Life According to Piano

My 3 Hands

Just to forestall any confusion:

  • I’m playing piano with two hands now; in fact I’ve returned to my daily practice of the pieces I keep in my “ready repertory.” Yay!
  • I don’t actually have three hands with which to play piano. I don’t have three hands at all. My surgeon was fab-u-lous, but not a miracle worker. Or: he is a miracle worker (that’s pretty much how I feel about where I am compared to where I might have been after the break), but he didn’t lose his mind and attach a whole extra arm. (Can you imagine the copay on that?)


Anyway, three-handed piano music has been in my repertory for years. This is the story of how that happened.

I remembered this incident because I’m currently attempting to notate What the Stars Saw on the Prairie (thanks for the nudge, Jason!). 

What the Stars Saw on the Prairie is the linchpin of the CD A Handfull of Quietness. (That story is here.) It has a section in the middle where there is a lot going on. (This is the challenging part to notate.) Really, a lot. Not too much, but a lot.

Some number of eons ago, back in the last millenium (I just love saying that) when I felt ready to record the CD, I had a friend who was wanting to be in the record business. He had been talking with a record producer in Austin, Texas, about starting their own label. Charlie liked my music a lot, and he flew me down to Texas to “put down tracks” for the producer.

The day we went into the studio, Charlie, the producer and his wife, and I think maybe another recording engineer were all assembled to hear my music. The studio layout had a window through which, if the piano lid was down, I’d be able to see them all, and they’d be able to see me. But of course, the piano lid was up.

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