Chad’s YouTube Picks 7-9

Speaking Piano

For those readers who do play piano at a high level, surely you’ve had lessons at some point in your life during which your instructor asked you to communicate with the music, to speak with the music, make your phrases ask questions and make statements, make the piano sing, and/or a variety of other requests that serve as analogies to human speech and communication. Well, all you need to do is learn how to do what you are about to see with the piano, and nobody will ever doubt your proficiency in this department ever again:

I must say, the piano technician who last serviced this piano did a fantastic job with its… voicing.

This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the fact that human speech is a combination of low and mid-range frequencies (timbre and vowel sounds of the voice) and very high frequencies (consonants and consonant combinations such as s, t, th, f, p, etc.). Having a high frequency means that the sound waves themselves are vibrating back and forth very rapidly, and if we are to capture such data into a computer sound file, we must instruct the listening device to “listen” to it many thousands of times per second. This is analogous to capturing greater detail in a digital photo by having higher resolution. This audio “resolution” is known as sample rate, and it is measured in kiloHertz (kHz). Standard CD recordings have a sample rate of 44kHz (there are 44,100 sound “samples” per second), which is why even the highest note on the piano comes through crystal clear in CD recordings.  But, in stark contrast, when we hear someone speaking through our cell phones, the sample rate of this signal is very low. That is why I cannot wait for the day when our cell phone networks finally upgrade to “HD” sound capability – I’m tired of not being able to distinguish between the Ts, Ds, Ps and Bs, or between Ss and Fs!

Paganini’s violin concerto performed with facial expressions

There are studies which suggest that reasonable amounts of physical choreography (hands, body, face) allow for more effective communication between a performer and their audience. Here is what happens when you accompany a performance with unreasonable amounts of physical choreography.  (This one is a Wimp video instead of a YouTube video, so you’ll have to manually click on the link.)

Toccata and fugue in D minor-Bach-BWV 565

Staying true to the format of my previous YouTube Pick posts, I now present a video that is truly inspiring. This is an arrangement of Bach’s famous D minor Toccata & Fugue (famous for good reason – it is a wonderful piece) played by Robert Tiso… on glass harp!

(C) 2014 Cerebroom

About Chad

Chad is a pianist, composer, piano teacher and blogger with a Masters Degree in Piano Performance. He received the 2005 Nevada Arts Council Fellowship Grant for the composing and performing on his Ostinato CD.

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