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August 13, 2007

'When a piece gets difficult, make faces' — Advice from Artur Schnabel to the younger Vladimir Horowitz

Above, a 1937 home movie of Schnabel featuring his playing, the only video featuring the great pianist to be found on YouTube.

August 13, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Those lucky pianists and string players and percussionists.
For the well-tempered flautist there is no such option. There ARE other things you can do, and I've seen every one and done a couple my own self, on occasion. Let's see -- arm-flapping; head-shaking (screws with the intonation, though); foot-stamping (my personal fave); lunging -- kind of like if you were fencing; hip-gyrating (kind of bizarre, and for students, could give some faculty members the wrong idea); torso-twisting (oh let's not be coy, it's really just shaking your tits - oh, can I say tits here? Well, teats, then. And that can REALLY give some faculty types the wrong idea, or, depending on the circumstances, the RIGHT idea); snorting during tacet moments, or while playing, even; if you have lots of long hair, tossing it around your head (also kind of hard on the intonation) could get a point across (combining the hip action and teat shaking with the hair tossing could, I suppose, even get you arrested, which might not be the best thing for your musical career); and, you can close your eyes (best to be rather familiar with the tune, though) and squeeze them real tight together like you're having a horrible headache.

It won't matter. Nobody'll be listening to you, anyway.

Posted by: Flautist | Aug 14, 2007 12:06:55 AM

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