October 4 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1812 ~ Fanny Perisiani, Italian coloratura soprano

• 1881 ~ The player piano was invented by Edward Leveaux of Sussex, England, who received a patent for it this day. There were many player piano inventions going on throughout the world during this time. Leveaux happened to be the lucky chap who received the patent England was handing out.

• 1929 ~ Leroy Van Dyke, Singer

• 1939 ~ A barber from Canonsburg (near Pittsburgh), PA, who had quite a singing voice, recorded That Old Gang of Mine with the Ted Weems Orchestra. That singer was the feature of the Weems band for many years before going solo as a radio, TV and stage star. You know him as ‘The Incomparable Mr. C.’, Perry Como. His string of hits for RCA Victor spans four decades. He was an NBC mainstay for years and years.

• 1943 ~ Is You is or is You Ain’t My Baby? was the musical question by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five on this day on Decca Records.

• 1947 ~ James Fielder, Bass with these groups: Buffalo Springfield, Mothers of Invention and Blood, Sweat & Tears

• 1948 ~ Gordon MacRae hosted the premiere of a radio classic. The Railroad Hour debuted on ABC radio. The theme song was I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and the show was sponsored by….America’s Railroads.

• 1949 ~ John Aler, American tenor

• 1959 – Chris Lowe, Keyboards with Pet Shop Boys

• 1966 ~ It was, indeed, a Sunny Day for singer Bobby Hebb, who received a shiny gold record award for his song.

• 1967 ~ Woody (Woodrow Wilson) Guthrie passed away

• 1970 ~ Janis Joplin died from a drug overdose. She was 27. Joplin, known for her passionate, bluesy, vocal style, was the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company. She became a superstar with hits like, Down on Me, Pearl (her nickname) and Every Little Piece of My Heart; but Me and Bobby McGee was her only certified top 40 hit. The Bette Midler movie, The Rose, was based on Joplin’s life.

• 1999 ~ Art Farmer passed away

• 2000 ~ International diplomat and Newport Music Festival director David Meredith Evans died at the age of 64.

• 2001 ~ Irmgard Farden Aluli, considered the most prolific female Hawaiian composer since Queen Liliuokalani, died after suffering complications from colon cancer surgery. She was 89. Aluli, affectionately nicknamed “Aunty”, became the first living member to be inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 1998. In August, the Prince Kuhio Hawaiian Civic Club honored her as a cultural living treasure. She wrote more than 200 songs, including Boy from Laupahoehoe and E maliu Mai. Aluli began performing publicly after graduating from St. Andrew’s Priory in 1929. She was a member of the Annie Kerr Trio in the 1930s. In the late 1960s, Aluli, her daughters and a niece formed the group Puamana.

• 2001 ~ Jazz guitarist John Collins, who played with Nat King Cole for over a decade, died at the age of 83. Collins was born in Montgomery, Ala., and grew up in Chicago. His mother, Georgia Gorham, was a pianist and bandleader. Collins briefly played clarinet before switching to guitar and moving to New York, where he played with prominent jazzmen such as pianist Art Tatum. Collins accompanied singer Billie Holiday and saxophonist Lester Young in the 1940s and played in bands led by Benny Carter and Fletcher Henderson. He served in the Army during World War II, and played in Army bands. Esquire magazine gave Collins its New Star award as best guitarist of 1947, his lone jazz poll honor. Collins’ 14-year association with Cole began in 1951, when he replaced guitarist Oscar Moore. Collins played with Cole until the latter’s death in 1965. Collins went on to tour Europe with his own group. He played occasionally around Southern California in the 1990s but worked mainly as a private teacher.

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 9

 

This is a more advanced piece but I really like it.  Some students may have heard this since it’s an alarm tone on my phone. My dog, Mimi, recognizes this music as her signal to go out for a walk!

 

confrey-you

I just love Zez Confrey’s music.  It’s not overplayed like some of Scott Joplin’s works but it’s just as much fun.

This is a piece I have often played in recitals and just for fun.

If any of my students are interested in tackling this piece, just let me know and we’ll start learning!

In 1921 Confrey wrote his novelty piano solo “Kitten on the Keys”, inspired by hearing his grandmother’s cat walk on the keyboard of her piano. It became a hit, and he went on to compose many other pieces in the genre.

Considered to be one of the fastest and most challenging of all “novelty” piano solos, “Dizzy Fingers” was composed in 1923. and was Confrey’s other biggest seller.

He left behind more than a hundred piano works, songs and miniature operas, and numerous piano rolls, music publications and sound recordings.

Not surprisingly, this piece is not available on Piano Maestro!

