Monday, March 21, 2011

When You Press Down A Piano Key

It was literal. It was me going out with a guy, and when we broke up, he found a younger, prettier version of me who wanted to be a pop star. As they always do, of course.

“My God, M—,” Blushie said, “they want me to put my car in space thirteen!”

“It’s a very busy studio, Blushie,” M— said. “We were lucky to get time here at all. I’m parked in a lot on the next block.”

“M—,” Blushie said, “I can’t put my Volksy in a space numbered thirteen! I mean, duh! How could I sing knowing my car is sitting above a big yellow thirteen? I mean, duh!”

“It’s a very busy studio, Blushie,” M— said.

“I’m going back to the hotel,” Blushie said. “Call me when you deal with this.”

“Do you know how the escapement mechanism
on a piano keyboard operates?” I asked.

“I work in the office,” Jenny said. “I never
go back to the studios.” She handed me one
small, white, two hundred milligram caffeine tablet.

“When you press down a piano key,” I explained,
a hammer strikes a string. But the key disconnects
from the hammer before it strikes so the sound rings.
But that means piano keys have no after-touch.
If you wiggle your finger on a piano
it doesn’t change the sound, doesn’t add vibrato.
Once you depress a key through its escapement zone
the sound is completely outside of your control.
Synthesizer keyboards can sense velocity
like a piano, but they have after-touch, too.
You can keep playing a note after you play it.”

“I didn’t know that,” Jenny said. “Modern keyboards
can do some things classical pianos can’t do.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Modernity.” I took the caffeine
and chased it down with a half liter of water.

Jenny watched me take the pill and drink the water.

She laughed, as if I’d just told her some kind of joke.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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