[“clavar la espada” by Shiro Sagisu]

Hi guys, it’s Tenny. Welcome to episode 15 of Tenny’s Tunes. Hope everyone’s doing okay as we head into the final three months of 2020. I hope the worst times have passed, but yet I wonder if what is to come will be any better. I guess that sums up life in general.

I have a question for you. Do you think pianos can sound like other instruments? We often hear people commenting on how flutes can sound like birds chirping, or clarinets at high pitches can resemble kettles with boiling water. But those are comparisons between a strictly defined musical instrument and a non-conventional instrument - because one can certainly make music out of anything in this day and age.

With regards to piano, I often find it easy to emulate the sound of a choir from fugues by Bach with the distinct SATB voice lines. Step on the sustain pedal, and you have a Bach piece that sounds like it should be played in the church. More recently, I’ve started to take an interest in guitar, not in the sense that I have one and I am learning how to play it, but that I see similarities between the techniques used in guitar and piano performances. Specifically, the Spanish guitar, which is known for some of the most advanced techniques.

As an example, the Spanish guitar often features picado, which is an alternate picking between the index and middle fingers as you hold your thumb onto the E string. This results in a fast-paced rhythmic repetition that goes either up or down the scale and, quite frankly, serves as the soul of a flamenco performance. Of course, there are also claps and singing that accompany a flamenco dancer, but if you only want to go with the essentials, a guitar is what matters the most from my experience. But don’t quote me on that.

In this sense, piano and guitar are quite similar. Your fingers can move pretty fast up and down the keyboard, or repeat in a cycle of three notes to mimic that picado sound. There are limitations to how much a piano can try to reproduce a guitar piece, of course. For instance, traditional pianos can’t really do vibratos like guitars or violins, but I believe electric pianos can through certain functions.

With that in mind, I bring to you today an attempt at interpreting a guitar/violin piece with piano. The piece is called “La Distancia Para Un Duelo” and has a Spanish feel to it. Hope you like it. You can also look up the original version on YouTube as well. I am Tenny, and this is NBN Audio. Peace.

[“La distancia para un duelo” by Shiro Sagisu, performed by Tenny Tsang]