One of the books in my studio is Zez Confrey at the Piano: Piano Solos.

confrey-book“This collection represents a cross-section of Confrey’s works and encompasses the broad range of his styles. Besides his famous 1920s novelty works (including Kitten on the Keys), there are many wonderful, lesser-known gems of remarkable quality included here from later in his career. Appearing for the first time in print are transcriptions of one of his disc recordings (Poor Buttermilk) and two of his player piano roll arrangements (My Pet and Humorestless). Many of Confrey’s later works have long been out of print and are included here for the first time in decades.”

October 4, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

today

 

• 1812 ~ Fanny Perisiani, Italian coloratura soprano

• 1881 ~ The player piano was invented by Edward Leveaux of Sussex, England, who received a patent for it this day. There were many player piano inventions going on throughout the world during this time. Leveaux happened to be the lucky chap who received the patent England was handing out.

• 1929 ~ Leroy Van Dyke, Singer

• 1939 ~ A barber from Canonsburg (near Pittsburgh), PA, who had quite a singing voice, recorded That Old Gang of Mine with the Ted Weems Orchestra. That singer was the feature of the Weems band for many years before going solo as a radio, TV and stage star. You know him as ‘The Incomparable Mr. C.’, Perry Como. His string of hits for RCA Victor spans four decades. He was an NBC mainstay for years and years.

• 1943 ~ Is You is or is You Ain’t My Baby? was the musical question by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five on this day on Decca Records.

• 1947 ~ James Fielder, Bass with these groups: Buffalo Springfield, Mothers of Invention and Blood, Sweat & Tears

• 1948 ~ Gordon MacRae hosted the premiere of a radio classic. The Railroad Hour debuted on ABC radio. The theme song was I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and the show was sponsored by….America’s Railroads.

• 1949 ~ John Aler, American tenor

• 1959 – Chris Lowe, Keyboards with Pet Shop Boys

• 1966 ~ It was, indeed, a Sunny Day for singer Bobby Hebb, who received a shiny gold record award for his song.

• 1967 ~ Woody (Woodrow Wilson) Guthrie passed away

• 1970 ~ Janis Joplin died from a drug overdose. She was 27. Joplin, known for her passionate, bluesy, vocal style, was the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company. She became a superstar with hits like, Down on Me, Pearl (her nickname) and Every Little Piece of My Heart; but Me and Bobby McGee was her only certified top 40 hit. The Bette Midler movie, The Rose, was based on Joplin’s life.

• 1999 ~ Art Farmer passed away

• 2000 ~ International diplomat and Newport Music Festival director David Meredith Evans died at the age of 64.

• 2001 ~ Irmgard Farden Aluli, considered the most prolific female Hawaiian composer since Queen Liliuokalani, died after suffering complications from colon cancer surgery. She was 89. Aluli, affectionately nicknamed “Aunty”, became the first living member to be inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 1998. In August, the Prince Kuhio Hawaiian Civic Club honored her as a cultural living treasure. She wrote more than 200 songs, including Boy from Laupahoehoe and E maliu Mai. Aluli began performing publicly after graduating from St. Andrew’s Priory in 1929. She was a member of the Annie Kerr Trio in the 1930s. In the late 1960s, Aluli, her daughters and a niece formed the group Puamana.

• 2001 ~ Jazz guitarist John Collins, who played with Nat King Cole for over a decade, died at the age of 83. Collins was born in Montgomery, Ala., and grew up in Chicago. His mother, Georgia Gorham, was a pianist and bandleader. Collins briefly played clarinet before switching to guitar and moving to New York, where he played with prominent jazzmen such as pianist Art Tatum. Collins accompanied singer Billie Holiday and saxophonist Lester Young in the 1940s and played in bands led by Benny Carter and Fletcher Henderson. He served in the Army during World War II, and played in Army bands. Esquire magazine gave Collins its New Star award as best guitarist of 1947, his lone jazz poll honor. Collins’ 14-year association with Cole began in 1951, when he replaced guitarist Oscar Moore. Collins played with Cole until the latter’s death in 1965. Collins went on to tour Europe with his own group. He played occasionally around Southern California in the 1990s but worked mainly as a private teacher.

October 4 ~ Today in Music

today

• 1812 ~ Fanny Perisiani, Italian coloratura soprano

• 1881 ~ The player piano was invented by Edward Leveaux of Sussex, England, who received a patent for it this day. There were many player piano inventions going on throughout the world during this time. Leveaux happened to be the lucky chap who received the patent England was handing out.

• 1929 ~ Leroy Van Dyke, Singer

• 1939 ~ A barber from Canonsburg (near Pittsburgh), PA, who had quite a singing voice, recorded That Old Gang of Mine with the Ted Weems Orchestra. That singer was the feature of the Weems band for many years before going solo as a radio, TV and stage star. You know him as ‘The Incomparable Mr. C.’, Perry Como. His string of hits for RCA Victor spans four decades. He was an NBC mainstay for years and years.

• 1943 ~ Is You is or is You Ain’t My Baby? was the musical question by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five on this day on Decca Records.

