Day N/A – Johann Sebastian Bach

Today will be different: I haven’t been to a place I’ve never been before, and even if I try hard, I won’t make it. I am in Kirchdorf right now, at my parents’ place where I spent my teenage years and therefore explored every centimetre in a 10-km-radius. I am also completely immobile.

But at least, there are new things happening in my mind.

1.) Do something that you haven’t done in such a long time that it counts as something new:

When I was home alone for a few hours at my parents’ place in Upper Austria, I did something I was reasonnably good at when I was 17, and then quit doing and almost forgot that I ever knew how to do it.

I played a prelude by Bach on the piano.

Over and over, and it felt wonderful. Physically, my fingers are numb – a zillion times worse than 13 years ago. But I have a mental advantage these days that compensates a lot of etudes. I understand a little bit more about practise, about persistence, about logic…about playing music.

I am quite as pragmatic about music as I am about many other things in life. I like music for its function, for the purpose it serves. Purpose can be as simple (and ideal) as making me feel better. That’s what listening to Nick Cave, Tori Amos, Leonard Cohen, Rammstein, Lambchop (and many others) usually does.

Playing Bach has a similar effect. I had a conversation with my piano teacher when I was 16 or 17, and in one of my permanent crisis. She told me that when she’s feeling down and playing Chopin, it makes her cry, lose focus and mess up the music as well which makes her feel even more down. However, if she’s feeling down and playing Bach, she has to focus on the logic so much that crying would be just absurde. And after finishing a prelude, a fughetta or an invention, she feels less down, without having noticed where the depression went.

Maybe that weren’t exactly her words, but my thoughts. It’s definitely what I felt today.

I never got rid of the feeling that for under-mediocre pianists like me the pedal is a way of cheating. It’s related to the usage of adjectives in written texts. If you remove 95 % of the adjectives from a good text, it remains good. If you play a good piece of music on a piano with a broken pedal, it still remains good.

Maybe I am extraordinarily violant because I used to play Bach on the harpsichord, where you can’t cheat with volume-modulation, even if you want to; or think you have to.

2.) I’ve been to virtual place I’ve never been before today: 

I am on Google + now. If anybody wants or need an invite…I can send you one!

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About Sophie Lenz

I like: towns, books, web 2.0, web 3.0, linguistics, computer sciences, autumn, gin tonic, sarcasm, trains, Harry Potter, blogs, theories & concepts, square numbers, purple, green & turquoise, llamas, polar bears & owls, verbs & prepositions, agglutinative languages I don't like: spiders, heat, celery, handicrafts, TV, adjectives, salsa music, chickflicks, beach holidays, ironing, clubbing, motorcycles, slow people, the countryside, whiskey, talking on the phone
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