2nd floor Miller ICA, CMU
Holiday Hours: There will not be a Conlon Nancarrow roll played Nov 24 please visit again.
Join us every Friday, 12:30pm during our Impossible Music exhibition to hear and explore Conlon Nancarrow compositions.
Conlon Nancarrow was one of the first composers to work with “auto-playing” musical instruments, particularly the player piano, because of its ability to perform scores that exceeded human ability. Nancarrow’s early work was characterized by its extreme technical demands, only rarely performed to his satisfaction. He turned to machines as a means to faithfully hear his compositions, which are complex arrangements of tempo, rhythm, and pitch.
Nancarrow’s first forays into composing with a player piano were slow and painstaking. After working with machinists in the United States and then Mexico, he was able to invent a custom-built punching machine and also adapt player pianos, increasing their dynamics by covering their hammers with leather and metal as a way to achieve more percussive sound.
Nancarrow’s early concerts with player pianos confounded audiences. His scores were performed at such a speed that it wasn’t discernible to their ears as music.
Study for Player Piano No. 5, 1951-1965
Study for Player Piano No. 12, 1951-1965
Study for Player Piano No. 21 – Canon X, 1951-1965
Study for Player Piano No. 27 – Canon 5%/6%/8%/11%, 1951-1965
To arrange an appointment at other times please email Margaret Cox email@example.com.
All rolls courtesy of Jay Sanders. Baby grand piano generously loaned by Joel Cluskey.