From clavichord to piano


Pianist demonstrates a variety of keyboard music on different historical pianos

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Fumi Nishikori-Nakayama performs on various pianos     COURTESY OF UW-PARKSIDE

TYLER STEINSDORFER

stein078@rangers.uwp.edu

On Friday, Feb. 8 at 12:00 p.m., the UW-Parkside Music Department and the College of Arts and Humanities collaborated to put on the first Noon Concert Series of the semester entitled: “Clavichord to Piano: Keyboard Music through the Ages”. The event was led by Fumi Nishikori-Nakayama, an adjunct faculty member of both the Carthage Music Department and the UW-Parkside Music Department. The event was designed to both show different examples of keyboard music ranging from the 17th century to the 19th century and showing the differences in sound between the original instruments they were written for and a modern-day piano.

Instruments and pieces

Nakayama started the event with showing a piece written for clavichord by William Byrd entitled “All in a Garden Grine”. The clavichord is a striking instrument, making it the “grandfather of the modern piano,” as Nakayama described. The clavichord and the next instrument she showed, the Harpsichord, are both instruments used during the Middle Ages. One major difference between the two instruments, however, is that harpsichord is a plucking instrument instead of a striking instrument. Additionally, the clavichord is not designed for projecting its sound for an entire concert hall like the harpsichord.

The other two keyboards that were shown were the fortepiano and the piano. The fortepiano came into usage in the early 18th century and was used until the 19th century. Compositions by Beethoven and Schubert that were originally made for the fortepiano were played on it to give an insight into how it would have closer sounded for the time period. When discussing the sound of the fortepiano, one member in the audience, Patricia Fish, a piano performance major at UW-Parkside, described that “the fortepiano sounds like you’re listening to a piano in a sewer.” What Patricia was specifically referring to when she said this the tone of the reverb of the fortepiano compared to the piano.

This particular entry in the Noon Concert Series allowed for people to be introduced to pieces of music that they may not normally listen to as a way to possibly expand their taste in music. In addition, playing these pieces on their original instruments let the audience get an idea of what the compositions would have sounded like when there originally written.

Come to the Noon Concert series to support artists, to preserve these musical pieces in the modern moment, and to embrace a musical culture that doesn’t usually get the spotlight.

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