Monday, November 29, 2010

Bertelmann's Cat

NPR did a piece about Volker Bertelmann, a classically trained musician from Dusseldorf, Germany who has been creating some interesting sounds on what he calls his "prepared piano."  Simply put, he will begin to play a piece, and then at some point drop a "thing" or things onto his piano's strings and hammers. It might be ping pong balls, aluminum foil, paper clips, leather, whatever. Sometimes the elements he drops in work and sometimes they don't. When they do it makes for an interesting sound.

Bertelmann said sometimes when he's playing the piano with ping pong balls, one or two will get away from him and eject out in an impresive arc which of course surprises the hell out of the unsuspecting members of the audience. The mental picture I had of that was pretty funny. But then another image popped into my mind - Bertelmann's elegant baby grand sitting in an equally elegant drawing room with a fish bowl filled with ping balls sitting on the elegant piano seat. That made me chuckle until I got to wondering if Bertelmann had a cat.  And if he did, was it the cat that initially had the brilliant and let's face it, cat-like-idea, to drop the ping pong balls into the strings and hammers first? My bet is on the cat.

Bertelmann's Cat, 8" x 8" watercolor •

Tree Farm • 8" x 8" watercolor • Framed to 12" x 12" • $200

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