Eugene Portman on piano

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Interesting, Humorous and Weird Facts About Music

 

 

 

 

Tin Pan Alley is an actual place in New York City and it’s the nickname for the side streets off Times Square, where for generations music publishers have auditioned new songs. The name came from the late 1800s, when the awful sound of cheap tinny pianos coming through the open office windows of hundreds of publishers was likened to the beating of tin pans.


Originally, the first line to Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" was "I'm sitting by a pool in Beverly Hills dreaming of a White Christmas. "A friend suggested to him that he drop the reference to Beverly Hills, and the song went on to become the most commercially successful song ever.


American composer John Cage (1912–1992) composed a work in 1952 entitled 4' 33", which consists of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence.


Louis Armstrong holds the record of oldest chart topper. Having reached number one in the UK in 1968 with the song ‘What A Wonderful World’. He was 67 at the time.


Scientists in Germany have discovered that pianists have more efficient brains. A group led by Dr. Timo Krings required pianists and non-musicians of the same age and sex to perform complex sequences of finger movements. Their brains were scanned using a technique called "functional magnetic resonance imaging" (fMRI) which detects the activity levels of brain cells, by measuring changes in blood flow. The non-musicians were able to make the movements as correctly as the pianists. However, the amount of brain activity in areas controlling movement was different. The pianists made the correct movements while having less brain activation. Thus, compared to non-musicians, the brains of pianists are more efficient at making skilled movements. These findings show that musical training can enhance brain function.



The song with the longest title is 'I'm a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu Mama Doin' Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues' written by Hoagy Carmichael in 1943. He later claimed the song title ended with "Yank" and the rest was a joke.


The longest piano piece of any kind is 'Vexations' by Erik Satie. It consists of a 180-note composition which, on the composer's orders, must be repeated 840 times so that the whole performance is 18 hours 40 minutes. Its first reported public performance in September 1963, in the Pocket Theater, New York City, required a relay team of 10 pianists. The New York Times critic fell asleep at 4 a.m. and the audience dwindled to 6 masochists. At the conclusion, one sado-masochist shouted 'Encore!'


The longest rendering of a national anthem was 'God Save the King,' performed by a German military band on the platform of Rathenau railway station in Brandenburg, on February 9, 1909. King Edward VII was struggling inside the train to get into his German Field-Marshall uniform, so the band had to play the anthem 17 consecutive times.


At only four lines long, the Japanese national anthem is the shortest national anthem. The longest is the Greek national anthem at 158 verses long.


Melba toast is named after Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931)


So-called 'gut strings' for acoustic Spanish guitars were originally made from the small intestines of slaughtered sheep. The production material only changed - to nylon - during World War II, when all available gut was used in the production of surgical thread for wounded soldiers. Eww!


Leo Fender, inventor of the Stratocaster and Telecaster, couldn't play the guitar.


The Star-Spangled Banner became the US national anthem in 1931. Prior to that, it was My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” which had the same melody as Britian’s national anthem God Save the Queen, which is based on music written by John Bull in 1619. Bull’s melody has been used more than any song in national anthems.The Star-Spangled Banner became the US national anthem in 1931. Prior to that, it was My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” which had the same melody as Britian’s national anthem God Save the Queen, which is based on music written by John Bull in 1619. Bull’s melody has been used more than any song in national anthems.


Tap dancing originates from Irish clog dancing and what is called the Irish reel and jig.


At the first Grammy Awards, held on 4 May 1959, Domenico Modugno beat out Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee for the Record of the Year, with “Volare.”


A grand piano can be played faster than an upright (spinet) piano.


A piano covers the full spectrum of all orchestra instruments, from below the lowest note of the double bassoon to above the top note of the piccolo.


The harmonica is the world’s best-selling music instrument.


Themes from movies Unforgiven, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison County, and Absolute Power were all written by Clint Eastwood.


Frank Sinatra was named Entertainer of the Century in 2000. His tombstone reads "The best is yet to come".


The longest hymn is Hora Novissima Tempora Pessima Sunt; Vigilemus by Bernard of Cluny, which is 2,966 lines long.


Hungarian musician Franz Liszt received so many requests for locks of his hair that he bought a dog and snipped off patches of fur to send to admirers.


While bagpipes are today identified with Scotland, they date from ancient times and may have been introduced into the British Isles by the Romans.


Music can help reduce chronic pain by more than 20% and can alleviate depression by up to 25%.


Termites eat wood twice as fast when listening to heavy metal music.


Jimi Hendrix’s tombstone has a Fender Stratocaster carved on it.


The smallest guitar in the world is 10 micrometres long with strings 50 nanometres (100 atoms) wide.


The total string tension in a concert grand is close to Thirty Tons!


That a boxed model D Steinway Grand Piano weighs 1400 Pounds!


Yamaha, established in 1887 was the first piano manfacturer in Japan.


The worlds largest piano is a Challen Concert Grand. This piano is 11 feet long, has a total string tension of over 30 tons and weighs more than a ton !!


 

 

 

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Please note that all the photographs on this site were taken by Eugene Portman and are subject to copyright law.