Elton John, then around 23, takes a TV crew through the structure of "Tiny Dancer," a song with lyrics written by John's longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin about his girlfriend (later wife) Maxine Feibelman who at the time was the Elton John Band's seamstress.
(via Laughing Squid) Read the rest
Prepare to be impressed: While it doesn't actually play music, this 2,798-piece miniature LEGO model of a concert grand piano does have 25 independently working keys, a removable keyboard, and a height-adjustable bench. It also has a working damper and pedal, a self-playing mode, a working piano lid, and more. LEGO master SleepyCow engineered it to contribute to LEGO Ideas in the hopes that it will be voted in to be mass produced as a retail kit.
Ever since I started learning music, I have always wanted to build a piano out of LEGO bricks. I have also been asked many times by my students about the inner-workings of a piano. I think this will be a great set to teach students about piano mechanics. I've seen many people do it in different ways, but I decided to make my own version, as well as try to make it as similar to a real piano as possible with correct proportions.
Vote for it here.
(The Awesomer, Mike Shouts) Read the rest
Hungarian pianist Peter Bence covers popular songs by performers like Sia, Queen (check out his "Don't Stop Me Now"), and The Beatles. His latest cover is "Beat It" by Michael Jackson and it might well be the most chipper version of it I've ever heard. Absolutely delightful!
(The Awesomer) Read the rest
If you love New Orleans-style piano or simply subscribe to joy, the music of Henry Butler would be welcome in your home. Gospel, old school rhythm and blues, Caribbean-tinged jazz and, of course, that signature syncopated New Orleans sound made renowned by musical luminaries like Jellyroll Morton and Professor Longhair--Butler could play it all.
And he did.
His playing challenges the ears, turning well-known standards up on their ends to show listeners what's inside of them. Sadly, we're all given our time to go. There'll be no more Henry Butler for us to enjoy, save what has already been recorded. Butler died in a hospice facility this week, in Brooklyn. He was 69 years old.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Butler commanded the syncopated power and splashy filigree of boogie-woogie and gospel and the rolling polyrhythms of Afro-Caribbean music. He could also summon the elegant delicacy of classical piano or hurtle toward the dissonances and atonal clusters of modern jazz. He could play in convincing vintage styles and sustain multileveled counterpoint, then demolish it all in a whirlwind of genre-smashing virtuosity.
As The New York Times' obituary of Butler points out, Dr. John once called Butler “the pride of New Orleans and a visionistical down-home cat and a hellified piano plunker to boot.”
Knowing that his playing will inspire generations of musicians in the decades to come feels like cold comfort in the wake of the loss of such a talent.
The older I get, the stranger it feels to watch as the musicians who inspire me fall to the ravages of time. Read the rest
I don't play piano but I just can't get enough of this series of music lessons from my pal Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco and Quindar. The clips are smart. Funny. Earnest. And weird. Just like Mikael.
Read the rest
Photographer and pianist Romain Thiery accompanied his own remarkable images of abandoned pianos for his Requiem for Pianos series. Read the rest
I enjoyed the piano stylings of Lord Vinheteiro in this "Evolution of Music" video**. He plays a little music from each year, starting with 1680 and ending with 2017. There's Beethoven, Iron Maiden, Aqua, and more.
Another fun video of his has him playing the soundtrack and sound effects from Super MarioWorld on the piano along with the video game itself.
**Though I found his staring at the camera a bit jarring! Read the rest
Nahre Sol's Practice Notes channel is a whirlwind tour of music history, with variations of well-known melodies in the styles of different composers, mashups of genres, and other delights. Read the rest
I'm convinced that there is nothing more heartwarming on the internet right now than this video of a blind cat hugging a phone. Read the rest
These videos of a guy in Istanbul playing the piano with his kitty cat are so sweet and genuine. I can't get enough of them.
His name is Sarper Duman. Play him off, keyboard cat. Read the rest
Professional pianist and Steinway Artist Daniel Beliavsky and his student Charlotte Bennett agreed to perform while hooked up to an eye-tracking device that superimposes the wearer's eye movements. Read the rest
Even if you've taken a lesson or two, this brisk run through the basics of musical chords probably will remind you of something you've long forgotten. Read the rest
“I turned an 1907 Upright Piano into a luxurious desk.” What an amazing share, via IMGUR. “Seeing how this piano serviced the great depression, WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and to this day, brings me such happiness, to know I have a little piece of history right in my own home.”
Read the rest
Joey Alexander picked up jazz at six, dedicated his childhood to jazz at 8, and won a major international competition at 9. Here he is playing City Lights from his latest album. Read the rest
"Famous Cellphone Ringtones Played On The Piano (Tony Ann Arrangement)."
Read the rest
What can thinking like musicians teach us about game-making?
One of my first posts to the Boing Boing blog, back in 2001, was about the incredible (and incredibly eccentric) boogie-woogie piano player James Booker (1939-1983). Dr. John once described Booker as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” I'm crazy excited to check out this new feature documentary film about Booker titled "Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker." Its official world premier is next month at SXSW but I hope to catch it this Friday night as part of San Francisco's Noise Pop festival!
And if you're not hip to Booker, I highly recommend starting with his live recording "Spiders on the Keys." Read the rest