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Pianotes #486 -
September 2023
Pianotes left image. Pianotes image. Pianotes right image.

And away we go into fall already! I hope this finds you well and looking forward to a long holiday weekend! I'm starting to get back up to speed with my new hip and am so grateful that it all has been going so well. I've been playing the piano again, a little bit at a time, and it's great to be able to pedal with my right foot again! Onward and upward!

This issue of "Pianotes" will be a little shorter than usual, but I should be back in full-swing by the October issue! Enjoy!
J.S. Bach wrote his Goldberg Variations for J.G. Goldberg who was one of his pupils and the court musician for a nobleman who had insomnia. Bach wrote the Variations for Goldberg to play to lull his employer to sleep.

Sergei Rachmaninoff, the Russian pianist and composer, could reach 12 white keys. He could play a left-hand chord of C, Eb, G, C, and G. Try it!

Pianos built from about 1850 until the 1890s had seven octaves, ranging from the lowest A to the highest. In the 1890s, an additional three notes were built into the treble, giving the piano its standard 88 keys.
New Reviews: I reviewed an interesting (and often inspiring!) group of albums and singles this month, and there should be something for just about everyone to enjoy. You can find them all right here!
Scott Joplin ("The King of Ragtime") was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his contributions to American music.

Franz Josef Haydn's wife was not musically inclined. Or maybe she was. She used to line her cake tins with the music that he wrote and cut the paper into strips to curl her hair!

Piano hammers were originally covered with leather. Cloth, sponge, and tinder were all used as replacements. In 1826, a patent was granted for covering the hammers with felt.
New Interviews and Articles: I didn't have a chance (or the concentration) to do any new interviews this past month, but I'm working on one with guitarist Shambhu, and Louis Landon should be up after him. So, be watching for those in the next few weeks.

Steve Yip wrote a new article as a tribute to Sixto Rodriquez, who passed away in early August. He was the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching For Sugar Man that was released in 2012. That article is here.
Because of the color of his hair, Antonio Vivaldi was nicknamed “Il prete rosa,” or "The Red Priest."

Domineco Scarlatti is credited with inventing the technique of playing the piano cross-handed. He eventually got so fat that he was unable to play with his hands crossed.

Germans developed the universal piano fingering of numbering the fingers 1 (thumb), 2, 3, 4, 5 ("pinky"). The old English system was X (thumb), 1, 2, 3, 4.
September Birthdays: Here is a sampling of musical birthdays for September!

3: Craig Urquhart & Jace Vek
4: Eric Chapelle
5: John Paris & David Wahler
6: Carol Parsons (Mom's 93rd!!!) & Kimberly Haynes
7: Ron Korb
9: Jill Haley & Craig Einhorn
10: Matias Baconsky
11: Ed Bazel & David Tolk
12: Unita Akins
13: Seay, Jordan Buetow & David Mauk
14: Amy Lauren
17: Michael Dulin
18: Adrian Webster
19: Lisa Swerdlow
20: John Jarvie
21: Dick Metcalf
22: Amy Janelle & Chuck Wild (Liquid Mind)
24: Michael Debbage, Steven Cravis & Stephen Cairns
25: Tom Ameen
26: Justin Levitt, John Albert Thomas & Bill Leslie

Happy Birthday to all of you!!!
In 1821, a "moderately priced" cabinet piano by Clementi and Co. was priced at $475. American pianos were priced around $200 and were considered to be very inferior to imported pianos.

As a boy, Harry Truman arose at 5:00 AM to practice the piano. Ignace Paderewski, Premier of Poland as well as one of the greatest concert pianists ever, once gave Truman a piano lesson.

Peter Tchaikovsky, composer of The Nutcracker Suite, didn't start to study music seriously until he was 21.
September Music Holidays and Observances:

All Month: Classical Music Month & International Square Dancing Month

9/11-16: Line Dance Week

9/16: National Dance Day
9/17: International Country Music Day
9/25: National One-Hit Wonder Day
9/26: Record Store Day
9/29: Broadway Musicals Day

Don't let all of the wild parties distract you too much!!!
Chopin's Waltz Op. 64 #1 in Db is supposed to have been inspired by his girlfriend's (George Sand) dog chasing its tail.

French composer Jean-Baptiste Lully's career came to an abrupt end in 1687 when he died of a stubbed toe. Lully always beat out the timing to his music on the floor with a heavy staff. One day, in the middle of conducting a piece for the king, he bashed his toe so severely that he developed gangrene and died at the age of 54.

Liberace wore a gold artificial fingernail that had a candelabra engraved in it.
Wishing you a great (and safe!) Labor Day weekend and a terrific month ahead! I didn't take any photos this month, so these are some old favorites!

All the best!

John Philip Sousa's march "The Stars and Stripes Forever," is the traditional song played by circus bands as a distress signal to warn the performers that there is an emergency.

Some of the ladies of Beethoven's time claimed that he did not have any rhythm while dancing.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a busy boy. In his 65 years, he produced some 1200 musical works and 20 children. Of his children, 11 were boys and 9 were girls. Five of the boys were named Johann. Ten of the children died in infancy or soon afterwards.
Pianote September 2023, image 3
Mom and Chelsea beach walking 2005.

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Mom and Chelsea 2005.

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Gulls flying.

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Baby Joey 2012

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Baby Joey 2012

To the best of my knowledge, the "trivia" items are true, but I can't guarantee it.