woensdag 6 juni 2012

Sweet Child In Transit

Last night Venus transitted the Sun.  Meaning: Sun, Venus and Earth were aligned for about 6 hours.  Not only that, Moon was full the day before yesterday, and partly eclipsed. So, also just about as aligned with the rest as it ever can be.   Besides all that, if you draw a line to the stars through that alignement you get to the Pleiades.  Oh, and Saturn isn't that far off that line either, even Mars is more or less in that lineup...  Enough reason for astrologers to claim massive energy-effects and anything from the end of the World to earthquakes to love blooming to whatever you can think of.

For an astronomer it means nothing more than a very interesting and special occasion, enabling accurate measurement of the Solar System in the 18'th ccentury for the first time ever.  Concerning the Pleiades: well, there's always SOME asterism that is in line with something, so what that means I leave to your imagination.  As far as any real measurable effect of the whole alignement is concerned let me suffice with mentioning that the only real energetic consequence would be a slight chance in gravity.  About as strong -no, much weaker than- the attraction between an apple on your desk and you.

Nonetheless a huge outpouring of energy was apparent this morning when someone in a small group where I was started singing a few bars of 'Child in Time' (Deep Purple).  Within seconds it turned into a room full of feral cats screaming their lungs out.  Very impressive.  That, plus a lot of remarks on Facebook about people going crazy, does make you wonder somewhat....

I just felt, when I got home, like playing the song I hadn't played for years.  So here it is, first take, no edits.  As usual.  I refrained (somewhat) from exploring the ultra-high vocal registers I managed (or not) in that early morning group-rendition, and later belting on my bicycle searching for a good key.   However, the piano I did not treat as kindly as I did my voice.  And considering the vocals here you can only feel sorry for my big wooden friend.
Note I managed to dislodge a few strings.  Ah, it's due for tuning by now anyway.... 

zaterdag 2 juni 2012

Sweet And Gentle

Just a simple tonal slowtake today.  Very clear idea to start off with though: Downward sequense I-IV-II-V-III-VI etc. etc.   Confusing the subdominant to tonic to switch into tonic=dominant to erm, well, it tends to confuse the brain into making the real center a pointer towards the not-center, or something like that.  In other words, a bit the other way around -so to say- from usual harmonic structure, though still very conventional.  Got the outline riding my bike the day before, as an interesting entrance to fields un-explored.
Picture by Yours Truly.

I had some idea about how to fulfill that astranging effect into an interesting conclusion, but it didn't take too long before I lost the outline and let the music take its own direction.  Every once a while the outline got me back in gear when it was about to drift into nonsens.  Eventually I got into the field I was looking for and could not have imagined without the realisation of those imagined soundscapes,  evoking a bit of vocalisation as well.  So, nuff said, enjoy.

dinsdag 29 mei 2012

What Elephant ?

'ts been a while, have barely played past two weeks. You may notice there's a #181 missing; that I did record last week, bu I'm still processing that recording, as I hadn't got around to posting it, mostly because it's really two recordings and I had a hard time deciding.  So do tune in later today for it, and to find out how I solved the dilemma.

Back to roots, this one is recorded at seven in the morning, as dictated by my original premise: unedited, from first note on until ran out off notes.  The basic theme had been running through my head for a few days now, so I just played it at once.  And then found out the trouble I got myself into ;-)

Not playing for a while sure stiffs up the old fingers, but I hope there's no real bother by it in today's elaboration of a short melodic phrase from Saint Saens' 'Carnaval des animaux'. On of the classical pieces my Father used to play for me when I was a kid. Being a baby this would be played on a taperecorder next to my cradle in a noisy room and I'd go to sleep like, er, well, like a baby!

PS: Still looking for a nice picture to this episode, any suggestions?  There's also a little anecdote to go with this recording, but I'll tend to the otherr episode first, so do cast your eye on this one later on too.

donderdag 17 mei 2012

Sun At Last!

Willow with wild plants on it; picture by me this morning
This bright spell started yesterday evening, wich gave me a great chance to see Saturn and Venus through the telscope, ever so clear and sharp. Soooo beautiful, If I had pictures of that I'd put 'm here and name this one 'Venus & Saturn' instead...

And to share it with a Facebook Friend who came to stay over for two days, and got me out to take an amazing amount of great pictures all over town.  She'd never seen a Planet through a telescope before, and was awed...  Like I am awed by the way this willow caught some earth and a seed and grew these beautiful flowers up there.....
PS you'll hear her kind remark after I ran out of notes...

maandag 14 mei 2012

Mozart's Mower, Bird AndViro-Mental Piano!

