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This is a sound journal of Melsen improvising on different pianos. Practically everything you will hear is raw and unrehearsed. There will be sounds of life happening in the background, and many of the pianos are not in tune. Mel has been improvising at the keyboard since he was very young, but he began making regular recordings in 2012. This podcast is a curated selection from the larger body of recordings he has made since then. Many of the pianos featured here were part of a public art in ...
 
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After playing duets with Dad, and after a rather messy performance of a Chopin G Major Prelude, I wanted to play just one more time before moving on to find our departure gate at the airport. If you're familiar with the prelude, you'll hear how I started there with this improvisation. I think this is the most exuberant one of the day, and a fitting…
 
Here is the second duet improvisation with my dad, Philip Carlsen (www.philcarlsen.com). In this one, I'm playing bass, and he's playing treble. I snuck a peak around us during the middle of this, and a sizeable crowd had gathered. It can be such a relief in a stressful situation like an airport to be able to make and listen to live music!…
 
And then my dad joined me and we improvised two duets. This is the first: he is playing bass and I'm playing treble. I grew up listening to him compose at the piano, and I have been heavily influenced by his sense of musical adventure and creation. Check out some of his work on his website: www.philcarlsen.com. You can listen to clips there and on …
 
This is the second recording from the Kawai baby grand at PDX, and the third recording from last Saturday. By now, if you've been listening to this podcast for a while, you'll recognize this style of improvising: fast arpeggiated chords, where the content is a slow harmonic transformation with the illusion of a fast pace because of the many notes u…
 
This Kawai baby grand piano was just sitting in the terminal at PDX. The security guard said that sometimes they paid performers to play on it, but otherwise it was available for anyone to play. My family and I had a couple hours before our plane left, so my dad and I ended up playing for almost an hour! We did some pieces we knew, but we also impr…
 
I was recently on the Oregon coast for a family reunion, and on our last day, some of us spent some time in Portland. To my delight, we found not one, but two public pianos to play! The first was part of the Piano Push Play project, and was installed outside the Portland Art Museum. It was a gorgeous day, and it had the feeling of the Boston Street…
 
My partner and I visited my dad and his wife last weekend. He had recently gotten his baby grand piano back, after living in small apartments for a few years. It was sweet to re-familiarize myself with it. I spent hours practicing on it when I was in high school. I woke up on Saturday morning, and before anyone else was up and about, I started this…
 
A little over two years ago, my grandmother passed away. I played at her memorial service, as well as many other times that weekend. Here's a recording I made when I was warming up on the stage where we were going to hold the service. She played piano as well, and I spent a lot of time that weekend poring over her music books, and reading her notes…
 
I made this recording right after the last one, again with the Sony PCM-M10. It's a bit longer. Because of a very busy work schedule over the past few months, I've had a hard time finding time to even play piano, let alone record. It was really nice to be able to sit down and make these tracks.Από τον Melsen C
 
Trying something new with this recording. I recently bought a Sony PCM-M10 Portable Audio Recorder, which records in stereo. So far, I'm really liking it! I'm able to record in much higher resolution than I did on my smart phone. Plus, this device is able to filter out some low frequencie sounds (like wind or household noises), and it also limits t…
 
I'm considering starting to compose finished pieces using ideas I've explored in these improvisations. I would then make recordings and release them in albums. I would also make the sheet music available for sale. These are grand ideas, and because of the nature of my day job, there are only certain times in the year when I would have enough creati…
 
Here's another recording from March, released after the fact! It's a long-format one. I've been thinking about why I typically choose the keys I do to play in. And what makes a key feel like it does? I find I gravitate towards flat keys, but what does that even mean? A-flat Major is technically the same as G-sharp Major. But I believe I always thin…
 
March 2015 - Day 31 Here it is - the last post for March. I wrote Ocean Squalls when I was in late elementary school. On Sunday night, I read through it a couple times and then put my music notebook away. This is me playing it from memory, and taking a little artistic liberty. I hope you enjoy!Από τον Melsen C
 
