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A New Mozart?
July 13, 2008 9:59 PM   Subscribe

5 Year Old Adopted South Korean Blind Piano Prodigy Yoo Ye-eun can play songs after hearing them once. Watch her perform with Britain's Got Talent's Connie Talbot in a South Korean TV show called "Star King".
posted by MythMaker (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
This is simply amazing coming from someone adopted.
posted by ageispolis at 10:13 PM on July 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Can I say that she's not that good? Is that allowed? It's a great story and all, but aren't there a lot of 5 year olds that can bang out a so-so fur elise?
posted by empath at 10:18 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Connie!

(although she was cuter minus her front teeth)
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:26 PM on July 13, 2008


she was cuter minus her front teeth

So was Paul Potts. Though the Cambodian people didn't seem to think so!

(Sorry. I'm going to hell. Does it help if I admit that watching the episode where he sings "Nessun Dorma" still makes me cry every time?)
posted by scody at 10:29 PM on July 13, 2008


Totally 'shopped.
posted by Jimbob at 10:51 PM on July 13, 2008


That kid has real talent. No question.
posted by Wolof at 11:08 PM on July 13, 2008


Mozart was composing at five. I'm just sayin'.
posted by longsleeves at 11:17 PM on July 13, 2008


"Can I say that she's not that good? Is that allowed?"

Of course it's allowed.

She's playing by ear. She's never looked at Mozart's notes on a printed page. She's also obviously capable of improvising (evident when she accompanies the female vocalist about halfway through the first YouTube Video link), so when you hear Fur Elise done "wrong," she's actually emoting. Diehard fans of Mozart would be offended by this, but five year old Yoo Ye Eun is improving upon the original work. Making it her own.

She's also got hands about a fifth smaller than the piano is intended, and she's playing the keys by TOUCH.

So sure. You can say she's not all that good. That's your opinion. Of course that's allowed. The fact you can critique her is alone a sign that she's better than your average five year old protege. She doesn't just regurgitate what she hears. She puts it through emotion filters. Whether she's good or not is a matter of opinion. She'll improve as she gets older. She's an artist of more than satisfactory caliber. That, at the age of five, is phenomenal.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:37 PM on July 13, 2008


but five year old Yoo Ye Eun is improving upon the original work. Making it her own.

That's not entirely correct.

One can adapt the work to "make it theirs," but whether such adaptation is an actual improvement or not is still up for debate. Or not, depending on who you ask.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:57 PM on July 13, 2008


I don't think Mozart wrote Für Elise.
posted by Wolof at 12:07 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


This brought me to tears.

I almost don't think it's real. Her finger work seems (given it's from clumsy blind toddler fingers) rather advanced for someone who hasn't had a lesson. And her ability to improvise and appropriately toned melody for someone singing is pretty astounding.

Prodigy, quite possibly. Her work now is not flawless but given the stage she's at now it's conceivable that in 10 years we'll be be hearing her name in the same sentence as Mozart.
posted by chemoboy at 12:23 AM on July 14, 2008


No matter how good she is, she could never be another Mozart because she isn't living in Vienna in the late 18th century. Also, most innovation in serious music is now computer based.
posted by leibniz at 12:51 AM on July 14, 2008


Also, most innovation in serious music is now computer based.

I'll agree that most 20th century / 21st century / contemporary orchestral music is a masturbatory crock of shit, but the idea that most innovation is now computer based suggests that the next real innovation will be from someone not using computers. I mean, we hear this so often, but the essentially infinite possibilities granted by being able to create whatever exact waveform you like often doesn't do much for creativity. Real creativity is so often born from the imposition of constraints, not complete freedom.

I was thinking this in the "dubstep" post the other day. Someone claimed that at least electronic music was going somewhere, while innovation in rock music died at least a decade ago or more. That might be true, but I listened to the dubstep, and I liked it, but I ended up thinking "Drum n Bass with some glitchy dub-influenced beats on top". There was nothing I hadn't heard before. And going to extremes (OMG subsonics!) is a sign of limitation, not genius.

Anyway, I think the girl played nice, but think she's got a future in jazz, not classical.
posted by Jimbob at 1:29 AM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Real creativity is so often born from the imposition of constraints, not complete freedom.

Jimbob, meet Oulipo.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:58 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think Mozart wrote Für Elise.

Nickelback wrote it.
posted by fire&wings at 2:18 AM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


WoLof: "I don't think Mozart wrote Für Elise."

Ouch. Für Elise was by Beethoven. I don't know what I was thinking before or why. Color me senile.

