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Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen - Albert Einstein

Author Topic: Piano  (Read 1998 times)

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Offline Rivers

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Piano
« on: April 02, 2008, 07:39:31 PM »
We've set up weeniepedia in such a way that it is able to contain piano and other instrument content. The piano section http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Piano is looking pretty thin at present (hint hint)...

Post here for some tips on getting it going. Calvin? Prof?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2008, 07:43:34 PM by Rivers »

Offline harry

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Re: Piano
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2020, 04:21:03 PM »
Better late then never I guess.

Maybe a seperate section for,

Blues Piano By Key
Blues Piano By Progression

Offline Johnm

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Re: Piano
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2020, 05:17:47 PM »
Hi Harry,
There are currently Weeniepedia pages under Piano for
   * Piano Accompanists
   * Piano Players/Blues Singers
with the difference between the two categories being that in the second category, the pianists are the featured performers and singers, so you end up with Leroy Carr, Walter Davis, Big Maceo, Little Brother Montgomery, et al, and in the first category you get accompanists only, so people like Joshua Altheimer, Black Bob.

I question the value of having a separate category for Blues Piano by Progression, just because piano blues, except in rare instances, use the same chord progressions as any other instrument would when playing the blues. I think the key of the piano blues would be more appropriately noted  on the various songs themselves, just as playing position/tuning is noted for guitarists, than as a separate category in Weeniepedia. And I don't think key makes as much difference on piano since both hands are doing the same thing, pressing down keys, unlike guitar, where the two hands are doing completely different things. But you play a lot of piano, and I suspect you've found that some keys are gravitated to or avoided by the blues pianists who have recorded.

I think a category that could be added that would be great would be Piano Instrumentals. There are some spectacular ones like Blind Leroy Garnett's "Louisiana Glide" and some really nice ones by Henry Brown, and I think the instrumentals deserve a Weeniepedia category of their own.

All best,
Johnm

 
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 10:15:03 PM by Johnm »

Offline harry

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Re: Piano
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2020, 11:51:55 AM »
I think a category for "Blues Piano By Key" would be justified. The mandolin has an seperate page for mandolin keys too.
If I would take on the chore of figuring out all the keys for every blues piano song currently listed on Weeniepedia it's probably gonna be a lot of C, F, G, Bb and Eb but I might be surprised. Some recordings are sped up or slowed down or otherwise and that might alter the key.

I'm willing to this but somebody (or more multiple persons, preferable piano players) has to double check my research to make it as accurate as possibly.
I know Thomas Lucas plays blues piano and is knowledgeable on the subject.
So I'll do it even if it's just to note the key for the various songs themselves.



Offline Johnm

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Re: Piano
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2020, 12:45:04 PM »
Harry, how about if posters of transcriptions of songs with piano accompaniments noted the key in which the songs were sounding going forward, and I peck away at identifying the keys of the songs already posted, over time. I think for this purpose we should assume that the recording was made with the piano at concert pitch, since we have no way of determining how the pitch was altered, or how much it was altered, or even if it was altered. That's a rabbit hole we don't need to get stuck in. I will edit my post in the new Piano Instrumentals thread to indicate the key at which "Fanny Lee Blues" and "Louisiana Glide" sounded.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: August 26, 2020, 12:47:51 PM by Johnm »

Offline harry

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Re: Piano
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2020, 01:06:21 PM »
Yes, that's fine by me.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Piano
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2020, 09:40:28 AM »
Hi all,
I've created a Piano Instrumentals page in Weeniepedia, joining the two other piano pages that were already up there. I will continue to add to it as folks post other piano instrumentals. The page lists the tunes, with keys indicated when you click on them and the players, with links to threads that mention them.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Piano
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2020, 04:54:38 PM »
Hi all,
I have the Piano Instrumentals page up in Weeniepedia, and I've entered all of the instrumentals that have been posted so far, with the keys of the tunes indicated and pages on the different players. If a given player already had a page up in one of the earlier piano Weeniepedia pages, his page will stay in whatever page his first piece was posted in, Piano Players/Blues Singers for self-accompanied singers, or Piano Accompanists, for pianists accompanying other singers.

