Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Banshee, by Henry Cowell

The Banshee, by Henry Cowell:

This is a 1925 piece, using the piano in ways never foreseen by those who invented the instrument. Consequence of Sound describes how the piece is played:
everything is played inside the piano. No keys are pushed; the player moves hands and fingers both across the strings horizontally and along them vertically, generating eerie overtones as the strings resonate without a damper, and shifting timbres in disturbing ways. Along with plucking of strings, the overall effect is one that unsettles us not only because it recalls the supernatural, but because it’s so unreal and unorthodox, so outside our expectations of what a piano can do.
A banshee is said to wail as someone dies. It's creepy music suitable for Hallowe'en.


  1. Anonymous9:46 AM

    You have a highly interesting blog here. So glad to have found you. And I appreciate your comment on my blog today. ;)

    I grew up with an old upright piano that none of us learned how to play properly. But we spent many hours with the lid up playing with the strings. This is a great video!

  2. thx :)

    i just recently started looking around at real-women fashion blogs and found you that way. i've decided that at my age i can wear anything i like, and it's fun to see that attitude promoted.

    yes, i found that piece while looking for halloween music. i got a kick out of the creative use of an instrument most people seem intimidated by. and from 1925! i thought it was fun.

    thx for commenting :)