Category Archives: Piano

silence her

I don’t care if my kid plays music or not but I want to make it easy to grab it if she so desires. I play in front of her and invite her to play with me, to jam in any fashion. The closest I come to outright manipulation is playing Moana or Frozen or Twinkle Twinkle on the piano and offering to show her how. What little person can pass that up?
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But once the work of remembering the difference between pitches starts she soon finds it boring and gets the new idea to ride her bike, fair enough. Maybe I can teach her piano someday, for now I’m ok with the only other thing we’ve accomplished – knowing the difference between an ordinary fart and a silencer, (insert Maui voice) your welcome.

Piano for real

1987, in the studio with Terry Brown and Juno award winning engineer Mike Jones, Bruce Hornsby’s song That’s The Way It Is comes over the air waves during a break. A popular song then and a conversation between the two men transpires regarding how good it sounds for a sampled instrument. Can’t help overhearing some of their discussion, “You were saying the piano isn’t real?”. They answer yes it’s a sample absolutely not a real piano. I listen too and I’m a pianist – I decide they’re nuts.
 
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By then I was also prejudice, had worked off and on for at least a year with Terry and didn’t like his musical taste plus his claim to fame was producing Rush and I was allergic to Rush. Who knows, maybe Terry wasn’t into Rush either? The opinions of Terry and Mike lingered with me a long time because they were professionals and so confident even arrogant that the Bruce Hornsby piano wasn’t natural. I realized a few years later, after many recordings of pianos myself that probably they were right. Your ears change from getting up close and personal with microphones and recording.
 
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There was a time when people in music stores wanted to impress me with latest imitation piano sound and it never did, until the day it did. Someone cracked the code and then it was perfect. Subsequently I used lots of sampled pianos. More than one knowledgeable musician complimented my piano recording when in fact it wasn’t a real piano. The reasons I used the sampled sounds were convenience. No microphones, no labour to find the perfect spot, no inconsistent tuning or inconsistent piano quality plus being a midi recording transpositions could be made with a click. Surreal levels of control.
 
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In recent years I prefer to record the real upright over the sampled Bosendorfer. Maybe because my studio is at the Tranzac and there are 3 pianos there. It’s more work but it’s more fun. I realize now when all is said and done there’s a couple obvious problems with virtual reality. Part of me has to pretend I am not playing a sampled sound and another part of me has to pretend to not notice that I’m not suppose to notice. That’s two parts pretending instead of completing the task at hand. Quicker method to play notes made by hammers hitting strings and I can give 100% to that easy.

5 F student excerpts

Freud: Can you teach me how to play Bohemian Rhapsody?
 
Wiseman: Probably
 
Freud: How will you do it?
 
Wiseman: We’ll do small parts then incrementally you’ll know the whole.
 
Freud: Have you don’t this before?
 
Wiseman: Not this one but other songs.
 
Freud: That worked out?
 
Wiseman: Yes and No.
 
Freud: Yes and no?
 
Wiseman: Sometimes people got what they wanted, sometimes more than what they wanted, sometimes they didn’t or quit.
 
Freud: I’d like to know more about when they didn’t or quit.
 
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Finkleman: Can you teach me how to play Bohemian Rhapsody?
 
Wiseman: Probably
 
Finkleman: Well can you or can’t you?
 
Wiseman: It depends on what it’s like to work with you.
 
Finkleman: What do you mean by that? I got the money right here.
 
Wiseman: Because whether or not you will practise what I show you is an unknown.
 
Finkleman: Forget it I’ll call someone else.
 
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Fenster: An your tiach mi t;playimg Bheman apsody?
 
Wiseman: What?
 
Fenster: Grat, Sozey de kaiser.
 
Wiseman: Benicio?
 
Fenster: No poem jes won dater Bheman apsody.
 
Wiseman: I love your work man.
 
Fenster: Yamahm it’d kay me toonie.
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Fetty: Can you teach me or reach me? Can you preach me Bohema Rhapsody?
 
Wiseman: Probably.
 
Fetty: Better try ‘n do a right job I got a glock in my ‘rari Bob.
 
Wiseman: If you buy 5 lessons in advance I make a discount.
 
Betty: You think this deal something I need more than her ass and how I got the weed ?
 
Wiseman: Up to you but I do have one opening.
 
Fetty: So I sit my ass on this seat. I get my stove you bring the heat. We hit the strip clubs find a magic pole then we be cooking’ piano it’s how we roll.
 
Wiseman: I think you do the club yourself, it’ll be like a break to help process some of what we’re doing and then we’ll move on.
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Flash: I need to learn Bohemian Rhapsody fast?
 
Wiseman: Fast?
 
Flash: Fast.
 
Wiseman: You have to learn it slow before you can go fast.
 
Flash: You don’t understand.
 
Wiseman: A lot of people try to play fast.
 
Flash: It’s my superpower.
 
Wiseman: Is that why the track suit and mask?
 
Flash: Not a track suit.
 
Wiseman: It’s my superpower too, yes I can show you easy peasy.
 
Flash: I got your email from Cat Woman.
 
Wiseman: Say hi.
 
Flash: We don’t talk.
 
Wiseman: Sorry.
 
Flash: But she loves that song.
 
Wiseman: I get it.