Category Archives: Learning the Piano

If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight — In Popular Music

Popular music as a category was mostly defined by the volume of record sales. Sometimes it was called easy listening or middle of the road music. Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, and Les Brown were probably the most successful at capturing … Continue reading

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Fats on Friday — Squeeze Me plus a bonus appearance by Earl “Fatha” Hines.

Above is a video snippet  from a television show in the 1960’s, hosted by the Jazz critic, Ralph Gleason.  Earl “Fatha” Hines talks and demonstrates on the piano what he learned and how his piano style developed. To me, this was an … Continue reading

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Fats on Friday — Fats Waller and Art Tatum

Tonight, I’m featuring a comparison between two versions of the song, Georgia On My Mind.  The same song played by Fats Waller and then by Art Tatum. Art Tatum was blind.  He  played piano exclusively by ear, and what an … Continue reading

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Piano Rolls and Player Piano Redux in the New Year

I  wrote a number of posts about piano rolls in which my primary interest was using scanned piano rolls in computer MIDI devices for learning purposes.  I haven’t really kept current with acoustic piano manufacturing.  I also wasn’t aware that … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: the incredible power of Midi and the Fourth of July

Synthesia is not the only MIDI based software program for reproducing or recording piano notes on a computer. There are much older programs that have been composing music professionally for some time. Roland Sound Canvas is one of those programs. … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: back to Synthesia

Stephanie Trick is a young woman who plays ragtime and 1920’s Jazz Piano professionally. Here is a You Tube screen shot of her version of James P. Johnson’s Harlem Strut. Note that one of the commentators complained that she was … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: What George Gershwin did with a player piano

George Gershwin, the legendary composer of musicals, began studying music at the age of Ten. He began with three famous classical music teachers. His first teacher, Charles Hambitzer was also his mentor. He began as a song plugger in a … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: What Duke Ellington learned from the player piano

The legendary Jazz musician, Duke Ellington, learned to play James P. Johnson’s Carolina Shout on a player piano. The Carolina Shout was the test you had to pass, the standard you had to meet, to be considered a real Harlem … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: What is a piano roll?

As we saw in the last post, the player piano has a top roller that feeds the piano roll across the sensor bar to the pickup roll below. The piano roll was made of paper that was punched with holes. … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: But First, What is a player piano?

It occurred to me today that in my last post, I assumed that people would know what a player piano and a piano roll were. So, first things first, here is a player piano on the left.  The two rollers, … Continue reading

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