A Reflection

Posted by eyeshalfclosed on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 Under: Albums
So I've been playing piano for many years; and was writing music long before I started uploading the piano melodies, four years ago. However before then, I'd been writing most of my songs using virtual instruments, such as midi guitars, bass and drums.

I think at the time I was trying to write something closer to 'pop songs', with a traditional verse / chorus structure; and casting aside the natural piano sound. After all, when we're young, we all want to play guitar in rock band; and piano music does have a somewhat dated image, which can be hard to shake off. Plus most of the piano music I'd learnt up until that point was classical, with a touch of jazz thrown in; and I simply thought that was all the piano was.

However as my tastes in music began to expand, I was discovering a whole new wonderful world of modern piano music, with contemporary pianists such as Ludovico Einuadi, emotive film composers such as Thomas Newman and talented anime composers such as Toshihiko Sahashi. Some of these breathtaking works astounded me; and more importantly, it connected with me in a way which classical music never could.

See the problem I've always had with baroque & classical music, is although the music is technically impressive, it often failed to resonate with me on an emotional level. It seemed to me like some of the music was trying to say, 'look how many notes and scales I can play at lightning speed', rather than trying to elicit emotion, which can often be best achieved with the simplest theme.

Don't get me wrong; I have nothing but admiration for those responsible for laying the foundations for music today, and there's many classical pieces that move me (such as some of Beethoven's slower sonatas). But upon hearing these modern performers, I had finally found piano music which I could relate to; simple melodies, but played with such grace and feeling, with not a single extraneous note to be found.

It was also at this time when I switched music recording software from Cakewalk's SONAR to Steinberg's Cubase. And while SONAR was great, the default piano sounds were all rather average; whereas Cubase came with an exquisite set of piano sounds. And so, as a combination of these factors, when I began recording music I found that the layers of pretense, the desire to use midi guitars and pop song structures, the desire to hide the fact that I was writing piano music, simply fell away.

Instead, I began to embrace it. After all, the piano is an instrument without compare. It covers a range of pitches which no other instruments can reach. It has this organic flow, where the notes blend into each other. It allows you to play up to ten notes at once, something instruments such as guitars, violins and trumpets simply cannot do. And perhaps most importantly, the sounds it creates can elicit every possible feeling, from fear to anger, from sadness to delight.

And although I love the sounds of many other instruments (indeed some of my recent stuff incorporates other elements such as string orchestration and guitar), the piano and it's sound will be something I always keep coming back to. So to all the kids struggling away over Bach and Handel in piano lessons, wondering what it's all for; remember that there's a whole world of musical possibilities out there. It's just up to you to embrace them.

In : Albums 


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