A duet with the environment again.  Has been a while since I done that.  Always surprising.  At first I figured: 'ah, too much noise from the mower outside, I'll record later'.  Now it's later and they're still mowing, so I'm glad I decided: if you can't beat'm join'm.

Besides, here we're bak to my original premise; record at seven in the morning, any wich way.  I opened the window to let in the mowing-machine - and why bother switching of the TV with Mozart's Zauberflöte -...  Kept the remote handy though.

In the last minutes a bird decided to get in on the fun.  At first I didn't really notice it at all, I think it was perfectly in tune and adding to the music before it attracted my attention.  It has not let me down for the rest of my play.

And we end this one the way we began it, Mozart's Mower and the bird.

PS I still need a great picture for this one (and the last one too!) ; Anyone?

woensdag 9 mei 2012

Sturm und Drang

The creative process can be quite disconcerting and confusing from time to time.  This process, from blinding, paralizing inspiration to fruit was my premise for todays improv.   This and the approach of the piano as a percussion instrument, rather than the harmonic/melodic approach I usually embody.

Working title was 'Stepping Stones', and I suppose that shines through quite obviously.  As it was done, and I contemplated what I had played minutes later on my bike-ride, the present title presented itself as more appropriate.

It takes a considerable while of seemingly meaningless chaotic dissonant percussive rythmic elaboration before the planted seeds sprout into some of the more familiar harmonic and agreeable elements emerging into a final realisation of relaxation and fulfillment.  (did I seriously just type those words in ernest?  It looks like jibberjabber from a comedy on make-beief artistic folks...  but seriously, if you listen you'll find it makes real sense after all... Sometimes as Dad sez truth is stranger than fiction; and may I add: more banal..)

PS if you have a illustration to suggest for this, please don't hesitate to fill me in/send it?...

zaterdag 28 april 2012


An exploration of the first few bars of Mahler's 1st symphony, Titan.  On the score this first movement has the instruction:
 'Langsam schleppend, wie ein Naturlaut'.
Pictures by Yours Truly.

 Hence the title.  

Dad used to play this when I was a little kid to wake me up whenever I was at his place, if you play it: Chicago Symphony Orchestra you'll understand that was a great way to wake up.

I did not linger to much on the rest of that symphony here, just let go to explore where that short progression and mood would take me. Nowhere, eventually, but that's after a lot of very nice everywhere.  Still hard to anticipate the moment where I run out of notes, and I guess today I was slightly late; so I just let be there and closed to an open end. 

I'm quite sure this mornings play would not be a bad alarmclock either.

Saly's verjaardag Pt1. Being Green

Happy birthday Saly!

These are the two songs I had planned to play on your birthday-party last Sunday, but in all the turmoil of the huge party there was no time and/or chance to squeeze it in, so I did it now, today, the actual day of your 75th birthday.
'God's song', by Randy Newman, and 'Being Green', by Kermit the Frog.
Somehow I found these two songs to be appropriate.  Those who know Saly as I do would probably agree.

For you listeners who do not have a clue what I'm on about, Saly is my 'evil stepdad', ever since age 13.  And I love the Man, he rocks and is way cool, has taught me way more than I dare ever admit. 

 How lucky I am, to have two evil stepdads ánd my beautiful biodad,  all still around...

PS. The recording of God's Song I found subpar on second listen; the advantage of the trouble with posting this a few days ago when it was made.  So I'm still planning a  new recording of that.  To be continued!

dinsdag 10 april 2012

Intricate Stillness

By Robyn van Horn
Soft and sweet.  Very intricate braided voices that mostly just took my fingers wherever they needed to be; not much control really.  That was a good thing, because I could never control such mazes consciously...

Totally lost control -or maybe I should say tried to take control- and lost my way after about 7 minutes.  So I just shut up, let stillness return and did the equivalent of sewing a closing seam to an unfinished blanket to make it whole.

zaterdag 7 april 2012

Baby Upright My Baby

Retuning Mom' s piano yesterday, the piano I played most of my life until I moved out on my own.  Very different to my own piano, the one you usually hear here.  Tiniest baby-upright, ever such a light touch.  Very responsive to subtle and fast movements, and biiig sound.

