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9 February, 2008

The Bowed Piano

My initial thought on reading about a new approach to piano playing, in which ten musicians crowd around the opened instrument to manipulate the strings directly, was that it was probably a gimmick, and that its repertoire would be pointless or, er, experimental (not in a good way).

I was wrong. As samples demonstrate, the music is excellent; 'real' ensemble work somewhere between Philip Glass* and the (dark) ambient music I particularly like.

My presumption that it's new was mistaken, too; Stephen Scott has been developing the technique (including 'hardware' innovations) and composition for over thirty years. Very successfully, to my mind.

*: Sorry; I'm not especially familiar with 20th Century American composers: Glass is merely the most similar I can name offhand!

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