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 "Stick Piano" model...? 
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Post "Stick Piano" model...?
Several classically trained pianists have shown up on this forum over the years. Always they are directed to take up "classic" tuning and to adopt chord diagrams for instruction, just as if they were coming from a guitar background. Yet pianists have useful training which is unique to their instrument (so far) and which can be ported over to the Stick--so why not use it?

What if there were a model of the instrument and a course of study, set up to accommodate a pianist's own background in music? I submit that the SG12 in mirrored fourths (with a specific range) could be called a "Stick Piano", with its own nameplate, to advertize to pianists that the instrument can use what they already know. SE could carry Bartok's Mikrokosmos to teach the fretboard, and more advanced books like Mark Levine's The Jazz Piano Book. For reasons already discussed on this forum, fourths is the appropriate tuning for this material.

Would anyone else be interested in seeing a Stick Piano?


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Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:20 am
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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
Yea, I like the idea. Kinda already exists but to solidify it as a concept is cool. I think your piano take on the stick is cool, and would love to hear some more from ya. Cheers

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Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:10 pm
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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
Well, Greg came from piano and likes Classical tuning. I also come from piano (and bass guitar) and would just like it if more material were not in guitar shape format. Since I play bass LH, I have to invert most horizontal drawings for a basically vertical instrument. In my beginner's opinion, the different tunings distinctly impact what types of lines and chords are routine vs. challenging and rare. As a different instrument, it does not have to mimic another instruments, especially one we can already play.

Nice thoughts though. As an insect of recent origin (new-bee) I appreciate the philosophies.

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Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:19 pm
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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
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As a different instrument, it does not have to mimic another instruments, especially one we can already play.


The idea is not to imitate the piano, but to learn from it. Training in the basic principles of music--like counterpoint, voice-leading, and modulation--is done at the piano because the guitar can't handle simultaneous lines very well. The Stick can, but not so long as students avoid using the grand staff.

Stick music has been overwhelmingly diatonic, when it can be chromatic; overwhelmingly monadic (chords plus melody), when it can be polyphonic (multiple melodies); and it rarely modulates. These tendencies come from a pool of players who listen to guitar music and play the guitar. I'm suggesting that to make a direct appeal to players with different training will inspire some of them to broaden the definition of "Stick music", which I maintain is anything it can play convincingly.

And Oceans, thanks.


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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
I think labeling a model as a "Stick Piano" might throw some new folks off. I don't know that mirrored 4ths is the best place to start unless you have a specific need for that tuning. This will obviously depend on what one's goals are in playing the Stick.

mad_monk wrote:
Yet pianists have useful training which is unique to their instrument (so far) and which can be ported over to the Stick--so why not use it?

I haven't personally found that piano technique has been all that helpful in learning Stick. I'd rather see more instructional materials and pieces that are specific to Stick than to adapt the Stick to the piano's characteristics and repertoire.

The symmetry of the melody 4ths and bass 5ths is easy to understand and get used to. I think the inverted 4ths to 5ths matches a keyboard more than a mirrored 4ths tuning in the sense that your hands are playing inverted rather than mirrored when you play a keyboard. When you play chords in both hands on a keyboard they are inverted - (root position as an example) your thumb would be playing the root in the right hand and the top of the chord in the left. When playing scalar patterns in both hands, your arms might be moving in the same direction, but the fingers are doing inverted patterns, not mirrored ones. In any tuning, your hand and fingering patterns will be different than on piano.

mad_monk wrote:
I'm suggesting that to make a direct appeal to players with different training will inspire some of them to broaden the definition of "Stick music"

Although adapting classical pieces that I know is turning out to be a good way to learn my way around the Stick, I have no interest in playing classical piano pieces on Stick as a long term goal. So for me that adaptation aspect has been more helpful in learning the unique aspects of the Stick itself, rather than actually adapting what I know from piano (hope that makes sense?).

mad_monk wrote:
Training in the basic principles of music--like counterpoint, voice-leading, and modulation--is done at the piano because the guitar can't handle simultaneous lines very well. The Stick can, but not so long as students avoid using the grand staff.

This seems more like an issue with basic theory and reading skills, I don't see how a different tuning affects this.

mad_monk wrote:
Stick music has been overwhelmingly diatonic, when it can be chromatic; overwhelmingly monadic (chords plus melody), when it can be polyphonic (multiple melodies); and it rarely modulates.

We must be listening to vastly different things… So far, I've found a wide variety of different styles, textures, overall sounds to listen to. I think any perceived lack of variety in what you mention would likely have more to do with the fact that most Stick players are coming from another instrument in general, and less about which instrument they've played before. It takes a long time to master any instrument and be able to play and compose to its strengths.

I ordered my Stick in the classic tuning and have since changed to baritone melody. I haven't found the tuning to be a impediment, quite the opposite. If I want to play piano pieces I can play them on a keyboard. I got a Stick so I could explore other musical paradigms, not accommodate what I can already do. I prefer to approach the Stick on its own terms.


Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:18 pm
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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
Interesting point Claire. I think I see what you are saying. I can kinda see it both ways sorta. I never really thought about how on piano your r.h thumb is your l.h pinkie ect, well maybe a little thought but yeah i guess you would say that is inverted then huh>? O r am i missing the idea

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Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:02 pm
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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
Imagine yourself standing between tiers of keyboards, six on a side and arranged in an upside-down V in front of you. You have rows of black and white keys corresponding to the frets, and stacks of keyboards tuned upwards in 4ths on each side, corresponding to the strings.

Now glue sharps onto the white keys in all the spaces between the black keys, and you have a giant fretboard of black keys with identical fingering to a Stick tuned in mirrored 4ths.

The only conceptual difference is in the right hand:
- Your RH must extend from your right side instead of joining the LH toward your midsection.
- The RH stack of keyboards must be reversed in their 4ths relationship to simulate the mirrored Stick tuning (unless you wanted "tiered 4ths" instead of mirrored 4ths).
- You'd never have access to all twelve strings with either hand, and would lose an important aspect of the Stick design, that of endless permutations of all eight (or ten) digits on all twelve strings.

Make that upside-down V into a straight line in front of you and you have a computer keyboard. Now program each key to produce a note in chromatic half steps horizontally and ascending 4ths vertically in the LH (descending 4ths in the RH).

Also, you've got to pretend that the diagonal columns of keys are neatly aligned vertically. Now you should have exact Stick fingering for mirrored 4ths.

If, OTOH, you want "tiered 4ths", then both vertical sides of your keyboard would be ascending. Horizontally, the lowest semitones are at the center. (Fingers 1,2 and 3 or 4 of each hand respectively can play Do Re and Mi on every other key outwardly across each row.) Now bring your fingers up to your chest on "air Stick" and you have the same notes - 1 2 3 / Do Re Mi.

A fretboard has no raised and lowered keys, no black and white keys, just a matrix of chromatic half steps along the frets. The grand staff lines, however, are based upon a model system of seven tones per octave instead of the chromatic twelve tempered tones. You have to fill in the spaces with # and b symbols.

For me, this is music twice removed, and if I had ever wanted to read fluently, I'd have probably designed "the grandest staff" for myself, but then I couldn't readily learn from past literature nor teach into the future.

This is why I've always had a strong irreverence for tradition and a very limited respect for society's conventions (I'm typing this message on my "qwerty" keyboard).

Querky indeed! Best, Emmett.

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Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:56 pm
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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
OK, that's apparently a "no" to the Stick Piano marketing angle.

B Sharp, I thought you wanted to see people playing your instrument at the universities. If no-one learns to read music on it, I don't see how that can happen. Theory books aren't written in chord diagrams, and if you have so little respect for the conventional pedagogy, I don't see what one would learn there.

You may perhaps underestimate the value of reading on your instrument. The classical repertoire is instructional and lots of fun to play, even if its performance value is limited to busking at farmers' markets. The training may even pay off one day--don't forget where Evans got those great chords: Maurice Ravel.


Mad Monk.

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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
Mad Monk: I think I understand your angle on this a little better.

I agree that the ability to read music is a huge advantage, and someone who plays classical piano would generally be a good reader. But I think this basically allows someone with that background to choose any study materials that they like. The trick then is adapting it to Stick. I'd rather see the materials get adapted to suit the Stick than to see a Stick adapted to suit piano music.

As I said, I don't personally think starting with mirrored 4ths is necessarily the best thing. Maybe you feel that tuning makes it easier to read piano music as written, you also seem to wish to have people generate more diverse Stick music - I think playing the music as close as possible to the piano parts on Stick defeats that purpose. I'm also not sure that there's a lot of people coming from classical piano to Stick, your original post mentions "several". There are definitely some piano pieces I'd like to try at some point, but mostly to see how they translate to Stick.

Emmett: Your keyboard description reminds me of this: http://www.samchillian.com/aboutsam.html


Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:37 pm
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Post Re: "Stick Piano" model...?
Claire,

Thank you for acknowledging that reading can be an advantage. I've gotten hate mail for saying that on this forum.

Quote:
I agree that the ability to read music is a huge advantage, and someone who plays classical piano would generally be a good reader. But I think this basically allows someone with that background to choose any study materials that they like. The trick then is adapting it to Stick.

The trick is that there is no trick. You can play any of the Bach chorales exactly as written, on the Stick. Many examples from the literature can be played without omission, the rest you can play close enough to get the idea. Use any book you like. See where that might be useful?

Quote:
As I said, I don't personally think starting with mirrored 4ths is necessarily the best thing.

I speak from experience--well over ten years of playing from sheet music in fifths. Thirty years altogether come this August. Piano music is generally much more playable in fourths, and you will have a much easier time using the theory books as discussed above. Learning the fretboard is easier, too.

Quote:
Maybe you feel that tuning makes it easier to read piano music as written, you also seem to wish to have people generate more diverse Stick music - I think playing the music as close as possible to the piano parts on Stick defeats that purpose.

I can see where one would think that. It sounds reasonable. But if the purpose is to expand the range of musical possibilities for a two-handed stringed instrument, then studying the existing two-handed repertoire seems like a logical place to start--as the means to an end, not as the final product.


Mad Monk.

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