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la petite girafe Miscellaneous

A List Of Yellow Items

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La petite girafe liste …
Yellow Items

  1. The Yellow Elephant from Prague. A clay figure dating back to at least 2014 when it was purchased in one of those many tiny shops overcrowded by international tourists you find at every corner in the Czech capital. In contrast to other cities, Prague offers loads of hand-crafted things at such places at vastly reasonable prices. I’m still in doubt whether or not this is really meant to be an elephant, but its most prominent features—the very big ears and a trunk—purport that we can consider it one.
  2. Adhesive Tape. There is not very much to say about that item. Everyone has one somewheres at home, however I try to avoid using it most of the time as taping something together proves to be the next best thing more often than not.
  3. A self-stick notepad. There are many ways they might turn out to be handy. Whenever I get down to extracting the parts from a score I really love them and eventually my desk would become a yellow or white and red carpet—all covered with sticky notes. Cut into thin slices they are also very useful for playing compositions on the piano that require some extended playing techniques which usually means to do something on a specific string of the instrument. Piano strings are not arranged in a standardized way. Thus it might turn out that the Gb1-string(s) are not at the very same place on a concert hall’s piano as on the piano you have at home; hence it is definitely a good idea to attach some (removable) indentations to be sure you hit the right tones and strings on an unfamiliar instrument. Slices of sticky notes attached to the dampers can do this job wonderfully for you.
  4. A yellow blackboard chalk. I love colours—in nearly any context. Explaining something on the blackboard, you can easily group some information that belongs together. I purchased my set of chalks in 2019 I think. Due to the pandemic it has not been used very often since then.
  5. Hermann Erpf’s Lehrbuch der Instrumentation. Honestly, did I really think I could retrieve some inspiriation concerning the way of how to orchestrate my own compositions from this very book? Perhaps some teachers will bring forward the argument that this book needs to be considered a standard reference. I read it. At least.
  6. Panther’s immunization card. Unfortunately no longer needed as our pet cat passed away in January )-;
  7. A yellow fluorescent marker. I’ve hardly ever used it, but it’s yellow, though.
  8. Some glue. Even the paste itself is yellow. After attaching it to paper, it would stick together really well. A bit frightening, isn’t it?
  9. The little giraffe. Well, that’s pretty obvious.
Categories
la petite girafe Miscellaneous

The brush

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La petite girafe et l’object:
The brush

Brushes and mallets are widely known as the objects which percussionists use in order to play on their instruments. Let’s consider a piano a percussion instrument. What can we do with a brush as pianists?

Obviously we might make use of it to scratch over the strings. Naturally playing on the instrument in such a way makes commonly more sense if we keep the right pedal down, but we should also take into consideration only scratching or striking the strings with the brush and leave the pedal in piece. I’ve tried out both ways while composing a new work for piano solo recently and, frankly, I was pretty disappointed. One might assume (I did!) that using a brush on the strings returns a somewhat spectacular and unusual sound, but it just didn’t. However, it’s quite nice to have the following effects: Gently tap over the treble strings and combine it with another playing technique inside the piano or some notes played on the keys. The resuly is quite silent and I would rather not use it in an orchestral work or in a piece for a large ensemble (needs to be amplified, considering the fact that such pieces are usually being staged in larger concert halls).

Another nice way to use it—and indeed this one is quite similar to the one described above—is to scratch over the section of the strings between the tuning screws and the bridge. Again this will produce only very fragile sounds. We might also consider to strike or scratch over the crossbeams with a brush. Again, the result is quite weak. Applying other mallets for that provides by far more options of creating and handling interesting thuds and noises.

Other possible playing techniques involving a brush which I haven’t tried out because they didn’t seem promising at all to me could be:

  • Scratching over the keys with the brush (consider playing Lachenmann’s Guero instead)
  • Using the handle of the brush (mind that not every brush handle is made of the same material)
  • Tapping the soundboard with the brush (again—consider using other mallets instead)
  • Scratching over the dampers (only do this if you hate your instrument)
  • Strike or scratch over the wooden parts of the piano (again, the result would be rather not interesting)
  • Applying the brush to the little giraffe (for obvious reasons)

Categories
la petite girafe Miscellaneous

A Taped Banana

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La petite girafe et l’object:
A Taped Banana

Time and time again art goes bananas. How about this one: Take a fruit and tape it to the wall. Don‘t forget to sell it for some 100k Euros, before eating it. Great, innit? Let‘s invent money merchandising the big something. Admittedly, I was jaundicedly reading about the big banana recently and thus I have decided that such a precious piece of art cries for epigonism. So, here we are:

Out of exaggerated narcissism I deeply believe that my artwork with the little giraffe taped to the kitchen wall is somewhat much more refined, the basic idea being elaborated in a very outstanding (or let‘s call it outtaping) way and last but never least, a little giraffe instead of a dull yellow banana is much funnier.

So, may I start a fund-raiser for this superb installation? I‘m afraid not, because the other pieces of art I‘m creating—all the humdrum pieces of music and whatsoever else—keep me too busy to act The Great Gatsby. Writing about the adventurous little giraffe keeps me occupied as well and I‘m not getting paid a penny for that even.

Perhaps there is a difference between art that goes bananas and artists that do the same. We might figure out that the former is sometimes to be considered prospering whereas—from an economic point of view—the latter very often are not.

In any case I hope you commiserate with the little giraffe being taped to my wall just for to ridicule an overpriced banana that was eaten somewhere in Switzerland. The little giraffe has recoverd well, though, but it is still not in a saleable condition notwithstanding.

Categories
la petite girafe Miscellaneous

Business Cards

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La petite girafe et l’object:
Business Cards

What is higher than a giraffe, yet small enough to fit even into a composer’s wallet?

Let’s get down to … business cards. Everyone needs such items. Or perhaps it’s rather: everyone imagines them to be requisite. Some months ago—it might have been a year or more as well—I designed some new business cards and had them printed by an online print shop. Before that, I kept regularly running out of cards, for I used to cut them out of a thick cardboard by myself and print them at home respectively. That was fun to do on the one hand, but, as you might imagine, was not the most professional way of how to do it. Thus, I looked for a “large-scale” solution and ordered some 250 pieces or even more.

I would never again run out of business cards. Unless I moved from my current place.

We might consider that young people relocate every now and then. Given that events where business cards are being distributed occur just a few dozen times a year, we might furthermore assume that in one year I could get rid of approximately 30 cards. In practice, I happened to be more penurious this year, by far. Hence, there is a probability of moving away contra a probability of getting rid of all cards before the resettlement. As you might agree, we cannot say for sure what’s more likely to come true.

Moreover, I already feel a strong wish to redesign my business cards. That is, on the one hand, not astonishing as composers are likely to feel a desire to reshape and reframe and dig things over and over again. But this time it’s different. I have a clear image of how the new business card should look like: Quite similar to the old one, with a little giraffe on the back side.