Prepared piano/Unprepared pianist

As I was driving through the southern parts of Missouri and Kansas over break, thinking about everything I wanted to write this semester, I kept coming up with ideas for prepared piano (which was kind of unfortunate, since I was really needing to think of ideas for solo clarinet, but more on that later). Amongst all the ridiculous ideas (of which I have many), I came back to a phrase I've wanted to use as a title for a while, which involves the juxtaposed ideas of prepared piano and unprepared pianist. The immediate problem with that idea is that no one wants to hear an unprepared pianist on unprepared piano so it would stand to reason that no one would want to hear the same unpreparation on a prepared instrument. During the drive, I figured out how to make the piece work.

Pianists are saved from many of the pitfalls of wind instruments. Reed issues, wrong partials, everything having to do with intonation, stuff like that are not really problems (Of course, pianists have their own issues, like having to keep track of ~10 notes instead of 1, moving their instruments, all the mechanical voodoo that makes hammers strike keys, etc). But usually, assuming your piano is in tune, and is operating normally, if you hit an E-flat, something resembling all other piano E-flats come out.


And that's where our “Unprepared Pianist” part comes in. No one sits down at a piano to play a well-known piece, and expect anything other than piano noises to come out. And so, this piece I'm working on for prepared piano, is part prepared piano, part unprepared (or unexpectant) pianist, part Chopin's Nocturne in E minor, part theatre, and part ridiculous.

Maybe next week I'll go into the process of writing it, but here's how it is right now, without the theatrics added. In fact, this is merely Jennifer Tripi playing the aforementioned nocturne on a prepared piano.

Nocturne for Prepared Piano and Unprepared Pianist by kylevanderburg

And for kicks and giggles, here's Tripi playing Paradisi's Toccata in A on the same piano.

Prepared Piano Research – Paradisi by kylevanderburg