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Lecture Notes until March 23rd. The first post apparently didn't show anything. So sorry!

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Joshua Pilzer

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Friday, April 15, 2011 piano means soft in Italian. Real name is actually piano forte - soft loud. Piano almost has a harp embedded into it because of the long strings. any instrument preceding piano as we know it, called forte pianos from 18th cent. Big diff between harpsichord and the piano - doesnt pluck string, but hit by a hammer! Allows for hit, ring and rapid repetition. Piano: resonance, sonority, COMPLEXITY. There is a sympathetic vibration within the instrument which gives a sense of the sound growing and flowing. SOFT>>>LOUD. motivation behind modern piano was to give impression of growing sound and resonance. HUMIDITY WAS AN ISSUE for the piano.. modern piano is made to withstand fluctuations of temperature and humidity a little more. Friday, April 15, 2011: The Piano in 18th cent. Visual Culture and Literature -domesticity and female accomplishment - Haydn & Mozart CLASS - who has a piano, who can play a piano. JANE AUSTEN ERA. wider societal ramifications - changing class in society in mid 18th century. WOMEN - now no longer piano only associated with men. second half of the 18th century - really comes on as a FEMALE INSTRUMENT - training and educational skills - becomes a symbol of female accomplishment. Piano being involved in larger nation building exercises - the way arts and culture are bound up with politics - culture influencing nation building: using piano in the home, primarily having it as a thing of female accomplishment BUT ALSO using piano for educational development (women in private sphere, piano sits in home) MEN IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE - NATION STATE DEPENDS ON THIS. They want busy, productive citizens of society - POLITICS OF SOUND. Politics of sound around PASSIVITY - thats the civilizing force of the piano, contributing to nation building. Heart and Soul at piano + singing - ACCOMPANIMENT, communal singing - piano fills in the background, providing that chordal base, instrumental accompaniment. Piano also described as a ONE PERSON ORCHESTRA - can provide all the parts because it has the WHOLE RANGE of notes and octaves. So can be accompaniment or purely solo - piano. Because of its size, cost and weight - given pride of place in the home - put in the parlour where it was public in home, usually next to fire for family elements - and people around the piano for communal singing, gathering. Brains wired for music. Having the piano in the home was essential feature. How many homes today have a piano? either purchased, passed down etc. Served function: music making in the community. Film clips from Jane Austen - Elizabeth Bennet is singing in this scene Why do I feel this way? - being introduced to her sexuality, burgeoning emotions, sensitivity towards expressing love. Excitement of my first kiss - butterflies - flutter inside you about exchanging those gestures. clip from Sense and Sensibility - character Mariana (KATE WINSLET - sensibility), older sister (Emma Thompson) is sense. Father has died, left without a male provider - meaning their social circumstances fall drastically in this gentrified society. The neighbor comes and is drawn to Mariana who is playing the piano. Not by chance that we see him riding up by horse at that exact moment - not idle. Coded gesture for HUMPING, THE SEXUAL ACT - subtle jokes in Operas (Mozart etc.) To have a character ride up, potentially looking for sexual conquest. Hunting for a WIFE. Already signaled and coded in that clip. She (kate winslet) sings about weep no more, softly sleeping - dream world. She has a real porcelain complexion. Image of beauty and serenity. Little curl to admire the neck, little tendril to tantalize, very seductive 18th century gesture. He is in the man of commerce. Her voice penetrates, he is attracted. Fact she sings about dreaming, about potentiality of song to transport into this new feeling. MALE DOMINANCE and FEMALE ADORATION. He stands at the door, she is seated sweetly - HIGHLY GENDERED STUFF HERE. MALE GAZE - SHE IS THE OBJECT OF HIS GAZE. Men have been part of the economy who have PRODUCED THE PIANO - made the money for it to be there - but women are being given lessons, taught to play, understanding that music is not just sound - what you are hearing is VISUAL AS WELL. Desire we see built up int he time she is performing - we notice that because of the intensity of this GAZE - music is aural and visual! Men in this gentrified british society, living off inheritances, servants etc. - LEISURED CLASSES. Women fill their idleness - and because they are idle, fact that they do not need to work out in the fields etc in society, shows how privileged they are. WOMEN SEATED AT THE PIANO, DEMONSTRATED THEIR FEMALE ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE FINE ARTS (embroidery, needlework, fabric design, ornament making, painting, learned foreign languages, reading to show literacy, not taught elocution or rhetoric) - women didnt got to univeristy, entire education done at home - one of the major female accomplishments though was MUSIC - MUSIC LITERACY!!! Being literate in reading music was big - but women not taught music theory, composition - women werent taught to become the composers (mens role still) - only taught to read and play. MUSICPIANO TEACHERS WERE mainly MALE if they were considered reputable. DEBASING YOURSELF by giving music lessons AS A WOMAN - UNACCEPTABLE TO DO SO IN SOCIETY (unless of course if the husband died and female was provider). Ladylike accomplishments were SINGING AND PLAYING ALONE - that is what men admired. But You are showing this accomplishment to others when you are eligible for MARRIAGE (married women wouldnt do this). Showing themselves off, making their
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