On Tour with Narrow Keys
Updated: Aug 2, 2022
I just finished a 2-piano concert tour with my sister, Sue Gould, and it was the best playing experience of my life! We played eleven 50-minute concerts in six days. We called it Brahms to Queen and it included a variety of classical, jazz plus an arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Why was it the best experience? Because, for the first time, I toured with my narrow key digital piano.
Sue and I have played these tours before (on regular sized pianos) and by the end of the tour I am exhausted, and my pieces have degraded slightly. Sue has no problem playing on regular sized keys. We are the same height (5’9”) but we have quite different hand spans. She can reach a 10th and I can barely reach an octave. This makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the playing experience.
On this tour, because I had narrow keys and could also reach a 10th, I did not need to do any workarounds for the Brahms or the Gershwin or any of the pieces. I could play ALL THE NOTES in control, musically and with ease. By the end of the week, I felt invigorated, and the pieces were both technically and musically in control. What a difference from previous years! Sue commented she had never heard me play with such confidence (how often do you get a compliment from a sibling 😊)
We toured community centers in the Kootenays in SE British Colombia, Canada and this was our program:
Octavio Pinto Scenas Infantis (3 selections)
Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn (selections)
Grieg Norwegian Dances #2 and #4
Gershwin Preludes for Two Pianos
Star Wars – Cantina Band, Princess Leia’s Theme and Theme from Star Wars
We did this eleven times in 6 days!
One of the biggest reasons that the narrow key concept is taking so looooong to be adapted, is that piano players don’t take their instruments with them. We must play on whatever is there. In today’s increasing digital world, that is becoming less the norm. Many pianists travel with their digital keyboard to gigs, weddings, and concerts and having a narrow key digital has opened new possibilities for us.
Oh, and did I mention it only weights 25lbs? (Sue was jealous about that!)