Archive for August, 2017


Further evidence that the Rubicon has been crossed: Chopin’s two piano concerti have appeared more than once in these Pitch Imperfect reflections. I realise that they have become a kind of benchmark of the aural change I am undergoing. Thus when I switched on FMR on the long trip from Tygerberg hospital back to my base at New Somerset Hospital and I recognised that the 2nd of Chopin’s concerti was being played, I listened with interest. It was clear that first movement which was already underway was a semitone up i.e. F sharp minor. And consistently for the rest of the work we were in the higher key. Even the final F major section was in F Sharp major. I could ‘see’ the pianist’s fingers on the black keys of the piano.

So I think I am now benchmarked a semitone up.

Tonight we go to a CPO concert. What proportion of the music will be in the wrong key?

Crossing the Rubicon

I have to acknowledge that I have reached the point in my pitch imperfection at which I hear more music a semitone higher than played and written than I hear on pitch and in key. I have a CD set of Liszt’s piano transcriptions of Beethoven’s symphonies which I have been listening to on my car commutes. When the 1st Symphony sounded in D flat major after a few seconds and the 2nd symphony was up a semitone from the D major first chord, I knew that the Rubicon had been crossed. A few keys hold out consistently – A minor and F major in the vanguard – but in general the musical world has moved up a degree. I had better adjust my emotional response to the ‘new music’.

Return top