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Two hands play a piano keyboard (for the "sustain" blog post on muz4now). Photo by decried via pixabay https://pixabay.com/users/decrand-14902286/

Sustain Creativity – Pushing Too Far – part 2

In my previous post, I wrote about pushing. And not pushing.

Keep Pushing

Specifically, I wrote about not pushing down a sustain pedal while pushing too hard on a creative project. Well, some of you thought that I needed to provide examples. Ideally, those would be audio samples. The idea is that these would demonstrate the different sounds that range from the initial inspiration to the overdone (and now abandoned) version.

I want you to get what you ask for. So, here you go.

Sustain This

Normally, when I play a piano, I make ample use of the sustain pedal. Basically, this keeps the felt dampers from stopping the sound. In other words, the sound keeps going even if I lift my hands off of the keys.

The ankle fracture is on my right leg. That means I can’t put too much weight or pressure on that ankle. So things like driving and sustain pedal are “out” for now.

Sustained. Not sustained.

I started my new composing/recording project with piano improvisations. That’s not unusual. However, this time I intentionally played without any sustain pedal. (Though I thought I wouldn’t be able to use my left foot to press this pedal, I later discovered that I can.)

But first I need to give you an idea of what these improvisations sound like with a “normal” sustain pedal throughout. Press the play button and listen…

Sustained Piano (from “Rudimprenatz”, Copyright ©️ 2024)

Here’s that same segment as I originally improvised it (with no sustain pedal).

Unsustained Piano (from “Rudimprenatz”, Copyright ©️ 2024)

Hearing Is Believing

When I listened to that unsustained improvisation, I thought, “No one will ever listen to this. It sounds stunted and unreal.” So, I set out to make an arrangement that sounded better. Using a broad range of sounds, I created this trying to overcome the “stunted and unreal” sound of the sustainless piano.

No Piano at all (from “Rudimprenatz”, Copyright ©️ 2024)

Which of these 3 sound examples do you like best? Choices are sustained piano, unsustained piano, or no piano. Let me know in the comments or via social networks.

It only took me 3 days of listening to this pile of sound to decide that I could not continue. I had started with stunted and moved on to a weird barrage of noises.

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

The sustain pedal on a piano. Pushing this pedal is difficult or impossible with a broken leg.

One thing I could have done is gone back into all of the piano improvisations and added sustain pedal. That seemed very contrived, plus it sort of made me go back on my word that I would create these without that particular crutch. So, I listened to the original recordings again.

To my surprise, they sounded like the most authentic of the options. There was a vulnerable beauty in those raw performances created in the moment. (I reserve the prerogative to mix in some of the other sounds, of course.)

Soon, you’ll be able to listen to these recordings. Thanks for your support.

Main photo is by decrand via pixabay.

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