Curious, but cautiously so

I found this book and an wondering what’s in it, but am not willing to buy it without looking through it first. Why?

The author is a horn player.

As I said below, I can mess around fairly pleasantly and nicely with one hand already. It’s the left hand — the entire rest of the substructure of the music — that is the hard part. That’s what chord you’re in, the mood of the piece, the rhythm of the piece … it’s everything for a pianist. The right hand is just the skin. We don’t ride the top of the music when we play — we’re on top and underneath. Unless we’re playing with others, we are responsible for it all, and pianists often play alone. Even when we play with others, a piano is not a hunt-and-peck one-note-at-a-time instrument. We don’t play things and effectively cheat by letting the ear of the listener supply any implied chord change. We have to do the chord change ourselves. Out in the open. While doing the right hand melody!

A whole `nother ball of wax of a different color. I don’t want to succumb to Special Snowflake Syndrome, or the making of an excuse as to why my situation is so special that I can’t learn from others, but I do think that the addition of all of the music theory, chord changes, and rhythm in the left hand creates a phase change on the piano that makes the situation much, much harder and very different from what you’d get on a single-note instrument, where the physical production of the note is the hard part. On a piano making the note is easy, which is why the grammatical structure of the gobs of simultaneous notes you can make suddenly becomes so much more complex.

I’d like to find out more about improv from another pianist. Montero has repeatedly stated that she doesn’t know how she does what she does, and I think she started so young that it’s like explaining a native language for her, like a fish trying to explain swimming. But I’d like to learn more about improv and a few tips and tricks from other pianists who do it, who play instruments that are big in a musical sense more than a physical sense, and who had to get used to the idea instead of doing it from the age of 7 months. There’s a dude named Robert Levin who does improv. I should check him out.

And I should approach improv from the left hand first. That might be interesting.

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