Just like meeting an old friend again, or an old lover.  Forgot myself for some time there, over 20 minutes instead of the usual 5-10.  And really, the only reason to stop playing was Mom came home again from her shopping spree... 

Thought I'd leave that bit in, some couleur locale...
Just like this.  But with my DNA and all my fave pianists' on it of course.

Will have to do something about the creaking pedals though, soon; plus the worn hammers at the highest register, deep grooves therein; but... those grooves smehow stick a bit to the strings when played really softly, making a delightfull ringing overtone-rich clavichord- / bell-like sound.  Top is a bit detuned too, but I left it as such, as my tuning hammer has such bad fit I' d damage the tuningpins if I' d get to work on that, so I left that for later when I bring the right hammer, and used it as an excuse to let rip for the time I had.

Enjoy!   I'm sure I did.

maandag 2 april 2012

Chaos Butterfly

Standing on the shoulder of giants, From chaos to harmony and ordered body of knowledge.
Forest Fire Model
Plus a butterfly in Tokyo that causes a storm in Amsterdam; a definition or illustration of chaos-theory.  Two opposing sides of the same coin.

Dare I toot my own horn besides the piano to say this is one of the rare episodes that has my 100% seal of approval? I have not played it back yet, but whilst playing this it was one uninterrupted stream of unconscious consciousness, and satisfaction with almost everything my fingers did.

donderdag 29 maart 2012


Old friends, old friends sat on their parkbench like bookends
A newspaper blowin' through the grass
...  ...
Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you
...  ...
Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a parkbench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy
Old friends, memory brushes the same years, silently sharing the same fears

lyric and melodic excerpts from 'old Friends/Bookends' by Simon & Garfunkel

woensdag 28 maart 2012

The Year of the Cat

A total break with tradition here; guitar and vocals, no piano. Not really impro either, but true to the original premise: first take, no cuts.   Song I haven't played in over ten years.
First few lines may be a bit confused, finding a string not as much in tune as I want it to, and if there's one thing I can't stand... So it had to be retuned as I went on.   Also the bridge got me somewhat mixed up, but never mind the excuses.

It's gotta be the weirdest and most original version I ever did of this.  Just like a cat would, I guess.

And remind me again of the fact that one microphone is not sufficient for a good balanced mix.  And see if I care.  ;-)  (actually I do, but never mind just the same)

Illustrations: Cat's Eye Nebula, from Wikipedia

vrijdag 23 maart 2012

Adagio del Primavera

Another winter survived... Living in The Netherlands is a constant rollercoaster of ever changing weather.  The idea that there is places in the World where the daily news on TV and radio does not contain an extensive section on the weather-prediction is totally alien and uncomprehensible to a Dutch boy.

Seasons is one thing, Dutch weather a totally different matter.  Anyway.  The average of daily temparature and friendlyness of the atmosphere is climbing back to agreeable now.   Past few days were marvelous, all the trees are springing, birds are tweeting their little hearts out way before Sunrise and most of the flowers that sprout from bulbs (such as tulips and all their family; daffodils, krokussen (don't know that in English) have all shown their faces by now.  And tonight the clock will swallow an hour.

So.... time for contemplation and melancholic joy.

Pictures by yours Truly.  This is 'hondsdraf' in Dutch, abundant in the grass and all over road-sides
Today's play has a touch familiarity; either I ripped it of something I forgot, or it' s just something I have more or less played before.  Probably the second, though I am not really sure.  If you have an idea where these melodic stanza' s are partly from please let me know, use the 'reactions'  button...

Safe from a few misgrips close to conclusion most of this is the way I intended, but I sure lost my way for a few bars there...  Just like spring usually goes here, so I suppose it' s appropriate.  And today I joined the birds with some vocal additions as well.

PS. Alas, now that i have monitored the recording I find ot the vocals are barely audible...  Yet again reason to get at rearrangng my recording-setup.   Sorry!   There's just so much one microphone can pick up, especially when afterwards the music gets compressed to mp3, wich takes out all that is 'not audible'.  On the original recording the voice is much more present.  I'll see if I can improve it a bit, but.. no promises...

woensdag 21 maart 2012

Almost Cut My Hair

Yours truly, this morning.
Almost, but not quite.  From the epic album 'Deja Vu' by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  a rock band with a name like a lawyer firm.  First in a whole line of such named bands.  Up to then bands had names like Mushy Marshmallow Rainbow and the likes,  Tthese were the greatest minds and voices of such bands former glory.

Almost cut their hair.  almost, but not quite.  Not even close.  That's when the freakflag truly started its flight.

