Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A follow up

A question arose from my last post about what plumbing has to do with piano. Nothing, really. I was merely trying to provide examples of which "new technology" I vote for or against. Modern plumbing I cannot live without, but I choose my faithful acoustic piano over the newest electronic ones. I realize the piano as it stands today, has gone through many evolution processes, and at every step, purists have protested, and some of the things that have been lost in these processes are true losses.

For example, I remember hearing Schubert and Mozart played on period keyboards and suddenly understood them so much better. But those very same instruments kept getting broken by Beethoven. For him and Brahms and Liszt and Rachmaninoff, the stronger frames and metals that could hold more tension were definitely necessary.

Back to electronic pianos. I don't hate them. In fact I owned one (in addition to my acoustic grand) when I taught piano. It was a great tool. What I do not accept is the notion that electronic pianos would take the place of acoustics.

In my previous profession, this notion is being challenged constantly. At every conference, manufacturers would roll out new models -- and I would try them all, and proponents would argue passionately, and compose or perform on them . The arguments and compositions that made sense were those that examined the new instruments on their own merits instead of trying to make them "the same, except much better."

So what was I talking about? Oh yeah, books. Hand made books made me wonder about the future of books. I am aware that changes are happening, and I am open to how these changes may work. Maybe I will have to modify the way I read; instead of curling up in bed with a book in my hand, I will be bringing an e-reader loaded with all of my favorite books in my purse everywhere I go. Maybe I will free up space in my house after I get rid of all the bookshelves. Maybe my eyesight will get even worse by reading e-books. Who knows? I just hope I always get to read books, in whatever form, that contain great ideas and touch my heart and make me think and change my life.

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