Man invents his own brand of piano playing (Video)

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Listening to a piece by Hauschka can be deceiving: What sounds like an ensemble of musicians and instruments is just one man, performing at one piano. His real name is Volker Bertelmann, and he hails from Dusseldorf, Germany, where he works with his “prepared piano.” He wrests disruptive sounds from the instrument’s 88 keys by outfitting the strings or mallets with objects such as ping-pong balls, aluminum foil and leather.

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  • cum dumpster

    Sounds like gingers being beaten

    • Sean

      Bob your videos suck


    GO PATS!!!

  • Undergrad

    I can't even play the fucking kazoo. Amazing.

  • sfb101

    Ahhhh, Another use for duck tape!

    • knotmee

      Do you not know the difference between electrical tape and duct tape? Well, I suppose not since you don't even know its "duct tape" not "duck tape". Illiterate idiot.

      • CdnChiver

        While there is validity to pointing out the duck/duct tape mistake, I have no idea why you think that was electrical tape. Was it because it's black? Black tape must be electrical tape? Look at the weave in the tape. Clearly the unmistakable look of duct tape (which comes in several colors now) or one of it's closely related clone knock-offs.
        Perhaps instead of flaming people before truly thinking it through, KCCO and have a wee chuckle to yourself. Maybe sfb101's duck tape comment will give rise to a new Chive post…. 'Duct (tape) Face'

        • Ben

          Also there's a brand with a duck on the label and I think it is called Duck tape.

  • Java wacko

    John cage would be proud

  • StarboardEngine

    Someone tell me when the ping-pong balls start to do something… until then you can find me at the Hump Day in high def post.

    • Derek

      When he adds that higher single note to his primary loop (he crosses his left hand over his right as he strikes this key) it produces a slightly muted tone. I'm no physicist but the musician in me thinks that, much like creating artificial harmonics on a stringed instrument, the ping pong balls are absorbing some, but not all, of the strings natural harmonics. Almost all of the items are used in the same way, except for those two black devices he places early on. Those are sweet little digital feedback devices that will vibrate a string at its natural frequency indefinitely. They were not designed with the piano in mind, but it's a cool idea IMO. They are called an E-bow for the curious. Fun little gadget.

  • Kev

    I just saw Jesus' eyes

  • Leigh

    talk about artistic ingenuity – this is awesome!

  • benjamin

    this has been done since the '40s. John Cage started this. Nothing new about it

    • chucklesclown

      True. The word "invents" is a bit much, since playing prepared instruments has been in practice for many decades. John Cage, as you mentioned, at least gave the name to it and certainly popularized it.

      That being said, this is still quite impressive though.

      • musicman

        I was going to mention that too. And I personally like John Cage's use of this technique better, he made it much more percussive, although I'm not slighting this guy in anyway, it's still very creative but yes the word "invent" should not be in the title here

  • Robinsos

    Beautiful piece. Amazing the versatility he got out of a piano.

  • paulhitchcock

    LOL at the bullet vibe at 1:39.

  • <Ed_Word>

    News Flash People: This is an 'Prepared Piano' Performance and it has been done since John Cage used it in dance pieces he wrote for his lifetime partner Merce Cunningham in the 40s. While this is a great performance this guy did not invent it. While it is very different from what Cage had available to him it is the same basic concept and is use really frequently in the 'High Art' world. While I was doing my MFA I couldn't get away from it, you hear it everywhere!

  • Captain

    things like this arent as great when the musical piece he's playing is boring an uninteresting.

    • MissedThePoint

      You forgot the word 'dick' at the end.
      "things like this arent as great when the musical piece he's playing is boring an uninteresting dick"

      You probably don't even get the joke.

      • Edwin

        Well done MissedThePoint

  • fucked

    i will never visit

  • dumdeedumdee

    I find the back and forth of the piano part annoying. other than that, everything else sounds pretty cool.

  • nope


  • Edwin

    This is horribly underwhelming

  • PizdusInc

    Mozart 2.0??

  • Canucks_Rule


  • cruisey

    What a pretentious tosser

  • 2Dogs


  • Dirk Diggler

    Love the use of a bullet vibrator. Anyone that can make music with it without making a woman scream is incredible.

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