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While His Piano Gently Weeps
January 15, 2008 7:48 PM   Subscribe

Free Bird on piano [YouTube]. The 14-year-old musician, who calls himself UnclassicalPiano on YouTube, currently has 16 other selections, including Stairway To Heaven, Behind Blue Eyes, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Message In A Bottle and Black Sabbath's Paranoid (his main interest is metal), all of which he says he learned to play by ear.
posted by amyms (41 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very, very, very impressive for 14 years old or otherwise.
posted by uaudio at 7:55 PM on January 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nope.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2008


Awesome. Love all these kids on YouTube coming up with cool music styles of their own. UnclassicalPiano's YT profile page.

"It's not how big your pencil is; it's how you write your name."
-Dave Mustaine


Mischievous rascal. Very likable.
posted by nickyskye at 7:58 PM on January 15, 2008


I cannot snark. There's something oddly sweet about this. Also, it reminded me that the reason Free Bird is so mockable is that the melody is amazingly poignant and memorable, however hackneyed it may have become.
posted by Miko at 8:01 PM on January 15, 2008


OK, open two windows and play any two of the links simultaneously....
posted by X4ster at 8:09 PM on January 15, 2008


Nope.

Nope!
posted by ORthey at 8:17 PM on January 15, 2008


I find myself oddly mesmerized by these, also.
posted by ORthey at 8:18 PM on January 15, 2008


Better than the average 14-year old. Good for you, guy.

But...please, leave this non-prodigy stuff for another forum.
posted by kozad at 8:21 PM on January 15, 2008


*holds up lighter, sways*

(Seriously, you know what little bit of amateur sweetness got to me? The way he lifted his right hand to scratch his nose around 2:43 into Free Bird. But it was still Free Bird, so I bailed shortly after that. I did listen to Paranoia all the way through, though. That was pretty damn good.)
posted by maudlin at 8:27 PM on January 15, 2008


He doesn't even move away from the mic to breathe in.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:28 PM on January 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


*glances sidelong at the DMCA*
posted by tarheelcoxn at 8:30 PM on January 15, 2008


My "nope" is not a snark; it's a critique. I understand many won't share my opinion. That's fine. I played a lot of piano. Debussy, Chopin, Schubert, Grieg Concerto when I was sixteen, then in a rock band at university. This kid is very average. I'm not saying you can't like it.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:30 PM on January 15, 2008


Damn. I wish I would've thought of trying Sabbath or Zeppelin during all those years of painful violin lessons.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:33 PM on January 15, 2008


I completely agree, he's no exceptional prodigy. That's not snark, just the truth. Still, I have to think he re-created these arrangements, and certainly has worked hard to make them faithful, with the passion for hard rock only a teenager can display.
posted by Miko at 8:36 PM on January 15, 2008


It's a snark, weapons-grade. I was substantially better than that at 14, too (mostly by ear, Suzuki method from age 4, my sight reading never really caught up and I got lazy in high school and quit -- parents beware!) and I agree, this kid is average at best. No sense of dynamics, tempo, finger placement or much of anything else besides a half decent ear for melody and pretty good hand independence.

Still, "nope", without more, is a snark.
posted by The Bellman at 8:37 PM on January 15, 2008


My God. YouTube has 30 Tool piano covers alone.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:37 PM on January 15, 2008


maudlin said: Seriously, you know what little bit of amateur sweetness got to me? The way he lifted his right hand to scratch his nose around 2:43 into Free Bird. But it was still Free Bird, so I bailed shortly after that.

I liked the lifted hand too. You shouldn't have bailed so soon, though. After 4:00 he really gets into it.

For the snarkers: I don't mind the snark. Not everyone likes the same things on Metafilter. But I didn't post this because I thought he was a prodigy. I posted it because I thought it was very enjoyable to listen to, in a "oddly sweet" way (as miko said), and I was impressed with his hard work and his semi-cocky, but still very likeable (as nickyskye said), confidence in himself as evidenced on his profile page.
posted by amyms at 8:47 PM on January 15, 2008


My "nope" is not a snark; it's a critique. I understand many won't share my opinion. That's fine. I played a lot of piano. Debussy, Chopin, Schubert, Grieg Concerto when I was sixteen, then in a rock band at university. This kid is very average. I'm not saying you can't like it.

