Anatomy of the Piano (for beginners)
Fascinating and fun voyage inside the piano
This article is from 2015.
Will Pickvance knows his way around the piano. Literally. Not only is he a seriously talented player, he also carries an impressive knowledge of the instrument’s history and physical make up. All of which he imparts during this sometimes silly, often engaging, but always interesting hour.
From Bach to Beethoven to Fats Waller, Pickvance charts the progression from Klavier to modern-day piano. Using (intentionally) bad cartoons and famous compositions to illustrate his point, he describes the evolutionary process that got us where we are today (largely, it would seem, thanks to grumpy composers).
There’s much here for young piano-players, and their supportive (but perhaps not knowledgeable) grown-ups, to learn – and Pickvance’s superb, and incredibly fast, playing is inspirational in itself. Especially when he opens the piano up (or takes off its ‘skin’ as he says) and lets us see the frantic inner workings as he pounds the keys.
At times it feels as though Pickvance’s physicality, and his vocal delivery, could use a shot of exuberance to lift the energy in the room, but there’s always enough to hold our attention.
Summerhall, 560 1581, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 10am, £10 (£8).