March 2015 - Day 30 Only two days left in March, including today! I'm trying to decide how frequently to continue posting to this podcast. I recently went through all my files, and I have more than 200 recordings. They are not all ones I would want to share publicly, but many of them are. If I continue to record a few new piano logs every week, I s…
 
March 2015 - Day 29 This piano was in a little courtyard at Harvard Law School. I had the feeling of being in a sort of room, even though I was outside. It felt oddly private. Perhaps as a result, I think this improvisation ended up sounding more introspective.Από τον Melsen C
 
March 2015 - Day 28 In 2013, this young person passed away after a tragic bicycle accident. I played thinking of him, and thinking of the people he left behind who grieved his passing. Often, music can express things when words aren't helpful. And also, I'm not a traditionally religious person, but sometimes for me, playing music is the most direct…
 
March 2015 - Day 26 This was one of my first ever recordings of piano improvisation. Up until 2008, I had improvised so much, but I had never thought to record. It had been my way of warming up at the keyboard, relaxing, or even practicing techniques. But that was all. I didn't take it nearly as seriously as my classical training. Which is perhaps …
 
March 2015 - Day 18 I'm releasing two recordings today: this first one is tiny - it's just a clip of a woman I met who had been hanging out at the South Station public piano for multiple days, hours a day. She was trying to amass signatures for a petition to save the pianos. I wonder what became of that?…
 
March 2015 - Day 16 This one is from earlier on last Thursday. I thought that I would try to shake things up by trying to intersperse unexpected and odd chords with my more habitual flow of improvisation. You'll hear more things than usual that could sound like mistakes, but I try to run with them and see where they lead. This is really the first o…
 
March 2015 - Day 15 My last recording of the night on Thursday. I had tried some improvisations earlier with a relatively large concentration of random chance chords and sonorities (you'll hear these ones soon). In this last one, I gravitated to one lovely, dependable key: the fabulous F major! Enjoy...…
 
March 2015 - Day 13 This is one of 17 recordings I made on October 5, 2013. As you have heard previously on this podcast, I started at Old North Church right after tower bell ringing practice. I then made my way down the greenway, over to Quincy Market and the old State House, back by Government Center, by this park, then over to the Chinatown gate…
 
March 2015 - Day 12 Here it is - the improvisation I had to do directly following Professor Souhad Zendah's presentation. I was haunted by the image of her at 17, having to spend 4 hours in an ever-narrowing tunnel, walking past countless sniper guns and enduring constant shouted threats from unseen soldiers on speakers, waiting to get out of Gaza …
 
March 2015 - Day 11 This is the third recording from last Sunday's service at the Community Church of Boston. I played this one after community announcements, joys, and sorrows had been expressed. This was paving the way for our presenter, Souhad Zendah. See Day 9 for a longer description of the service. This is another one in the arpeggiated style…
 
March 2015 - Day 9 I just attended an incredibly intense and heartfelt talk by Tufts Professor Souhad Zendah about her experiences growing up in Gaza, her life afterwards, and the lives of all the people who live there now. I do not have words to convey this adequately. I have learned some about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over the years, but …
 
Welcome to Day 6! I've gone back to recording directly from my iPhone while I try to get the new microphone fixed. You may have noticed some microphone static in a couple of the more recent recordings. It's been getting worse, so I'm probably going to just get the microphone replaced. In the meantime, I have a shock absorbing mic stand for my iPhon…
 
This one is more informal and playful. During the Street Piano Project, there would often be people milling around the pianos - waiting to take their turn, just listening, or wanting to join in. I started playing Autumn Leaves, and a guy who was standing behind me started singing along. Then he asked if he could play too, and we had some fun!…
 
Part of the Boston Street Piano Project. This one explores different realms of sound from my usual palette. I mean, part of what I'm trying to do is be original and try something entirely new every time. But my ears and fingers have patterns they love to revisit. Sometimes I have to really push myself to shake things up, and I think this recording …
 
For this improvisation, I found myself touching on a Chopin piece I've never actually learned. See if you can tell which one it is! And, welcome to March 2015! For the month of March, I'm going to be publishing one podcast episode a day, so please check back regularly!Από τον Melsen C
 
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