Archive for October, 2012

The Piano Was NOT The First Keyboard (part 1)

Monday, October 29th, 2012

As most of you know, I am 100% a piano fan.   I love the way they look, feel, sound and maybe even smell ( at least when they are new ).  I thought about the fact, however, that I am never looking past the piano.  I never quite get back to the basics of where it all started at least as far as the lineage of the piano is concerned.

There is a very rich history in piano building that spans back to the late 1300’s into the 1400’s and I thought it would be fun to go back and look at the very beginning and see if we can (at least partially) bring it all full circle.

Although keyboard instruments as we commonly know them today have gone through many changes, the idea of a keyboard instrument  was originally created in 1361.  In 1361 there were essentially no flats or sharps as we know them today.  Although there are physically notes on the keyboard with the 5 incidentals they had different notes in the beginning.  Over the period of the next 300 – 400 years ( yes, that is an accurate number ) we have gone through a number of changes that have brought us to the “newest” scale and was finally publicly and famously endorsed by Bach in the early 1700’s.   Much more about that to come in the next parts.

I will be presenting to you in the next few blogs about the history of the piano.  I learned quite a bit myself and hope that you will as well.  It is a little confusing as you move backward to understand the scale designs so, I have tried my best to put the information in my own words and leave out some of the less famous keyboards.

Over the period since the early 1300’s (over 700 years of history) there have been many, many versions of the piano that did not “take” and were unsuccessful for one reason or another.   Some did not stay in tune for long periods of time, some were too awkward to be moved while others simply did not function correctly.

Over the next few posts I will attempt to put the most popular stringed keyboard  instruments in a logical order so you can easily follow the information and pass it along to others.

Please enjoy.

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Ric Overton

Chance Meetings – Kindred Spirits

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

I don’t do this very often because it’s too weird when it happens but, occasionally, you meet someone for the very first time and you feel as if you have known them your entire life.  When this happens to me I get caught up in the moment and don’t realize what is unfolding right before  my very eyes.

Yesterday was one of those days.  The first lady that I met was one of those very kind customers that come in from time to time to simply ask a question about digital pianos and perhaps see a model or two to decide if its time to upgrade or not.  After she described the instrument that she presently owns and inquire about some models that she had seen online we both came to the conclusion that I most likely was not going to be able to help her with anything more than personal opinions.  I gave her some suggestions and we had the chance to talk and get to know each other a little and just before she left I asked her if she would play something for me.

PLEASANT SURPRISE

In my mind I had prepared for some simple arrangements of Misty, Ode to Joy or some 1st or 2nd year student recital pieces.  ( Yes, BTW, I know how arrogant that sounded.  It was not intended that way but, that is the norm when you work in a piano store.)  When she sat down and played the very first note I was so taken back by what I heard that I stopped what I was doing and sat down.  By the third measure of the Chopin piece she was playing I realized that this was not your average digital piano customer.

When I complimented her on her playing and how surprised I was I don’t think she realized just how serious I was being with her.  I mentioned that Rachmaninoff was my favorite composer and as you might guess she turned and played (from memory) his Prelude in C sharp minor.  I was absolutely blown away.  I could have listened all day even though we both had work to get back to.

As we were saying goodbye and exchanging business cards I told her that she MUST share her music with the people around her and she told me to visit YouTube and there I would find a few of her songs.  I took her advise and now I am going to share that link with you so you can be as blessed as I was yesterday.  Her name is Jane Fleming and here is her YouTube page.  I know you will enjoy.  Click the image below for Jane’s Music.

Jane Fleming YouTube page

Click here for Janes Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOUBLE BLESSING

As I said that this exact same thing happened to me twice yesterday.  The second lady I met was a piano teacher from Orange County.  We had such a delightful conversation and I immediately realized that she was as equally passionate about the piano as I am.    It makes me so happy to meet people from all walks of life that love pianos.

As Piano Social Directory continues to grow I hope some of you will take the time to email me about your experiences and stories that I can use in my blogs and things we can talk about that will be of benefit to others that share our passion.

Take a look at Cool Stuff for Musicians and the PianoSD Gear Shop when you have a chance.  Pull out your credit card and spend some money.  HaHa.

See you soon.

Ric Overton

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