Man, I really hope bitter-girl.com is reading this. I'm reminded of when she and I walked through a people's art show and she pointed out (loudly) everything that was wrong with a drawing this three-year-old did...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:51 PM on January 15, 2008


My "nope" is not a snark; it's a critique.

Heh.

Anyway, good job kid. I took eight years of piano lessons and I've got nothing to show for it.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:04 PM on January 15, 2008


Man, I really hope bitter-girl.com is reading this. I'm reminded of when she and I walked through a people's art show and she pointed out (loudly) everything that was wrong with a drawing this three-year-old did...

That's because she was copying this guy. He really hates kids.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:18 PM on January 15, 2008


Rats. I saw "Free Bird" and I was hoping for the OP to Haibane Renmei, a truly gorgeous piece of music. But 'twas not to be. (Lynyrd Skynyrd? Yeesh.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:07 PM on January 15, 2008


In the meantime the kid, Nick Pitera, of the high and low registered voice I FPPed a few weeks ago, is getting pretty popular and making new videos. There're some cool YT kids out there making great and sometimes quirky videos: miarose, Bubbly, Charice Pempengco, check out this 15 year old cutie patootie, Chantelle, singing No One, a 4 year old girl OneRepublic's Apologize, kinagrannis' Try and kid phenom esmee denters.
posted by nickyskye at 10:11 PM on January 15, 2008


oops, link to the 4 year old singing Apologize
posted by nickyskye at 10:21 PM on January 15, 2008


I dunno, the left hand is just arpeggios inside the octave and the right hand is a single melody line. When I was fourteen I was leading a band in church, and it was all played by ear. And I am really not a good piano player at all. I mean, at all. Snark on, you crazy diamonds.
posted by unSane at 11:11 PM on January 15, 2008


There really must be millions of more talented pianists at his age, doing similar material. I've always thought that there must be a market for more virtuoso Liszt-style paraphrases on contemporary rock and pop music. But yet, this kid has caught the public imagination at just the right time. Reminds me of a joke usually told by guitarists:
How many guitarists does it take to change a lightbulb? 1,000... 1 to change it and 999 to say 'I could have done that!'
posted by BobsterLobster at 11:43 PM on January 15, 2008


The sparse arrangements reminded me of Maxence Cyrin's "Modern Rhapsodies", an album full of solo piano arrangements of classic house and techno tracks.

On only some of them does Cyrin give in to the temptation to use the sustain pedal as a percussion instrument.
posted by dansdata at 1:27 AM on January 16, 2008


Here's a young 'un tearing up the ol' plastic keys on Tico Tico. CUTE!! Reckon she might've been influenced by organ wiz Ethel Smith?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:02 AM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: My "nope" is not a snark; it's a critique.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:02 AM on January 16, 2008


Nthing the oddly sweet but not technically impressive. I have the musical talent of a salted slug but I somehow always end up around people who are really genuinely gifted at it.
posted by Skorgu at 5:55 AM on January 16, 2008


Play Freebird Debussy!
posted by the other side at 6:30 AM on January 16, 2008


omg flapjax, that tiny Chinese girl is definitely a child prodigy. She's amazing and so funny how much she enjoys playing. Her joie de vivre is in keeping with the music piece. Loved that!

How many guitarists does it take to change a lightbulb? 1,000... 1 to change it and 999 to say 'I could have done that!'

Heh. Funny.