Agreed there's more of a future for her in jazz than classical, provided what she's doing is real. ChemoBoy has me rethinking that. Can someone who is more familiar with piano playing look at what she's doing and describe if that's actual playing or if it's possible they are tricking us? I mean this had me fooled for about ten seconds. I would imagine it would be possible to stage this little girl playing on a piano, and then later dub in all the voices and music in post production, if you were purposefully trying to trick people. The footage seemed legit but it was highly edited, and subtitled obviously for a YouTube audience. In a world of photoshop and lip synching, we can't take anything at face value anymore. Damn shame.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:27 AM on July 14, 2008


longsleeves: Mozart was composing at five. I'm just sayin'.
Cripes, I know! When she first started playing Fur Elise, my reaction was "Wow, that's awful!". So her hands are small- big deal! Her sense of rhythm is non-existent, and her mis-hits of keys are atrocious. Even with small hands and no eyesight, she'd not lack a sense rhythm the way she seems to in the clip I watched. Rhythm is one of those things you can't control- when you're feeling it, you can't even play outside the rhythm if you want to, your body won't let you.

And that "5-year-old genius Mozart" from the crazed Korean host; um... no. Apparently like you longsleeves, I share this pet peeve of the "Inappropriate comparison to Mozart". His first compositions were at age 3, in his sister's music notebook- this short stub is apparently the first thing he wrote. Here's a symphony he wrote at the ripe old age of 8, Movements 1, 2, and 3 (the third movement is a good first listen- only two minutes and showing what a real prodigy can conceive of at 8. Derivative, but nevertheless extraordinary).

Yeah- not the "next Mozart". Not even close. Heck, while searching on youtube, I happened to find this girl who is only a year older and yet seems infinitely better.
posted by hincandenza at 2:43 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


ZachsMind: The footage seemed legit but it was highly edited, and subtitled obviously for a YouTube audience. In a world of photoshop and lip synching, we can't take anything at face value anymore. Damn shame.
In the last video, at about the 6 minute mark, the host even addresses "our Youtube viewers", which seems odd for a televised show.

That said, the Connie Talbot appearance says to me this isn't faked- but it's not impressive. Her inability to hit more than 4 consecutive non-dissonant notes makes this less than impressive. Got some talent, a half-decent musical ear, but the vids linked don't scream out "prodigy" all that much. There are other 5-year-old prodigies that went onto to actual careers; if this girl has real talent, it'll show in time and we can appreciate it then- if it happens. Because right now, her playing is horrifically bad.
posted by hincandenza at 2:56 AM on July 14, 2008


Jimbob: Real creativity is so often born from the imposition of constraints, not complete freedom.

Stravinsky had the same idea. At the same time though, artists create their own constraints (hopefully meaningful ones). What's so exciting about computers is that they allow the world to become your sound palette. The possibilities would be limitless to someone with Mozart like genius.
posted by leibniz at 3:59 AM on July 14, 2008


I don't get it.

That clip wasn't pleasing to my not-so-classically trained ears. Granted, she's blind and five years old but her keying was tentative and off-beat. Plus, her nodding handler was there and the minidiva came back 'round to sing in her ear at the last moment. Someone email me when she's seven and playing in front of Barack Obama.

Why does reduction of the sensate make a bland performance amazing?
posted by bumbleintuit at 4:13 AM on July 14, 2008


Less cute blind muscial genius... Derek Paravicini
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:46 AM on July 14, 2008


Her inability to hit more than 4 consecutive non-dissonant notes makes this less than impressive.

To me, it makes it more impressive. It suggests she's not just playing by rote - she's listening and trying to find the sounds that fit. No-one has told her that you can't improvise to classical music, so she has a certain purity and innocence. That's why I think she should go for jazz. I'd love to hear her try Blue Rondue al a Turk.
posted by Jimbob at 5:33 AM on July 14, 2008


The whole "a new Mozart" framing of this post (and, to be fair, it came from the Korean TV programme) seemed to be a pretty polarising setup to be kicking on with. Of course she is not a new Mozart. But she has a wonderful ear, and her facility in getting around those big keys is impressive. The kid's a musician.

Blue Rondue al a Turk.
Blue Rondo à la Turk

Fairly pointless exercise in virtuosity in my view, but there you are. If I could actually play it on the piano I might think differently.
posted by Wolof at 5:50 AM on July 14, 2008


She's pretty good for a five-year-old, but hardly Mozart.
posted by Xany at 5:56 AM on July 14, 2008


That's pretty good, considering she's five and blind and wee tiny. She's not very talented, but I bet she will be someday if her parents don't burn her out on it with televised performances. Until then, Stevie Wonder's keeping the piano bench warm for her.
posted by katillathehun at 7:43 AM on July 14, 2008


I hate it when blind 5-year-olds can't play songs impeccably immediately after only hearing the song one time. Not talented at all.
posted by tiger yang at 8:23 AM on July 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


Can I say that she's not that good? Is that allowed? It's a great story and all, but aren't there a lot of 5 year olds that can bang out a so-so fur elise?

posted by empath


Reverse eponysterical!
posted by pazazygeek at 12:42 PM on July 14, 2008


Actually, doing a little research, the Koreans count age differently than we do. If they call her 5 years old, to an American, she is most likely 4 years old.

It's even more impressive for a 4 year old to be doing what she's doing.
posted by MythMaker at 1:55 PM on July 14, 2008


But does she never pick up her room and cook terribly? Will Chiaki ever kiss her dammit?
posted by rikschell at 5:32 PM on July 14, 2008


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