Thursday, October 8, 2009

One of my longtime students is heavily into computers and into composition at the piano. I have long maintained that the piano imploded upon the auditory mind the way the computer has imploded upon the visual mind. This young man convinces me that I am right. He is unusual in that he is active in both areas. We are engaged in a wonderful exercise: imagining the opening of a Beethoven slow movement as a computer animation.

I go so far as to say that the sonatas of Beethoven and Mozart (just to name obvious examples among many others) are piano games similar to computer games in that they are really cognition teasers. From them you can learn how your auditory brain works and you can expand its capacity almost without limit.

As far as I know no one else describes this oeuvre this way. I think it is because most musicians know the works by sight or via theoretical explanation rather than ear-first.

Incidentally, Ross Lee Finney has a charming volume for beginners called 32 Piano Games. Nice.