If I wanted an example of what I personally find so great about the internet, the case of Conlon Nancarrow would be a good one to quote. When I was younger, he'd be no more than a footnote in a book about music: an eccentric US composer who gets mentioned after Ives, Cowell and Partch. The jolly cacophony of his Studies for Player Piano would have had to remain in my imagination, unless I was lucky enough to come across a recording in the local record library - fat chance. That was then. Now, someone has had the good sense to upload videos of them to Youtube.
Nancarrow, a communist who fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War, spent most of his life living in Mexico. He's most famous for composing these Studies. The player piano/pianola has two advantages over the more normal kind. It's not limited to playing the notes you can reach with two five-digit human hands and it can play incredibly complex rhythms - for example you can make it play any number of musical lines at once, all moving at different speeds. Here's to jolly cacophony...
4 years ago