the truth about glissandos

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Who invented glissandos? I mean - really. Who did? Obviously, the brilliant musician knew nothing about the nail bed, fingertips, the speed of the human hand or the strength of skin. Just a warning of advice: if you ever have to practice a glissando, do it once.

I mean once.
Not twice.
Not thrice.
Not four times.  

Seriously, they should include a medical disclaimer at the end of each torturous piece: "We are not responsible for any injury not excluding the loss of nails, skin and fingertips. Please avoid using your fingers for the following procedure."

In a matter of one day, not only did I lose the skin on my poor fingers - but I was handicapped from playing anything because my fingers were so swollen they couldn't even make a fist.

I exaggerate, slightly.

And it's not as if  it's actually worth it. Maybe I'm just that horrible of a pianist, but glissandos sound like my cat walking across the keys. It is in no way close to those jazz pianists - whom I'm almost positively certain do not use their fingers for such a loud and dramatic sound.

Couldn't the musician just write in head bang? Your skull is way more protective than the skin on your fingertips...and the sound is so similar. :)


  1. I hate glissandos so much. Seriously. I just can't. Apparently you're supposed to do it with your knuckles, but it still sounds like my cat walking across the keys.

  2. I wonder if there's some kind of glissando thimble out there.

  3. Head bang? BAHA. Yes. I want to see you write a song and invent the head bang as a musical flourish.

    1. Well, Don Music (Sesame Street) has done the head bang several times--though his is more of a depths-of-despair thing than musical flourish.


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Maira Gall