Hi --

On Fri, 26 May 2006, James Britt wrote:

> I happened to skim though  the David A. Black article, and this caught my 
> eye:
>
> "Violinist Itzhak Perlman has described the difference between the violin and 
> the piano in these terms - not that one is easy and the other difficult, over 
> the long haul, but specifically that the piano, unlike the violin, gets out 
> of your way. Says Perlman:
>
> Violinists have a harder time to make pure music than pianists, because 
> pianists ... are immediately forced to turn the phrase. They don't have to 
> deal with vibrato, they don't have to deal with shifting, they don't have to 
> deal with sliding, they don't have to deal with bow-speed .... [On the 
> piano,] basically you put down the key and you get a sound.... You have to 
> deal with music immediately."
>
> Of course, I'm no Perlman, but I still found his opinion peculiar.
>
> I've played some piano, and played some violin, and much prefer the violin 
> because, to me, it gets out the way far more than does a piano.
>
> Plus violins are lighter;  carrying a piano around gets tiresome.
>
> Hence, violins are more agile.

I play the cello, which is almost the worst (other than double bass)
from the lugging around point of view: too big to be convenient, too
small to entitle you to expect one to be already installed, like a
piano or organ, where you have to play.

> "In this light, the piano emerges as the Ruby or Rails of the musical 
> instrument kingdom."
>
> I tend to think of Ruby as the Stratocaster of programming languages.

Whoops, that should be "...as the Ruby on [not or] Rails of the..."
(Obie, if you're reading this, please fix :-)

Certainly for someone who has learned to play the violin, the violin
can be as transparent as the piano.  I think Perlman is talking about
the sort of baseline conditions.  It's the same with bagpipes, at
least from what I understand: there's no bagpipe equivalent of just
sitting down and pressing a piano key.

Or one might think of it as: no violin/bagpipe equivalent of a cat
walking across a piano keyboard.


David

-- 
David A. Black (dblack / wobblini.net)
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