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January 15th-31st

upcoming events:
Jan. 30 -- Purcell's "Timon of Athens" with the East End Song Studio
               Pittsburgh (virtual/by invitation)

a cool picture you apparently
                                  can't see would go here
This week's featured recording (1.22.21)

Flowing Water  

by an unknown Chinese composer (20th c.)

Ever wonder why they put all those crazy numbers after classical compositions? Like Symphony no. 7 op. 4 no. 6, or Sonata K. 527/376a?

I can explain. Really. And some of it is quite simple. Some of it, anyway....

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Koechel, God Bless You!   

 What's the deal with those funny numbers?

It might not seem like much to some of you who have just wandered onto my website from Zanzibar, but I feel the need to pat myself of the back.

A couple of weeks ago I managed to effect another of the great transitions here at Pianonoise, that being the jump to video.

I know, it sounds kind of cro-magnon.

I don't mean I'd never heard of it before, and I'm not that old. I don't have problems using my microwave, for instance.

Over the past couple of years I've managed to livestream recitals, and post videos on social media. And of course I've been running this website on my own for nearly two decades, recording most of the audio files myself, and fixing coding mistakes when needed (I use a WYSIWYG editor which means I don't have to laboriously tell the computer what to do in its own language line by line, but sometimes the software is a little dense and then I have to go fix things as if I knew how to code and its then that my background as a 10 year old video game designer comes in handy even if those computers are long gone!)

But I hadn't actually managed to post videos on the site, nor create the kind that you might record and edit not as a live concert stream but as a thing engineered. 

Naturally I chose the week before Christmas to do this

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Back to School with Franz Schubert 

Schubert chooses the last week of his short life to start taking counterpoint lessons

Franz Schubert had a problem. With composing.

No, it wasn't writer's block, exactly. He just wasn't getting the results he wanted.

Many composers before and since have struggled with this problem, which is behind both the exhilaration and the fear of creative ventures. The fact is, there is no answer key in the back of the book, and if you get stuck you have to figure out how to get unstuck yourself. You can't just swallow a magic pill or buy a book like Composing for Dummies (actually, it turns out you can, and if you think it will make you another Schubert you can go spend your $14.95). If you are sufficiently creative and a composer of some ability, you will have realized that composing is not like color-by-numbers. Compositions that sound like somebody just blindly followed a recipe never make it into the hall of fame, to say the least.

So what does one do in such a situation?

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before you can't get that song out of your head you have to put it in there

When I was just starting music school I remember asking myself, "how does a concert pianist practice?" I figured I couldn't very well sneak into somebody's house and find out. But right away, my response to my own question was, "become one and find out!"
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