The Badass of the Week.

E-Mail: Badass Pianists

Being a apprentice pianist, I could give you a list of men with godlike capabilities in music. (I mean godlike, not just any musicians like Haendel, Vivaldi or whatever.) As a matter of fact, that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna give you names and a brief description why the names of musicians you probably already heard are much more than what you think.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) :

For most people, this name just means "classical music". That's because this guy is an incarnation of music itself. When he was a toddler, he decided that he would listen to his sister's piano lessons. He soon figured out he clearly kicked her ass at music and by the age of 5 (approximately when I started to know how to tie my shoelace), the kid wrote his first keyboard music and toured around Europe to show his demonic skills.

When he was less than 10 years old, his dad brought him to some church when he told him "You will hear a bunch of people singing different melodies at the same time. Nobody know exactly the score because it's somehow divine and protected. I want you to listen to it and remember it." Mozart listened to the music (which was indeed about 4 fucking different melodies at the same time), came back home and rewrote them all by memory. The day after, he went to the church with his father and gave the sheets to the priest. It was the exact copy of the original, without any mistakes. No absolute-pitched superhero could even dream of doing this kind of shit today. Also, when Mozart walked into the streets and met a beggar, instead of giving him pennies, he simply took a sheet and wrote music. In 15 secs he wrote a melody, gave it to the guy and said "publish this and you'll get money." Apparently it worked pretty well because Mozart was so badass at writing any kind of complex music in 15 secs. People today do this in one whole fucking year, Mozart did it under a minute.

He died at the age of 35 of overwhelming genius.


Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938) :

Apart from having "God" in his last name, this guy is a true musical Bruce Lee.

Before explaining why, you have to know what are Chopin's Etudes. I will tell you. It's two books (called Op.10 and Op.25) written for pianists who wanted a challenge in music. These books contain 12 short pieces each, +3 which he wrote later. That makes a total of 27 etudes. Professional pianists agree to say that if someone can play every single Chopin's Etude, he can play anything because they represent the hardest technical challenge.

Now Godowsky played them all pretty easily. In fact, he decided they were too fucking easy for him. So, he rewrote them and called his new work "Studies on Chopin's Etudes", which are believed to be "the most impossibly difficult things ever written for the piano." (weren't the Etudes already the hardest technical challenge? whatever) These "Studies on Chopin's Etudes" are like über Chopin's Etudes. As an example, he decided to take the right-hand part of an etude and give it to the left hand. So some studies are just Chopin's Etudes played entirely with one hand (as you read higher, original versions played by two hands were supposed to "represent the hardest technical challenge") while the other hand just does nothing. That's why Godowsky thought "Hey, if one hand can play an etude and the other hand does nothing, it could play another etude!" So he wrote double-etudes. Yes, you read well : he played one etude with his left hand and played a different etude simultaneously with his right hand. I think this is the equivalent of headshoting every fucking person in Counterstrike with your right hand alone, while you draw the Mona Lisa with the other hand.

I don't want to go inside such explanations for the other musical candidates for "badass of the week", but you may want to read about Liszt, Horowitz, Cziffra (all three of them pretty much owned Godowsky in piano technique but for reasons that are harder to explain), Marc-André Hamelin (played all of Godowsky's work and even wrote a "triple etude", same thing as Godowsky did but with 3 etudes instead of 2), Sviatoslav Richter (in one month, remembered Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier", something that would take a professional pianist about two years at full time), Paganini (by far the best violinist who ever lived, but I can't tell you more I know nothing about violin), J.S. Bach (could improvise a seven-voice fugue, something that would take a professional composer many months to compose, and a computer more than ten minutes to compute (because a fugue is more a mathematical challenge than a music thing)) and Chopin (no reasons for that, he was simply the best ever).

Maybe you'll think I just named famous musicians and did some research to explain why they are very good. If that was the case, I would have said Beethoven (even if he still wrote his most popular works being deaf), Haydn (even if he was the teacher of Beethoven and Wolfang "Badass" Mozart), Brahms, Argerich (even if she learned some of the hardest music ever written in like two weeks), Michelangeli (even if the taught Argerich), and others. But the ones I named in the other paragraphs really are more than just musical genius. They are technical gods and represent perfection in every aspects of their work.

I don't expect you to post this in "fan mail" section, but you may. As a matter of fact, I will transform the e-mail into a fan mail : hey, your website is pretty chill, I'm a huge fan. I just thought there weren't enough musicians in the list and what I wrote here could give you ideas.

Have a badass day.  

--
Vincent







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