On a completely different topic, I wonder if any of you ever go to the Song Family pages. I think they're really interesting and there are so many different versions transcribed of many of the songs, all with links to the threads in which the songs were originally posted and transcribed.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harry

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Re: Piano
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2020, 12:15:54 PM »
Looks good. I think Whistling Alex Moore's Blues was played in G.

Offline Thomas8

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Re: Piano
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2020, 06:21:14 AM »
Thanks John, I've found the most common pre-war piano key positions to be C,Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb

So any instrumentals in the more common keys found today such as A,B,D and E are probably sped up or slowed down or recorded on a piano tuned down

Heifer Dust - Bb
Whistlin' Alex Moore's Blues - G
Windy City - Bb

Offline Johnm

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Re: Piano
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2020, 06:35:17 AM »
Hi Thomas and Harry,
I have a problem with saying definitively that a piece was played on piano in a different key than it sounded in, especially if the piece is squarely in tune in the "unlikely" key. Where a tune's pitch splits the difference between a likely and an unlikely key, I'm fine with being persuaded that it was played in the more likely key. For the tunes that you guys have targeted, how about if I add a note saying, for example, "piano sounding in Gb, piano probably tuned a half-step flat and played in G"?
I think it's worth noting that sometimes self-taught pianists gravitate toward unlikely keys. The composer Irving Berlin could only play the piano in Db and had a complicated mechanism added to his piano so that he could finger it in Db and have it sound in other keys. And for whatever reason, the great majority of the compositions of Billy Strayhorn were in Db. I definitely think it is possible that some of these pianists played in these unlikely keys. Playing in unlikely keys can be a point of pride, too, viz. the Mississippi Sheiks.

I will make the changes to the tunes you cited.

All best,
Johnm

Offline harry

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Re: Piano
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2020, 09:16:30 AM »
You can never be 100 % sure on this but I think it's more likely that something was done with the recording than a piano that was tuned lower or higher.
Adding a note when there's doubt on a key for a piece is fine by me.

I have a copy of "Barrelhouse and Boogie Piano" (Eric Kriss, first published 1973). He transcribed "Whistlin' Alex Moore's Blues" in G. Very likely the accurate key.
He transcribed Indiana Avenue Stomp In E. I'm pretty sure Montana Taylor played the song in Eb. I think I've never encountered a (blues based) piano piece from the 20's or 30's that was played in E.

But yes, pianists back in the day had their own weird little things. The ones that probably didn't have formal music training or/and couldn't read music. Almost all blues pianists.
Jimmy Yancey ended almost every piece he played in Eb regardless of what key the song was in. There's a possibility a (self taught) pianist played a tune in the ankward key of B for example but even then it's still very unlikely. You can guess with 95 % certainty it was played in Bb or C.

Offline Thomas8

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Re: Piano
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2020, 12:33:07 PM »
I think you can be though because playing piano in certain keys are like the guitar positions and it's impossible to replicate the same sounding thing in each key.

Db isn't that unlikely a key for the time, The most unlikely keys are what we'd deem standard keys today E,B,D and A every other key was played to some extent.

Take a look at Leroy Carr's output there's not a single one in E,A,D or B and Ab,Db and Gb are used regularly.

I haven't been able to find any blues piano accompaniment played in the position of E (even Sykes!) pre-war. I know of a few sides Myrtle Jenkins played behind Bumble Bee Slim that are in B and Roosevelt Sykes was probably the only pre-war pianist that played in D and used it often. A position is more common (Lee Green, Roosevelt Sykes, Black Boy Shine, Charley Taylor Walter Roland etc.) but still an anomaly and those positions have a completely different feel and sound.




 

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