, an instrument created
by the technical innovation
of the thrown hammer
. This separates the piano
from its two immediate predecessors the clavichord
, the favourite of Johann Sebastian Bach
, and the harpsichord
, favourite of G.F.Handel
This technical innovation, as much as I am loathe to admit it, has permitted the creation of centuries of joy. Technical innovation precedes artistic inspiration.
There are some who think the piano has been overcomposed for, and there have been various attempts at new instruments, such as Theremin, and synthesizers or various types. Even before Robert Moog designed and built his synthesizer, there were compositional trys, such as atonality, tone row. Charles Rosen, in a recent New York Times Review of Books essay also discusses the development of a curious prejudice against working out music at the piano. But Rosen has put his finger on the real reason the piano will never cease to be played, though maybe it will fall out of favour as an instrument to be composed for.
We--I--find a curious oneness with the instrument at certain times. At certain times we--the piano and I, or keyboard and I--catch on fire in the pursuit of an improvisation. Rosen speaks of the connection with the instrument, though he is only speaking of the wood, metal, and used to be ivory, now mostly plastic thing we call a piano. Maybe, I am seeing more than he does.
But it is the connection through the instrument to themusic that is the fire that melts the Chains of Doom, and releases us for flight!