From clavichord to piano

Pianist demonstrates a variety of keyboard music on different historical pianos

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


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 Compositions by Beethoven and Schubert that were originally made for the fortepiano were played on it to give an insight into how it would have closer sounded for the time period.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.

“#Sadtrap”: an emotional masterpiece

Local rapper releases tense, conceptual project


Ever since the rise in popularity of hip-hop music, its mass appeal and influence have reached mainstream and local music scenes alike, and the Racine/Kenosha area is no exception. From the Cactus Club and the Hatrix Bar in Kenosha to Greg’s Catering in Racine, the various venues give room for plenty of artists to perform, and a big example of a local musician is Shaggy No Scoob. Shaggy’s been busy performing his newest records since 2017, and his latest album, “#SadTrap”, is one of the most emotional and impactful releases South-Eastern Wisconsin has witnessed in recent years.

Carefully Detailed Layout

“#Sadtrap” album cover     COURTESY OF SPOTIFY


Drawing from various musical influences and personal experiences, Shaggy crafts a solid pallet that’s both dark and reflective, using melancholy and trap-styled beats to go with the more depressing themes of the project. The intro, sung by DoMo BankZ, is an excellent title track, beginning the introspective tone that the other songs continue. This track leads into the first single, “Losing Control”, featuring Ethan Anomaly and Miggy Bars. Gliding through with swelling synths and perfectly concocted drums, the tales they weave of mental tension and devastating events define themselves on the verses and chorus alike.

From this point onward, the record begins a transformation, bringing out different scenarios with which he explains his thoughts. The primary example here is “Red Light Interlude”, where our protagonist describes his thoughts of running the red light, but just as a means of personal reflection. Other main cuts in this style include “Love Games” and “A Million Years”, the latter featuring Spencer Charnas of Ice Nine Kills. Swirling backdrops and rattling high hats paint the backdrops for these withdrawn and icy songs, and the sung hooks contrast beautifully from the dark, sharp verses.

The Necessities of the Record

When discussing major moments on the record, the outro is a staple, titled “X” after XXXTentacion. Shaggy closes out the record by dedicating his creation to the murdered artist, explains what XXX did for this album’s sound and content, and using the last words to wish him and those closest to him peace and well wishes.

Overall, I was personally really impressed by what Shaggy No Scoob brought to the table here, combining elements of trap rap, emo hip-hop and even slight jazz-rap tendencies for an intoxicating and relatable listen. The personal narratives, the diverse but dense flows and the pretty but enveloping production present a unique adventure to be cherished, both as a studio album and a live experience.