Peter Bocking on… Pianists: The Bocking Memorial Blog #1




To pianists, pianos are always: 

1. Dirty. Pianists are obsessively neat and clean. A well-known British pianist always wipes the keyboard before he plays. 

2. Out of tune. Even though I’ve only met one who carried a tuning key and could use it. This doesn’t stop them moaning about the intonation of the rest of us. “Trumpets are a bit flat.” So would you be, pal, after 15 pints. 

3. In the wrong place. If you notice, pianists like to be on the right side of the stage (from the stage). This could be because their right profile is the better one, or that the hand that looks best is on that side, the one with the bling. 

4. Never good enough. Pianists complain about the action, tone, volume, tuning, height of the stool, make, colour, shape, condition, age and the carving on the legs. 

Pianists are lofty creatures far superior to the rest of the band. This comes from having the only instrument you can rest music on (try resting it on your bugle). 

In addition, pianists turn up with a briefcase and spend their time at the bar chatting up the talent while the rest of us toil up the backstairs with the gear. Pianists always regard themselves as the natural leaders of the band. This could be due to the fact that they can play more notes at one time than the rest of us. “I’ve got ten digits, they are loaded, and I’m not afraid to use them.” Or because they’re the only ones who can play with one hand, and thus are able to conduct. It’s either that or a royal wave. 

And pianists want to play everything - every part and twiddle. They assume that their interpretation is the one arranged by the Almighty and orchestrated by St Peter. 

(By the way, none of the above is to be construed as applying to anyone living or dead or in-between. Nor can it be attributed to pianist envy.) 

#1 in a series of Peter Bocking memorial blogs, selected from his prolific email correspondence to the author. Peter Bocking (1942-2009), a genius guitarist, wit and free thinker, "conquered America without leaving his armchair". See also: -  http://www.dyversemusic.com/2010/01/peter-bocking.html

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