Friday, January 28, 2005

Poor George, the Imaginary Concert Grand

Snow and ice are expected all weekend long. So I guess the piano tuner won't be able to make it tomorrow as planned. So George's special day will have to be postponed, once again. Poor George. Poor, sad, out-of-tune George.

Clunks and twangs notwithstanding, George got lots of attention yesterday evening because I wanted to work hard on memorizing the Mozart last night (after doing my contrary motion scales, of course!).

So I worked at it. It really wasn't as much of a struggle as I thought it would be. Having played it so many times and having written a harmonic analysis of the whole thing, I guess it shouldn't be that difficult to play by heart.

And by heart, I played. It's been so long since I've memorized anything. I forgot about the freedom that comes with playing something from memory. Once you've stopped looking at the page, and once you've quit worrying about whether you can remember everything correctly (I'm not 100% there yet, but I'm close), you can really begin to listen to yourself and hear what you're playing. You can focus completely on the real music. And your brain can do theoretical gymnastics as it gains new insights and plays through old ones. The imagination can finally soar to its heart's content.

And soar it does. Playing a well-learned piece by memory can be a transcendent experience. An ecstatic experience. It's kind of like bathing in warm chocolate. With Mozart.

OK, maybe not with Mozart. :-)

Anyway, for a few minutes last night, I was a (chocolate-covered?) concert pianist and George was a (somewhat) perfectly tuned concert grand. Neither of us will ever be either ... but we both think it's fun to imagine.

1 comment:

Technidiva said...

HI Waterfall!

I loved reading about you and "Poor George!"! I've pleyed the flute for about 25 years and I have always had a hard time memorizing music. I think its more of a panic mode then anything else. I do play classical, jazz and worship. I gravitate towards the jazz and worship because its more of an "open format" and I dont have to worry about being exacting with the notes.

I do understand the freeing ability that comes with memorizing a piece.. I just don't think I am quite there yet!


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