Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Percussion has become the sonic centerpiece of much contemporary music.  I think it is in reaction to a cleaned-up sound that simply does not excite curiosity.  What is more exciting than a gong or a chime or a triangle!

The piano's capacity for magic has all but disappeared from modern playing.  Pianists take full pedal with each harmony, changing when the harmony changes whether or not this is called for--and there are plenty of occasions when it is not only not called for but when it is a downright bad idea.  When this leads to full pedal changes at every barline, for instance.

The most amusing instrumentation is pairing the piano with vibraphone.  It is as if the composer wants to put the pedaled sound back into play and knows that the pianist will not do it (after years of being told not to).