• 1947 ~ James Fielder, Bass with these groups: Buffalo Springfield, Mothers of Invention and Blood, Sweat & Tears

• 1948 ~ Gordon MacRae hosted the premiere of a radio classic. The Railroad Hour debuted on ABC radio. The theme song was I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and the show was sponsored by….America’s Railroads.

• 1949 ~ John Aler, American tenor

• 1959 – Chris Lowe, Keyboards with Pet Shop Boys

• 1966 ~ It was, indeed, a Sunny Day for singer Bobby Hebb, who received a shiny gold record award for his song.

• 1967 ~ Woody (Woodrow Wilson) Guthrie passed away

• 1970 ~ Janis Joplin died from a drug overdose. She was 27. Joplin, known for her passionate, bluesy, vocal style, was the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company. She became a superstar with hits like, Down on Me, Pearl (her nickname) and Every Little Piece of My Heart; but Me and Bobby McGee was her only certified top 40 hit. The Bette Midler movie, The Rose, was based on Joplin’s life.

• 1999 ~ Art Farmer passed away

• 2000 ~ International diplomat and Newport Music Festival director David Meredith Evans died at the age of 64.

• 2001 ~ Irmgard Farden Aluli, considered the most prolific female Hawaiian composer since Queen Liliuokalani, died after suffering complications from colon cancer surgery. She was 89. Aluli, affectionately nicknamed “Aunty”, became the first living member to be inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 1998. In August, the Prince Kuhio Hawaiian Civic Club honored her as a cultural living treasure. She wrote more than 200 songs, including Boy from Laupahoehoe and E maliu Mai. Aluli began performing publicly after graduating from St. Andrew’s Priory in 1929. She was a member of the Annie Kerr Trio in the 1930s. In the late 1960s, Aluli, her daughters and a niece formed the group Puamana.

• 2001 ~ Jazz guitarist John Collins, who played with Nat King Cole for over a decade, died at the age of 83. Collins was born in Montgomery, Ala., and grew up in Chicago. His mother, Georgia Gorham, was a pianist and bandleader. Collins briefly played clarinet before switching to guitar and moving to New York, where he played with prominent jazzmen such as pianist Art Tatum. Collins accompanied singer Billie Holiday and saxophonist Lester Young in the 1940s and played in bands led by Benny Carter and Fletcher Henderson. He served in the Army during World War II, and played in Army bands. Esquire magazine gave Collins its New Star award as best guitarist of 1947, his lone jazz poll honor. Collins’ 14-year association with Cole began in 1951, when he replaced guitarist Oscar Moore. Collins played with Cole until the latter’s death in 1965. Collins went on to tour Europe with his own group. He played occasionally around Southern California in the 1990s but worked mainly as a private teacher.

You Think Playing the Piano is Hard?

Try to find an American Fotoplayer!

fotoplayer

The American Fotoplayer is a type of photoplayer developed by the American Fotoplayer Company between the years of 1912 and 1925. The Fotoplayer is a type of player piano specifically developed to provide music and sound effects for silent movies.

The appeal of the Fotoplayer to theatre owners was the fact that it took no musical skill to operate. The Fotoplayer would play the piano and pipe organ mechanically using an electric motor, an air pump, and piano rolls while the user of the Fotoplayer would follow the onscreen action while pulling cords, pushing buttons, and pressing pedals to produce relatable sounds to what was occurring onscreen. These actions could create sounds such as a steamboat whistle, a bird chirp, wind, thunder, a telephone bell, as well as many others. On Fotoplayers specifically, most effects were created using leather cords with wooden handles on the ends which the effects were directly connected to. For example, the steamboat whistle sound effect was created using a household bellows with a whistle at the end. Pulling the cord compressed the bellows, delivering a gust of air into the whistle. Creating a drum roll on the other hand was a bit more complicated. A clockwork device was needed to time the strikes of the drum which required constant winding.

Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_American_Fotoplayer

 

Zez Confrey (1895-1971)

confrey-you

I just love Zez Confrey’s music.  It’s not overplayed like some of Scott Joplin’s works but it’s just as much fun.

This is a piece I have often played in recitals and just for fun.

If any of my students are interested in tackling this piece, just let me know and we’ll start learning!

More about Zez Confrey

One of the books in my studio is Zez Confrey at the Piano: Piano Solos.

confrey-book“This collection represents a cross-section of Confrey’s works and encompasses the broad range of his styles. Besides his famous 1920s novelty works (including Kitten on the Keys), there are many wonderful, lesser-known gems of remarkable quality included here from later in his career. Appearing for the first time in print are transcriptions of one of his disc recordings (Poor Buttermilk) and two of his player piano roll arrangements (My Pet and Humorestless). Many of Confrey’s later works have long been out of print and are included here for the first time in decades.”