-book and to have an online-dictionary at the same time. So, looking for an unknown word is much faster as if you use a normal book and a normal dictionary.
     
  9. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    you're doing great!!! I wouldn't worry about the speed ... I have too much time on my hands, thus I read constantly.
     
  10. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nathanscoleman wrote:
    Thanks, Nathan. I wished I could say this from me, that I´d have too much time on my hands. I have much too few time to do all the things I would like to do (to read and to play piano).
    :cry:

    I have read chapter 21:
    First, I have a question. Thad translates "The play is the soul of the machine", wouldn´t it be better to translate: "The play is the soul of the action/the mechanique"?
    Very interesting is the matter with that iron brace, which has to hold the pedal not rigid, but with a certain play, I haven´t known that. I wonder, why Thad does this montage himself and why Luc doesn´t care himself about this important matter. And it really is an important matter, because a piano isn´t to play, if always the tones are lingering on, (as we could see, as Claire visited Thad for to play her "Forest scenes" by Robert Schumann).
    It´s interesting IMO, how Carhart combines technical, musical and personal issues around the piano as main subject. That makes that special atmosphere and charm of this novel, which I find to be intriguing. And with personal issues I mean not only Thads personal life and history around the piano, but also the destinies of other persons, like Jos f.ex. It´s so sad and oppressive, what happened to him, isn´t it? I really hope for a happy end concerning his bad luck, he has to experience in his life.

    What about you, Monica and Nathan, how far have you read until now?
    I looked into the contents, there are still 34 pages and three chapters to read for me now.
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok, I just finished chapter 21.

    I think the phrase, "play is the sole of the machine" is just a general term, meaning the 'whole' piano. I thought the action is the hammers and all the tiny little parts down below the strings that make up the hammer mechanism. Are dampers considered part of the action?

    But in this case, the dampers are not working properly because of the pedal brace that Chad installed incorrectly. So I think this is what Luc is referring to. I didn't know about there having to be some play in those pedal rods, either. As soon as I get to my piano later today, I will check that out.

    And yes, the piano tuner Jos has a hard life. I wonder if things will be better for him by the end of the book. Which is not far away. You're right Andreas - only three chapters to go. And they are pretty short. I'm having a rough time these days, lots of things going on at the same time, but I can still read. So Nathan and I will keep following your lead. Whenever you get to the next chapter is fine.
     
  12. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm carrying book with me to doctor appt today ... girls have checkup. I hope I don't get piggy flu while I'm there!!! hehe
     
  13. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Monica and Nathan,
    it was interesting to learn about the quality of the red spruce and wood in general for to build a fine piano in chapter 22. I personally have never played a Fazioli, but I´d like very much to play one. It´s great, that Thad could meat Fazioli personally and that he was allowed to play on the famous 308 model. I have played several Steinways and Bösendörfers until now, but never got the opportunity to play a Fazioli and I suppose, I probably never will get one.
    I´ll look for the two books, which are mentioned in chapter 22: Larry Fine´s "The piano book" and David Crombie "Piano". I have to admit, that I haven´t a book, which contains only the piano and its mechanical aspects.
    (BTW, Monica, I think the dampers are a part of the action, too, but I´ll ask my tuner next time, he is a piano-builder master craftsman.)
     
  14. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    how cool would that be??!! to meet fazioli and have personal tour of his workshop!!

    I really need to tour a piano factory ... never done that!
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nathan and Andreas - I am out of time today so I can't comment on chapter 21. Plus there is a problem on the site so I can't always log on. Look for me tomorrow!
     
  16. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    O.k., Monica, today I also had no time to read. So I´ll read chapter 23 the next days or at the weekend perhaps. I´m very comprehensive, if you have no time to read as good mates should be for each other. [​IMG]So, we have all time in the world. :)
     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok, just read chapter 22. Boy, do I ever want to try playing a Fazioli! They sound so amazing. There is a Fazioli dealer in the same building in Chicago where the Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays, but I have never been in it. I'm usually there on late Sunday afternoons, and I'm not sure the dealer is open at that time. But if one of you PS friends ever came to Chicago, I would definitely go there with you.

    In our book, I found it funny that Paulo Fazioli picked up Thad from the train station, instead of a regular taxi cab. Thad is very lucky to have gotten to see the Fazioli factory. I did know that piano soundboards are made from Spruce wood. Steinways use a particular tree called a Sitka Spruce. I wonder if Red Spruces are that much better than Sitka spruces. But Paulo Fazioli must have thought that they were since he circled the globe in search of the best wood.

