11. Bend that piano
Aside from exploring my family dynamics and memories, the one other thing I had to confront was the piano. I called myself a recovering classical pianist and avoided the piano, relying heavily on digital instruments on DAWs to make music. There was a prompt in the online music-making community I participate in that was to “Get less strict about something you’re strict about.” Since I was strict about not using the piano for composition, I made it my rule to center the piano in my next composition.
My piano is a hybrid piano. It is a regular acoustic piano with hammers and strings but turns into a digital piano by the press of a button. I got my piano when I was living in a small downtown SF apartment and at ten in the morning I would play with the lid open, with my windows open, for all my neighbors to hear, and I would play at one in the morning with headphones over my ears, in digital mode, not disturbing anyone, after coming home from restaurant work. I could also record sound files and midi files with my piano but I hadn’t explored this feature. This is where I started the piece.
I loosely wrote out a few melodies and patterns and improvised centering the pitch D, recorded the whole thing as a midi file and added slight enhancements on GarageBand to make the piano superhuman. This way of making music gave me a different relationship with the piano. I was reunited with the instrument’s temperament, the technique-in-sound that I missed in DAWs, and I continued to make pieces using this method of composition.