P-ART JOURNAL 29 THE ART OF THE TOY PIANO
"THE ART OF THE TOY PIANO" is the title of one of Margaret Leng Tan's recent recordings.
Margaret Leng Tan says:
"Take this with a grain of salt, but just about anything that sounds good on the big piano sounds better on the toy piano - Glass, Beethoven, Nancarrow, Satie,... but I don't think the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto would work.
A toy piano is merely a repackaged glockenspiel. Its mechanism is ludicrously simple - piano keys activate plastic hammers striking metal rods. It's primitive - a piano for the Neanderthal Age - but what magic it produces!
Marcel Duchamp once said that poor tools require better skills: Yes, it takes the utmost control to play a toy piano well. It's like doing fine point embroidery. When I go back to playing the adult piano I can do ANYthing. I've learnt to work within the limits of a toy and confining myself to its boundaries has widened my capabilities. I've expanded by contracting. Life is full of marvellous contradictions. "
Over the years I collected several "poor" sound objects by myself: toy instruments, found objects, small ethnic instruments (from all over the world) and exotical bizzarities that I loved for their world of sonorities.
Longtime, I experimented with the spatial and percussive sound of some classical music catalogues. I selected these poor "instruments" for the musical quality of the printed paper, to achieve the most appropriate sound tools in my open score Neue Fingerfertigkeit (1993-94). See Chapter #11: "Beyond the Outside of Musical Objects" in: The Insane Hollow of P-ART Composing 2.
After such experiences I'm also more able to respect my grand piano as a tonal being.
Visit the exclusive MARGARET LENG TAN page(< click) in the P-ART WEB OF ARTISTS. Other weblinks are incorporated.
Eriksson tells the story of the toy piano in: The joy is in the playing. (German translation). Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 1999, n° 2, p. 20-23.
Look at YouTube MOURNING work in process. Click and go > youtube LOOK AT YOU TUBE Margaret Leng Tan's performance "In the Name of the Holocaust" click> youtube
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