I really have to do something about my recording setup; just one microphone has in a way a nice direct sound that I like, but stereo and an extra vocal mic would be preferable.  That and less noise, let alone distortion, wich, I'm  afraid, has crept in here once more...
Pictures by me, being me, this morning.

dinsdag 20 maart 2012

Spherical Harmonics

Totally different approach of the instrument today. No sense explaining, just press play and sit back. Or stare at the picture.
Pictures by Robyn van Horn

PS Nothing wrong with your speakers, the recording is slightly distorted.

vrijdag 16 maart 2012

Minimal Lavender Fields Amongst Concrete

Hate it when this happens; the recorder gave me quite a scare when I finished todays recording.  It was not running.   But I was pretty sure I got the aquired habit of checking it for running when I start down all right.

Slight reassurance of this told me it had recorded, but I ran out of virtual tape....   So: compositional balance is slightly lost in this recording.  Even though all that is lost is the slow and easy petering out of what I played, back into reaquired silence, it might leave you slightly out of equilibrium.

  So just imagine another minute or so of re-affirming and settling of whatever notes were left when it fades out where an abrupt ending was.

donderdag 15 maart 2012

Hurried Rhapsody

Although I had about 10 minutes left to make my recording this morning before I had to go about my daily chores - and most of my plays take less than that - I did feel somewhat in a hurry to get the music down.  So much to say and play, in what felt like so little time.  

In about 7 minutes I felt like I did manage to get it all in.  Then I hit some keys and found whole new fields of exploration, and frankly those opened up probably way more than some extra minutes of new music.   But; no more time.   So, as fragmented as the first minutes were, these became split-up seconds of opening doors and closing them again, straight away.

So I do hope you can enjoy this rhapsody of cosmic possibilities unexplored...

woensdag 14 maart 2012


Story and illustration will be added in an hour or so, here's today's recording for now.

PS: If you have any suggestion for illustration please use reactions to post a link.

Full Circle

don't really know what to say about this piece except; Somehow it just felt very circular, and the ending, though abrupt, felt like perfectly running out of notes at the exact point where the circle was closed.

Henk.  Alas entered eternal silence few months ago...
The other thing being: I mentioned before one of the credo's of my once composition teacher Henk Alkema; It is as important to compose silence as it is to compose sound.  This time -while the circle got closed- it just did not feel finished.  And after one of the longest silence-bits I've ever created, what at first I thought was the beginning of a new piece, turned out to be the short epilogue.  Including the sound of knocking over a cymbal next to the piano when I turned on my chair to switch of the recorder.
Circle filled.

maandag 12 maart 2012

Static Stoïcism

I had some trouble today with processing this recording. Not so much tech-wise, more in the compositional/musical realm. First of all after playing my first round I had the feeling it wasn't up to scratch. Though a nice idea came up and got mostly fullfilled, I tried again. Wich of course did not work. Or, to be more precise, some parts were the things I felt were missing in the first try, but the rest was just nonsense and misgrips....

 So after that second try I figured let's try something completely different. 2nd or 3d move in that second try was indeed very nice, but not exactly what I wanted. So, listening to the whole track, I was torn between three (no, four) sentiments: first: just post the whole track and let you work it out. Second: just post the first movement. Third: cut out the middle. oh yes, and there it got just to intricate, because cut out the middle; exactly wich middle?  Ending up on a cut that was not from silence and so needed really more and extra processing and editing and..

That was not what I meant to do with this blog/podcast. Remember: 'From the first keystroke on, unedited, until I run out of notes'. So, just the first movement it is.  That one is perfect in its own right, fresh and real. Though not really a whole piece, it is a nice and comprehensive idea for one.  The rest is just thinking and elaborate workings again. and that's a different blog: 'Musical Nightgown', Pyjamapiano's little sister that got a bit crushed because of that whole stupid affair with the last provider etc etc etc.
 Oh boy, I'm just blabbing way to much again. here's the recording, enjoy.

zondag 11 maart 2012

Being Green

Kermit & Prince from Wilma's kikkersite
Another song I haven't played in years and years.

Kermit's credo...

Did it twice;, both are very different approaches, so I just give you both.

