Sudden Death


Some folks probably were comforted by an article that appeared online last year -- an article titled, "Why You Probably Won't Experience Your Own Traumatic Death." "Ever wonder what it would be like to get shot in the head, or have your face smash into a car's windshield? Well, you can stop wondering, because you'll never know -- even if it does happen to you... "It takes as long as 150 to 300 milliseconds (ms) to be aware of a collision … [Read more...]

Lost Temper


In a good recent demonstration, Jonathan Bellman suggested that sequential passages in Chopin's piano music have greater content with less equally tempered tuning. The specific pitch proportions within intervals would have subtly changed as key-area changed, with the less equalized tuning of 19th-century pianos. Equal temperament remains a theory but is not a practical piano reality even today. Just listen... Technicians in my school … [Read more...]



After a concert I played in Munich in May, there was a question-and-answer session. (I performed music written by Alvin Curran, Sylvano Bussotti, and Earle Brown.) One audience member asked if a performer of newish music still needs to study Chopin's etudes? Since the pervasive use of photography by visual artists, the question arises in art schools: "Do art students need to learn how to draw?" To the question in Munich, my immediate … [Read more...]

Molecular Piano


Before, I have spoken of "extreme" piano, related to the phenomenon of "extreme sports" -- I was talking about the masochistic marathon of Alvin Curran's Hope Street Tunnel Blues III. Now, I want to propose the notion of "molecular piano." I'm thinking of "molecular gastronomy" as practiced by Ferran Adrià and many others (focusing on ambiguities and subtle transformations -- from one state of edible matter to another). And, I am thinking too of … [Read more...]