The Conlon Nancarrow Fan Club

(One of those threads which seems destined to get few or no responses at all.)

Is anyone else a Conlon Nancarrow fan?

I first heard of Nancarrow from the radio show “Schickele Mix” on WGBH. He was a composer in the early days of the new avant-garde (circa Cage, Partch, etc.) He loved music, but hated performers as he was constantly frustrated getting his music performed correctly. To thwart this, he turned to composing music for the player piano and contrived a way of composing by punching holes in the paper itself. Consequently, his music is rhythmically complex and difficult. Some pieces are impossible for humans to play on a conventional piano.

So … anyone?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. :wink:

Another one who died in 1997, huh? And on my birthday too. Thanks heaps, Eutychus55. :rolleyes:
Can’t recall ever hearing about him before – and I probably won’t again.
sigh I’ll go amend my records now … ::shuffling off, stage left::

It’s interesting and different. Technically speaking it’s not humanly possible to play his music pieces - IIRC up to 400 notes in a single second!

Hm, didn’t he punch holes in rubber not paper? :wink:

I’ve heard a couple of his pieces. His music can’t be played by humans, and can barely be done by a player piano. He has to tighten every screw and bolt or the things will throw themselves into 88,000 pieces.

The same friend who exposed me to Noncarrow has also played some Partch and Reich for me. I’ve heard it said that part of the process of becoming an artist is to learn the rules by which something is done, and then break them. These people are breaking rules I didn’t even know were rules (a 43-note scale, anyone?). Only trouble is, the result is usually too remote for me to make any emotional or aesthetic connection to it. The degree of creativity is stunning. How many millions of people have seen piano rolls and only one guy thought to punch them out by hand and make something completely new. But I don’t get much more from listening to his music than from just being told how he made it.