It's always an adventure, the way a familiar song from the past can carry you to long forgotten places and sing itself...

zaterdag 10 maart 2012

Bach To Balkan

Pic from http://hilversum.okkn.nl/pagina/1268/bach_op_zaterdag
A short ditty today.  Just a few Bach-like melodics and counterpoint tries.  of course yesterday when I was just trying the first two octaves when tuning Mom' s piano I had the most perfect and brilliant minutes of 2-3 voice counterpoint ever.  And of course then I had no recording going.  Tried somewhat later again with recording and of course that was total nonsense.   This morning was somewhere in the middle.

The other thing I did testing all octaves when nearly done with the tuning was this nice Balkan-thingy.  This morning I decided to try that when I ran out of Bach.  And of course my fingers were too stiff because I just got up.  Great fun nonetheless.  And guess what: Bach decided to get in on the Balkan-vibe.

vrijdag 9 maart 2012

Kip En Ei

Well known Dutch saying: "Wat was er eerder, de kip of het ei"?
I'm not sure wether this saying exists in other languages.  In English:
"Wich one was first, the chicken or the egg"?
To utterly confuse the matter: Peacock eggs and chick, brooded by a chicken

Here's both, two movements.  I'd say the first is actually the chicken and the second one the egg.  But of course that is debatable.  If I were to make cuts and edits I'd use the second movement as first.  But that would be cheating.  And it totally defies the essence of the whole premise as it proves the saying.

First movement is a simple prelude/etude/sonata-like tonal exploration of some simple and elemental melodic/harmonic elements.  Second movement I just let rip, total thoughtless intuitive playing, where the elements of first movement somehow find their place in chaos...

zaterdag 3 maart 2012

Compulsive Eighths

Eight has got to be one of the strangest spelled words in English.  Especially if you take it to the next level, or to be more exact the pre-next level, it totally fractures.  When you think about it the whole way musical notation is set up on the basic level is strange: One beat is not a beat, in our most basic Western structure it is a quart.  Based on the idea one beat is nothing, it's just part of the larger whole - a measure-, consisting of three or four beats. And in case one measure is three beats (3/4 beat) we still call that 3'd measure ie one beat a quart.
Crazy, huh?  Now get into overdrive and you get half beats: eighths.  Still that word looks wrong, but I've checked and at least óne dictionary says that is the proper way to spell it.  Still it looks wrong.  Over-achieving.

Just like a large part of this piece.  Eighths marching on, twofold.  Two-voice invention I could name it.  And it is, mostly.  It felt like a race to keep up with the input from who knows where.  Compulsive eighths, going on and on.  Up to a certain point where my mind just tripped over my hands.  Tripped in the oldfashioned sense of stumbling over a rock or threshold ( <--there's another weird spelling of a word if ever...). 

That's where Bach's spirit got fed up with tonality, and in Grateful Dead-terms 'Space' starts.  And there we're back to the dichotomy of words, even when not intended in the first place.  About as intricate as these sentences have braided into strangeness do the compulsive eighths in todays episode.  Enjoy.

zaterdag 25 februari 2012

Slight Sonata

Back to tonal today, in a very traditional way.  Some playing towards two-voice inventions after exposition, but mostly just a comprehensive simple story in sentences and two movements.

Comma's and periods should be added later, and a few sentences may either derail or just have strange conclusions.  but that's what you get when not writing using pencil and eraser but keys and tape instead.  Oh yes, and by going with a first draft.  But of course, that's the whole point.

Again today I included the initial searching for those first words.  As in my original premise, this one is 'from the first keystroke on, no cuts, no second tries'.  Might be interesting.   And then again it might not be, so if you can't be bothered start at 0:25

vrijdag 24 februari 2012

Serial Cereal

Somewhere along the way in the early twentieth century there was this movement of composers that felt all and every possibility in music had been explored by the hierarchy of classical composers such as Bach, Mozart et al. In a way they paved the highways and byroads with intricate pieces of architectural constructs based on the 7-tone scale, multiplied by the twelve keys of the chromatic scale.

Of course the simple developement at first was to use all those twelve tones, but that always just comes back to the 'tonal implications' of those twelve tones as related to the 7 tone scale. Next step to try loose that 7 tone scale alltogether, but that is just not that easy, for it is more or less a consequence of the physical properties of sound, to be precise the scale of harmonics that is in each and every note played by the musical instruments thusfar developed.

Example of basic Serial Music Theory, from WSU Math(!) website, short treatise on basics.
And therein lies the key to the next developement.  That whole 7- and further 12-tone system allways relates back to the harmonic content of one note.  the keynote, in other words the first, lowest note of the scale, onto wich all other notes are always heard in relation to.  The tonal center.   That center may change from time to time during a musical piece, but it always goes back to and ends on that common ground.  Tension relaxed.

