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If anyone else had a conversation this weird today...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
...then, I don't know what to say. I'll FedEx them a cookie or something.

Allie walks into the Family Hardware store down the block and walks up to the desk.
Hardware Expert Person: How can I help you today.
Allie: Well, I need some glass
HEP: Ok, well, follow me into the back.
Allie follow HEP into the back of the store where the glass cutting apparently takes place and orders are kept.
HEP: 'Bout how much do you need?
Allie: I need it to be 9 inches long and as narrow as possible.
HEP: .....
Allie: .....
HEP: (finds a piece of glass, already cut, exatly 9 inches long and about 3 inches wide) SO what exactly are you using this for?
Allie: (biggest, cheesiest grin ever) I'm going to put it inside a grand piano!
HEP: What?
Allie: I also need a chisel.

No, seriously, though. 9 inches cover an octave (8 notes, like C to C or in this case, F to F) and a third (like F to A) inside of a grand piano. When you play those 10 notes with a piece of glass sitting on the strings (remember, on a piano notes are produced when little hammers hit the strings inside) it makes a different timbre (or sound color) and it sounds jangly and percussive. If you apply the end of a chisel (5/8") lightly to the string and slide it up and down the string, it will produce different pitches from the sounding pitch called natural harmonics, which are part of the overtone series (an overly simplified explanation of this would be when you smack one chime in a wind chime and it sounds full and echoey, you're not just hearing one note, you're hearing several. Those other notes are natural harmonics and they make the sound full and ringy. What we're doing with the chisel is isolating all of those pitches).

The piece we're playing is by a living composer named George Crumb and it's called "Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale) for three masked players" (yes, we also need to go out and buy half theatre masks, think along the lines of Phantom of the Opera here) and it's scored for Electric Flute, Electric Cello and Electric Piano. We'll be "electrified" using conventional mics. We're also using a paper clip on the piano strings and for a large part of the piece the player plays directly on the strings inside the piano. Cool, huh?

Anyway, I just wanted to share a) this piece and more hilariously, b) my absolutely bizarre conversation. After he got me my chisel, I told him exactly what I just typed and he said "Well, I sure have been educated, haven't I?!" It was a little bit adorable.
post #2 of 13
You learn something every day! I wish I could come to the concert.
post #3 of 13
That's almost as bad as my sis as we were shopping for my first van.

Me: I need a full size van.
Sis to salesman: They haul rock.
Salesman: ????? (Probably thinking why don't I get a truck.)
Me: We have several cases of mineral specimens we take to shows. (Urge to smack sister. )

Is this composer the same one who has about a dozen people on one grand piano? I saw this piece where the musicians used loose piano strings to stroke the strings on the piano.

Personally, I prefer the pipe organ.
post #4 of 13
I don't know diddly about creating music but that is interesting. I would like to hear you play.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! If I ever get the last recording I made of one Crumb's pieces, I'll post a link to it!

Jan- I don't know if Crumb has written any ensembles that large. Souds more like something John Cage or one of his students/followers would do. I like how your minerals and gems are just "rocks". Sort of like how symphonies, to some, are just "songs"
post #6 of 13
Ooo, I hope you can post a link of this piece!

Cheers, from
SwampWitch
post #7 of 13
Sounds very fascinating!!! And no, haven't had a conversation that wierd in like...well...5 minutes. We like goofy talk around here.
post #8 of 13
Wow, that is fascinating. I bet it sounds pretty neat; just your description of it has me intrigued. I'd love to hear it!
post #9 of 13
Allie- you remind me so much of my cousin, who is a Music Therapy Major- and is always doing awesome stuff like that. I'd LOVE to hear you play!
post #10 of 13
I have had a good one today - I work for a technical helpdesk for credit card processing machines...........one caller rang today -

Caller:-Please help me - the machine keeps beeping at me!
Me:-What does it say on the screen when it's beeping?
Caller:-It says 'Please press "ENTER"'
Me:-Okay - looks at the buttons........see the button that says "ENTER"'
Caller:-Yup
Me:-Y'wanna press that button?
Caller:-Okay....................(there is a pause) My GOD that is amazing!!!! it isn't beeping at me any more!! You're amazing!!!

Hmmm........people.............
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4BadCats View Post
I have had a good one today - I work for a technical helpdesk for credit card processing machines...........one caller rang today -

Caller:-Please help me - the machine keeps beeping at me!
Me:-What does it say on the screen when it's beeping?
Caller:-It says 'Please press "ENTER"'
Me:-Okay - looks at the buttons........see the button that says "ENTER"'
Caller:-Yup
Me:-Y'wanna press that button?
Caller:-Okay....................(there is a pause) My GOD that is amazing!!!! it isn't beeping at me any more!! You're amazing!!!

Hmmm........people.............
That coulda been me calling you, I am kinda challenged when it comes to machines.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LSULOVER View Post
That coulda been me calling you, I am kinda challenged when it comes to machines.
We never noticed.

Allie, someday I'd love to hear you play! It never ceases to amaze me how "just a paino" & "just a person" can make such a wonderful noise!
post #13 of 13
Never heard of doing that before. It must sound really neat.
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