Greetings and a Very Happy New Year to Everyone!
I hope your holidays were wonderful and that 2024 will be a year of peace, compassion and lots of great music! In honor of the first issue of 2024, most of the trivia items are about musical beginnings and firsts. Enjoy!
In case you missed it, the link to the Holiday Wishes List
will stay active on the homepage of MainlyPiano.com until about January 7th. You will still be able to access the list from the December issue of Pianotes after that.
Mozart was the first great piano virtuoso (master). He also wrote the first piano duet in 1765.
Yamaha in Japan started making upright pianos in 1900 and made its first grand in 1903.
The first magazine devoted to jazz was called Le Jazz Hot, and was published on February 2, 1935 in Paris.
There is an interesting assortment of new reviews of albums, EPs and singles as well as a couple of songbooks (David Nevue and Ryan Marvel!) this month, so put your feet up and enjoy! You can find them all here.
The first composition written specifically for the piano was Giustini's "12 Sonatas for soft and loud harpsichord" in 1732.
The first book about piano technique was written by C.P.E. Bach, son of J.S. Bach, in 1753.
The first performances of piano solos in concert were by J.C. Bach (another one of J.S.Bach’s sons) in London, and Henry Walsh in Dublin, Ireland in 1762.
New Interviews: I didn't have a chance to do any interviews in December, but I plan to do an update with Spanish pianist/composer Hugo Selles in the next couple of weeks. I have several more ideas up my sleeve, so watch this space!
Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck was raised on a cattle ranch that his father managed. Dave often worked out musical compositions while riding horseback to do various jobs around the ranch. The rhythm of his galloping horse would inspire him and he frequently found himself singing out loud.
The first Japanese pianos were built in 1885 by Nishikawa and Sons.
One of the earliest recordings of a piano performance was by Johannes Brahms playing one of his Hungarian Dances.
2023 By the Numbers: MainlyPiano.com continued to really grow over the past year. We added 200 new album, single and EP reviews; added 35 new artists, 13 new interviews. and I reviewed 20 songbooks. We also added four articles and I reviewed one book. I hope you have enjoyed finding some great new music and discovered some new artists that you really like. I sure did! We'll see what 2024 brings our way!
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was adopted as the US national anthem by Congress in 1931. Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics in 1814, taking the melody from an 18th century drinking song called "To Anacreon in Heaven" by British composer John Stafford Smith. (Anacreon was a Greek poet associated with love and wine).
In the 1920's, before the radio became the main source of entertainment in American households and long before television, there were more player pianos in the US than regular ones.
Louis Braille, an organist, originally invented Braille as a way for blind people to read music.
January Birthdays: Here are some music-related birthdays:
1/4: Bill Whitfield
1/5: Kori Linae Carothers
1/6: Greg Starr
1/7: Cathy Oakes, Carl Borden & Kerry Barnes
1/8: Stephen Peppos
1/9: Steve Rivera & Artyom Tchebotaryov
1/11: Mark Freshwater
1/14: Scott Cossu
1/15: Matthew Schoening
1/16: David Thomas Roberts
1/18: Beverly Ritz
1/20: Angelo Rapan & Sharon Fendrich
1/21: Fiona Joy Hawkins
1/23: Bernward Koch, Christine Brown & Rick Sparks
1/25: Michael Logozar & Dulce Joya
1/26: Rhonda Mackert
1/28: Louis Colaiannia & Jose Manuel Quintana Camara
1/29: Danny Wright
A very Happy Birthday to all of you!!!
In 1894, Emile Berliner started recording music onto discs. 78 rpm discs with 4 1/2 minutes of music on each side became the standard recording format for the next fifty years.
Arthur Rubinstein was the best-selling classical pianist in history. He made more than 200 recordings which sold more than 10 million copies.
Printed collections of music for home use became fairly common in the 1730's.
January Holidays and Observances: Here is a rather colorful list of musical things to celebrate in January. I know you don't want to miss any of them!
January is National Polka Music Month
1st: International Public Domain Day
3rd: Women Rock Day
4th: Pop Music Chart Day
9th: International Choreographers Day
13th: Public Radio Broadcasting Day
20th: National Disc Jockey Day
21st: Mariachi Day
28th: National Kazoo day
30th: Yodel for Your Neighbors Day (I think I'll skip this one!!!)
Columbia introduced the first long-playing 33 1/3 rpm albums in June 1948.
Jan Ladoslas Dussek is credited as being the first concert pianist to perform with his right side to the audience (sometime in the 1780's). He was apparently quite handsome and wanted his admirers to have the best view of his profile.
Sebastien Erard, one of the primary developers of the piano, was also very interested in the harp. He developed the double-action harp as early as 1780, and that is still the basis of all modern harp construction.
I'm afraid I didn't take any non-Christmas photos in December, so I'll leave you with a few more trivia bits. Have a great start to 2024 and we'll see what we can come up with next month!
Sony and Philips introduced the compact disc in 1983.
On some of the pianos of the early 1800’s (both uprights and grands), there were as many as seven pedals, including a buzzing bassoon stop, a muting moderator, a thumping and jingling military stop, as well as the damper and una corde (soft) pedals.
Sony Walkman cassette players were introduced in 1979. Sony chairman Akio Morita came up with the idea after being annoyed with his kids' stereo.
To the best of my knowledge, the "trivia" items are true, but I can't guarantee it.