So, how to loose that center, how to get the tonal biased mind to loose all track of fundament and regard all twelve notes equal, without preference.  The answer was: Serial music.  To start the piece with all twelve tones in succession as a basis, and work through the whole piece with all sorts of mathematical principles to give all these tones equal weight and not let that bias of tonality have a chance to get footing.

To do that, and still create meaningful music of course is a major challenge.  I have tried some bashfull steps on that technique, but to tell you the truth I just can't be bothered; it was a phase in musical developement, the way I see it not meant to be a viable way to make music once the experiment was fulfilled.

Now, back to this morning.  I was fed up with past weeks of tonal searchings, and decided to just intuitively play a sequence of twelve different notes, and from there on just play, with, as far as I am able to, no tonal center.

Now, I wonder, if this piece were to be analyzed, how much of it would indeed be within the parameters of those mathematically developed and tried methods of that group of composers way back then?  Considering 'intuitive' tonal music is usually totally analysable in the classical idiom, I'd suspect quite a lot.  I wonder.  And i really would like to know.  But I cxan't be bothered with all that hard work, besides, I do not have that amount of knowledge and experience in the field.  I'd rather just keep on playing.

donderdag 23 februari 2012

However Much I Try

- I cannot be more than one musical instrument at once.  Aside exceptions like guitar/piano & vocals, guitar and mouthharp in a brace of course, but let's just keep that out opf the equation for now. 

This episode is more or less orchestral in nature.  In otjher words, a few times I play two different voices left and right, and wind up having a finger from each hand on the same key...  Each with it's own topuch of that voice at the time.  Impossible of course, especially when those voices end up crossing, ie right goes down and left goes up...  Takes a certain kind of mind to be able to then decide wether to cross hands or switch hands, and I'm not quite sure wether I've managed to get across that bridge in the several cases this morning where that happened...

So let's forget about that whole matter, let alone go into the fact that it's not just those two or contemplate using feet as well to go up to four ;-)
So let me just state that if ever an instrument exists that is somewhat able to approach the possibility to play a symphony-orchestra as just one person it would have to be the piano.  And let's assume I managed this morning to slightly touch that possibillilty.

Mostly this morning's play to me had óne very clear motif coming out, one that, the more it appeared and repeated seemed so familiar.  Many times that happens, and the amazing thing always is, again and again, how clear it appears to be, each time it pops up, some element gets clearer, and each time another element of it pops up it's somehow just self-evident that that certain variation is the way it was meant.  Wether that is because it is something heard before, or something entirely new, and also wether there's a real distinction between those two I cannot tell.  What I can tell though is I have the impression it is a theme from an orchestral work by the Man that taught me composition at the conservatory; Will have to check that out, Wich I will in due time for I have a recording of that piece.   I wonder....

Beethoven's Lament

Beethoven-1814-Louis René Létronne
  I can picture young Ludwig hitting bottom on not being Bach.  However much he may fiddle with those voices,  it just never gets to be that clean selfless counterpoint.  Just always turns out as implied harmonics: no real conversation or discussion between voices, more of a greek choir just all stating the same.

  However, somehow he must have had the key to get up and out of the deep well of depression, else he would not have left us so much music and lived to such a ripe and grumpy old age.   So, after some fruitless tries enough is enough.  And he gets back to good old Rock & Roll power-chords.

It's not that bad a deal being Beethoven, after all.

vrijdag 17 februari 2012


Jacob Philipp Hackert - Grand Waterfall at Tivoli - 1783
Actually the piece doesn't really start until about 1:00.    But I included the first minute anyway because in a way that is the seeds, or, in this case, the first drops and some small insignificant dead-end trickles.   And after all, doesn't every waterfall start out like that?  The original premise of this podcast/blog was: from the first keystroke on, uncut or edited.  Uncut and -edited is still usually the case; the 'from the first keystroke' I sometimes take a slight bit less literal now.  But there's always been a particular -and I believe valid -reason to not cut from the moment on where it gets 'interesting', because one of the things this is about, and fascinates me, is where does the music come from?  Well, that first minute gives us a small insight into the answer to that unanswerable question.