    And Nathan, I've never been to a piano factory either, but you can look at video and pictures of the Steinway factory in New York. http://www.steinway.com/factory/


    Ok, on to the Chapter 23. We're almost done!
     
  18. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi, yippee,
    I have finished the book. Let´s have a common drink and celebrate the long and nice period of common reading. [​IMG]

    To chapter 23 +24: It´s very nice, that Luc finally found a girl-friend, with whom he is happy. I think, Mathilde and Luc fit very well together, because of their common passion to piano and music for piano. It´s so intriguing as the unknown pianist came and played the Scarlatti-sonata in the cold atelier. I really ask me, if this is realistic, because I never could play a fast piece fluently, if it is so cold. What do you think?
    Also the story of Mathilde, how she has lost her piano, is fascinating somehow, because it shows, that a piano can be such a personal thing. She feels commited to her piano of youth, because it was the connection between her and her late father. And so the loss of the piano of her childhood in her psychic state got the meaning of a symbol of the loss of her dad.
    These two last chapters have an obvious function of a framework. Some motifs and strands of the plot come to a final end here. First the story of Luc and his fate, second the story of Mathilde. As a motif there come together Lucs favored pianos: in chapter 23 we are told of the old Pleyel and the extraordinary matter, that Luc plans to liberate the black lacquering of the cabinet and wants to reproduce the pure wood and the particular sound of this old instrument from the twenties.
    In the last chapter Thad recapulates all kinds of Lucs "dream pianos" and at last we see, that this was a very interesting and changeful lineup.
    I´m missing the plot of Jos and his development. It´s the only person, who experiences a negative development in the novel, isn´t it?

    Phew, I´m very happy, that finally I came through the whole book, which I never would have thought, when I began. I thank you, especially Monica, for the constant participation and exchange of thoughts, which I felt to be very interesting. To have read the book was a pure enrichment (because of its subject and because I could learn and refresh a lot of English, which I should speak and write a bit better now, so I hope at least). Your participation was always inspiring and a motivation to read further. (I´m not sure, if I would have read the whole book alone, without any person, who reads along.)
    So, for me it stays to say: [​IMG]
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yay, we did it! So here's my 'cheers' to you both! [​IMG]

    Nathan you must be done as well since you read a novel in a day. :)

    Here are few of my thoughts on the last two chapters: That Pleyel grand sounded nice. I did not know that pianos could be made of this wood. And don't you wish you could have actually been there to see all these 'special' pianos? I'd like to know what becomes of some of the ones we 'met' in the book - see what their 'life' -so to speak- is like now.

    And yes - I'm glad Luc has a girlfriend to share his passion for pianos. And you're right about that old man who came in and played that Scarlatti piece in the cold. I could never do that either, and that was a strange part in the story.

    Then there is poor Jos. I guess we will never know what happened to him.

    As for the end, when we learn about Mathilde's piano which she lost - my parents still have the grand piano that I played on while I was growing up. It sits in their living room with pretty framed photos of family sitting on the closed top (I don't do that with my own piano). My mom still plays it sometimes and has stacks of music sitting on the sides. However, I don't like to play it because it does not sound good anymore. I have become spoiled in a way since owning my own new grand which I have tuned every three months so it's always in tune and the action works well. But I do like looking at my parents grand and just like knowing that it is still around. I know I will be sad when the day comes that we have to take out the piano. Not sure anyone will even want it, so maybe it will become like what Luc did with some of his old pianos - fire wood. Oh, that makes me cry a little thinking of that. Shoot - now I'm in a sad mood.

    Oh well, Andreas - I think it is wonderful that you read the book in a different language. Really! It would take me so long to do that if the book were in German. Thank you also for your thoughtful and interesting comments. But most of all for participating. I liked doing this very much with you and Nathan.
     
  20. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    This has been a blast reading with you guys!!!!! and yes, I finished at the doc's office, but didn't want to brag ... it seemed unseemly.

    How nice for Luc to have apartner in life and soul. I love the ending ... "NEVER TOO MANY DREAM PIANOS" ... I don[t think a non-pianist can understand truly that statement. I think if every room in mhy house had a piano, I'd still look for more! hehe

    speaking of ... don't cry Monica ... I'll take that grand off your hands!! :wink:

    I just ordered fingers and a few other bks from amazon .... I'm ready fro next installment!!!!
     

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