What is it with music posts that make MeFites either speak competitively or comparatively with such vehemence and meanness, especially when discussing a child's work? I don't understand. When there is a thoughtful piece of writing, people don't get all het up about the author's paragraphs or use of prepositions and say, well I know this person whose paragraphs are such a better length, or whose grammar is infinitely more punctilious.
posted by nickyskye at 6:58 AM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


ps, What I find endearing is that this kid, who thoughtfully plays these piano pieces, does so while being a huge thrash metal fan. It's an odd and fun combination. He's UnClassicalPiano, that's the point for him.
posted by nickyskye at 7:09 AM on January 16, 2008


OK, the Chinese girl wins the Internets.
posted by The Bellman at 7:12 AM on January 16, 2008


This kid may not be perfect but he's damn cool and I enjoyed the videos (as a guitar player). I like his arrangements.
posted by mrbill at 9:35 AM on January 16, 2008


Enjoyable. Lousy technic but that's not really a valid critique. Wrists low like that could blow out a hand.
posted by bz at 11:26 AM on January 16, 2008


Aw, the kid on the organ brings back memories of having to learn that song myself.

(I haven't decided if they're pleasant memories, or otherwise. I do remember long drawn out periods of sitting on the organ bench, my posture deteriorating by the minute, refusing to play.)
posted by evilcolonel at 2:14 PM on January 16, 2008


The lack of dynamics is quite glaring I'm afraid, and it's a fairly fundamental and not that difficult to learn a skill. (That, or like all other modern music on the internet it's had everything compressed out of it.)
You can't just ignore the subtleties in those songs or you totally miss the point. You might as well have had him play it on a electronic piano with no velocity sensitivity.
Not that he isn't vastly better than I ever was, but I'd never expect to have been noticed.
posted by edd at 5:49 PM on January 16, 2008


My "nope" is not a snark; it's a critique. ... I played a lot of piano. Debussy, Chopin, Schubert, Grieg Concerto when I was sixteen, then in a rock band at university.

It's not Arcade Fire, is it?
posted by applemeat at 5:53 PM on January 16, 2008


O.K., here’s the recipe for Korn chowder: you take a dollop of metal, a dash of rap, a drop of dementia, a pinch of sleaze, add an extra string on your guitars and tune ‘em down, throw it all in an industrial strength blender and whaddya got? Well, aside from Korn chowder, you’ve got a recipe for massive success and adulation! A worldwide network of disaffected kids finds themselves drawn to Korn’s intense lyrics and incendiary shows and as long as there are angry kids, there will be Korn fans. But now it’s time to explore a different side of this band. On this piano tribute to Korn, we crawl inside the belly of the beast to find its heartbeat, the melodic essentials of their songs and then we rip them out for you. So when you get sick of your parents yelling at you, throw this on and when they say how much they like it, don’t tell them who it is. It’ll be our little secret…

snark! snark!
posted by speicus at 6:21 PM on January 16, 2008


What is it with music posts that make MeFites either speak competitively or comparatively with such vehemence and meanness, especially when discussing a child's work? I don't understand. When there is a thoughtful piece of writing, people don't get all het up about the author's paragraphs or use of prepositions and say, well I know this person whose paragraphs are such a better length, or whose grammar is infinitely more punctilious.

I suspect that a lot of us, including me, are or were musicians at some point, and instinctively remember the competitiveness of being a young musician and being acutely aware of your place on the hierarchy somewhere between "prodigy" and "tone-deaf." I can't speak for anyone else but something complex happens in my brain when people draw my attention to something like this: about half is going "that's great! this kid really loves music and he's getting attention for it!" and the other half is going "what? huh? there's so much more and better music out there, so why are people paying attention to this, of all things?" Of course, if I really think about it this competitive attitude about music doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since the way people listen to music is essentially connective, not competitive -- the more music people listen to, the more music people want to hear. But sometimes childhood instincts kick in and get the better of me. I kind of snarked/critiqued this girl and kind of regret it... really the world is a better place with kids like this in it, simply because they genuinely enjoy making music for the hell of it, even if what they're doing isn't the most interesting thing in the world to me right now.

Hey, I remember teaching myself how to play "Axel F" on synthesizer as a little kid. That was pretty sweet.
posted by speicus at 6:45 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was waiting for a post where I could provide the link to a toddler singing Magma. I think I've found it; but I reserve the right to post it in a more active thread.
posted by parilous at 5:56 AM on January 17, 2008


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