So, if you do not wish to get particularly wet and just can't be bothered, start at 1:00... ;-)  A -not overly inspired or comprehensive- exploration of one simple melodic element, and the harmonies it implies.

woensdag 15 februari 2012

Harmonie Der Spheren

Music of the Spheres.  A Pythagoreian concept describing the way of the Cosmos.  Also a deeper meaning, the idea that all and everything in this Cosmos, including the Earth and its living beings are subject to one larger whole: a harmoy of vibrations.  Each planet, tree, creature fulfilling its one note in the overall harmony of life and being.       (-the Universe and everything=42 ;-P )

<<<--- Pan, the Greek horned God holding his flute (yes; Panpipes...) where each pipe or tone represents the orbit of one of the (then known) 7 Planets... 

 This flute he made from the reeds that resulted from him chasing the Woman he lusted after: Syrinx, transforming herself into those reeds to hide from his persistance. 

Pan played this flute in mourning ever since. 

But that's a whole different story, -as far as I know- not having anything to do with
Harmony of the Spheres.

dinsdag 14 februari 2012


Picture from Wikimedia Commons
Another song dug up from beneath the mists of time.  How many years since I've last played it... 5, 10, 15 maybe?

Quite inapropriate to play it this particular day in fact, considering the last line and an undisputable trueism:

..."Each day is Valentine's day"...


 One of those things you learn first year at the conservatory: the 'Tristan-chord', plus its solution, and the 'Tyl Uylenspiegel-chord' plus ditto.  And the difference between those two.  They're both very tense chords, begging for a solution and release of tension, and both do it in an unexpected and delightful way.

  Now those two are so very much alike that I am not at all sure wether in this case I have explored the one or the other, or perhaps both...   And see if I really care.  Althoug, knowing myself, I reckon somewhere in coming days I will check it out.  Wich will probably either result in an addendum to this little scribble, or a new episode with that story, 

So ths morning I laid my hands on the keys and out came that chord.  Trembling with wild anticipation I followed my instincts and safe from one mis-grip (that wasn't that missed after all considering it probably laid seeds for a further developement later on) I managed to solve the riddle and play the notes that I had learned so long ago should follow.  What an amzing thing the mind and tactile memory is.  If you'd ask me right now to lay down that chord (or write it in notation) plus the solution I honestly would not have a clue.

Anyway, as I've said, this chord/progression opens up a World of strange and tense music that I have somewhat explored this morning.  Still I haven't even barely stirred the surface I'm sure...   All but a short moment of this, very near the end where I lost my nerve I do believe this is one of the nicer ones I've made so far.  At that point I just stopped, and concluded what was left.  Ran out notes. Of course I could have cheated and cut out that little mess-up, but that I do not do here. Not here.  Not in the morning with pyjama's on.  That's how It should be.

vrijdag 10 februari 2012

May Auld Aquaintance Be Forgot

We'll have a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne....

One-Hundred-And-Fifty!  Honderd En Vijftig!

Jubilee, and a whole new setting.

  Sadly the whole former 150 episodes were on a different website, of wich the provider suddenly started acting up and blocking acces.  So far I have not yet been able to recover all those posts with stories, illustrations and comments that go with the recordings of half a year of daily early-morning piano-improvisations.  The recordings I do have on my hard disk and backed up, so these are not lost, thank God.  This 'back catalog' I will in due time put somewhere else to be accessible from this website, and I hope I will be able to recover the rest from that darned stupid company where PyjamaPiano used to live upto now..

So now let's just start fresh at 150 and work up to the next 150 and on.  Should auld aquaintance be forgot?  In this case, sadly, yes.  But brought to mind it will be.  In every key played.  They can't take the piano, my mind, soul and heart, nor my hands....

>>> Komt eraan, opname is klaar, nog even verwerken. <<<
>>> Recording made, will process and post in few hours<<<<

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne* ?

    For auld lang syne, my jo (or my dear),
    for auld lang syne,
    we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
    for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.


Don't Bother

Picture from Wikimedia Commons
..They're here.

 An exploration of 'Send in the Clowns'. Another song I haven't played in years and years. It's always interesting to find what is left in the mind and fingers of a song you once played and knew by heart x years after. One of those things this bl;og is about. Though of course you wish to play the ultimate rendition of it the moment you sit down with a clear aural image of it in mind what comes out is very much a different thing. First of all of course much less perfect, and though the lyrics may be quite clear and somewhat complete once you start playing there's just a small part of it that actually comes out whole. But that snippet is in a way the essence of a song, its heart. The center around wich the whole thing revolves once you've re-programmed the autopilot that gets one to play an entire song whole. And, as I stated before, is what this blog/podcast is about. 

