Life According to Piano

Rough Cuts #1

I regularly read the blogs of several independent authors. One of the things they all do that I really like is post regular samples of new work. One of my favorite writers has a new novel in progress and publishes a chapter weekly (or as near to weekly as she can manage!)

I’ve wanted to do something similar for several months now. I’ve held back because of the technical challenges. When we record here (as we have for 3 albums now), we basically trash the music room with soft items to get the trebles not to sound harsh. And I bring in a piano tuner every day during the recording sessions. Setting up to record is just not something I can do weekly or even monthly.

So, I’m trying my first “rough cut” track by recording from the Kurzweil keyboard. On the plus side: In tune. Sitting right there. Easy to hook up to a digital recorder.

On the minus side: The sound is not as rich as my piano, and it doesn’t have the range of tone for me to play with. Also, this week, the pedal is being very finicky and cuts out in the middle of a track, requiring frequent help from my tech guy.

A little ignorance

This year I redesigned the certificates for the participants in the Santa Fe Sonata Contest. I’m rather pleased with how they turned out:

2015 certificate

That’s Santa Fe Baldy in the background. And a treble clef for the “S” of Sonata Contest, to make it all music-y and such.


A treble clef is really a G. That’s why its nickname is “G clef”. A thousand years or so ago, when music notation was being developed, everything was written by hand by the monks. The only fancy writing was at the beginning of pieces. Guess what’s always at the beginning of music? Yes, the clef, which defines which notes appear on which lines or spaces.

[Aside: we pianists usually only see treble (G) and bass (F) clefs nowadays; and they are nearly always in the same locations. But C clefs are quite common for other instruments, and as recently as Bach’s day the G clef moved around pretty often. We are a touch lazier now!]

So, the G clef was at the beginning of the music, saying “G is HERE!” Thus it was tarted up by the monks writing or copying the manuscripts. Then the printing press came along and standardized notation, and the clefs at the beginning of the music stuck in their tarted up versions.

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