>>> Recording yet to be processed and posted, ETA within a few hours <<<<

This blog/podcast has a little sister: http://soundcloud.com/musical-nightgown .  A little sister born yet but still in its very young infant/suckling stage.  The idea and purpose being to get these early morning explorations and work on them to produce a grown child in the evening: in this case the song whole and 'proper', with full lyrics and performance.  Ah, well, we'll see...
  Right now I've used this to post the recordings of PyjamaPiano since the original PP-site got blocked, and for now it will be the way to get my recordings on this blog, but that's just an emergency-measure until i get the whole thing sorted out.  WIll keep you posted.

maandag 6 februari 2012

Magnificent Desolation

..."Magnificent Desolation"...  Is what Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin said to refine Neil Armstrong's remark "Magnificent view", after a short contemplatitve pause.  A soundbite that has been multiply beat by Neil's beautiful "small step for man, giant leap for mankind".  Of course the first words on the Moon would be the ones to go down in history as definition of the event.
 However, "Magnificent Desolation" to me is the true term in wich I feel some of the impressiveness of the whole experience and place is condensed.

Neil Armstrong is the official hero, being first to step down, a logical consequence of his rank as commander.  To me Buzz is the one that really got the whole experience engrained in his soul, so much so he spent years and years after the fact to come to terms with the sheer awesomeness of it.

This morning I'd been watching a marvellous 2 hour documentary on NASA-tv about the entire history of American spaceflight.  So when I started playing when the whole Moon-landing-segment had concluded of course there was only that in my mind and heart...

I got into the contrast between the highstrung intense experience and practice of spaceflight on the edge of experience, science and engineering, and the magnificent desolation of space ande the Moon.  And of 3 people entirely cut of from the planet, only linked by umbilical radio...


Selfportrait Rene Sommer Rotterdam june 2011


All and everything, all at the same time.  And there's just nooo stop to it, on and on and on.....

Photograph Rene Sommer Rotterdam 2011

zaterdag 28 januari 2012


The back-catalog as far as there's room in storage; eventually I hope to add the entire backcatalog from episode one.

Moving my podcast/blog PyjamaPiano

My (sub-) daily podcast Pyjamapiano has been hosted past half year on http://pyjamapiano.podbean.com.  Somehow a few weeks ago that adress got blocked.  Was easy to unblock through sending email to the provider, but within a day it got blocked again.  Now we're about 8 re-opens/re-blocks down the line.  In no way have they answered any of my correspondence other than by a preprogrammed line like "your account is unblocked now, any more questions do not hesitate to contact us", and somewhat later the other line "we have forwarded your problem to our techteam".

However I have not yet received any more elaborate explanation as to what exactly went wron but the very last email I got after insisting on answer when unblocking did not happen again for about a week: "Your account gets blocked everytime you open it again because our server flags it as a SPAM-one.  You have to upgrade to unlock your account".

No explanation as to what exactly they mean by the SPAM-remark, just a link to 'upgrade'.  Upgrading means pay at least $29,- for an 'advanced' account.  So now I have to PAY to get my half years worth of data back?!?  I have not received any answer yet to my return-email over a week ago -in wich I protest and tell them my podcast is non-commercial, and about as far removed from spam as a freshly slaughtered cow- but: "we have forwarded your problem to our tech-team"

Now, upgrading my account was an intention I had up to the moment this nightmare started....  it would give me more room to store recordings, ie the possibilty to keep up a back-catalog of about 1-2 months instead of the 2-3 weeks I have now (I erase old recordings to make room for new ones), plus the bonus of being able to design the page exactly the way I want it instead of the choice of a few template, where i got the least ugly one....

So to make along story short, I have a different place to store my recordings, have been using it up to now as a little sister to the podcast-blog/site with other intentions, and by now it's clear to me that provider is less of a nuisance.  So my $29 will eventually go there for added storage and an better way to play the recordings, coupled to this blog (wich is free and gives me total control over how it looks and functions) and the podcast-service will be coupled to yet another free provider.  A bit more work to start with, buta lot more control over everything.

For now the adress is this blog, but in a short while it will be my own domain, meaning from that moment on the adress will not change anymore and whatever happens providerwise you will always be able to reach PyjamaPiano through the same URL.

So here goes, above this post you will find the some of the back-catalog.  And from then on the usual (sub-)daily posting WITH comments/story and illustration(s).