The Distractions of The Keyboard

The skeptical cardiologist has been trying to update a post from 2014 entitled “Dealing With the Cardiovascular Cards You’ve Been Dealt” but keeps getting distracted by various things musical.

I usually work on posts in my combo office/music studio while listening to music. Not infrequently, a song will play that compels me to wander over to my Yamaha CP-4 digital grand piano and play along.

Other distractions emerge from the computer as I use its keyboard to learn more details about a song or musical artists or search for piano transcriptions and guitar tabs.

Brilliant Lisitsa

Lately, I’ve realized that I can watch absolutely brilliant pianists playing live. This is obviously not a new thing but I’ve only just become aware that I can watch someone like Valentina Lisitsa playing the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata.

I had never heard of Lisitsa before I stumbled across this video. She is mesmerizing. Her long, arachnodactylic fingers dance wildly and she seems to be caressing rather than playing the keys. This particular video was posted in 2010 and has been viewed more than fifty million times.

Shelter In Place: Solo Piano Live

A post on my NextDoor app alerted me that jazz pianist Peter Martin has been live-streaming every Friday evening an hour of his excellent solo piano since the pandemic began.

I was unfamiliar with Martin but he apparently lives near me in University City and according to his website:

Peter Martin is an acclaimed jazz pianist, educator, and founder of Open Studio. Peter has performed and recorded on six continents with Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Betty Carter, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman as well as his own ensembles. He has recorded over 400 lessons, pioneering the field of online jazz education and was recently featured in theNew York Times for his ground breaking work.

I’ve been dabbling in jazz piano for the last 20 years and that New York Times article really has me considering taking one of his courses. Perhaps this one

If I take that course, however, I probably won’t have time to finish updating my post on the cardiovascular cards.

Organs that don’t pump blood

Last weekend I was planning on updating my posts on “Why I Recommend the Mediterranean diet” and became distracted by this video of the Beatles playing live in 1965.

The second song The Beatles play is “I’m Down”: Lennon moves to play keyboard on a Vox Continental which I have primarily associated with Ray Manzarek and The Doors.

The Vox Continental was featured on some of my favorite songs from the sixties including The Animals “House of the Rising Sun”, the Doors “Soul Kitchen” ? and the Mysterians “96 tears” and Iron Butterly’s “In-a-gadda-da-vida”

At 4:28 of the recording, he launches into a frenzied Jerry Lee Lewis type solo complete with elbow glissandos. I had only considered Lennon a guitarist and harmonica player prior to viewing this but he does a decent job accompanying McCarney’s Little Richard vocal efforts.

The levels of keyboard distraction can very quickly mount. Perhaps you’d like to learn more about how Jerry Lee Lewis played his left-hand boogie-woogie riffs (a loose wrist is absolutely essential!) or his signature right-hand glissandos (be sure to use your fingernail and not your cuticle to avoid injury?) Perhaps you’d like to learn more about glissandos? I know I would.

The update on the Mediterranean diet has not happened. Actually, after spending several hours reviewing all the recent literature I found very little to add to my 2014 article.

I do have some worthwhile updates to the Cardiovascular Cards article which I hope to get to right after I perfect my elbow Lee Lewis glissando.

Agitatoly Yours,



9 thoughts on “The Distractions of The Keyboard”

  1. Memories, oh memories. I have zero musical talent when its comes to playing instruments but I have a very high music listening IQ and I love this post. I fell in love with my first teenage girlfriend under the spell of the Beatles. This is much more interesting than a post on the Mediterranean diet. If I want to study that, we just head to our home south of Athens in Greece. And there’s nobody that loves music more than the Greeks!

  2. Just was hipped last night by a FB musician friend to the incredibly talented and wickedly funny Larry Goldings. Maybe I’m the only person who hadn’t heard of this guy–really entertaining–as both himself, and as his alter-egos Hans Groiner and Johnny Bowtie Barstow.

  3. That’s exactly what I am doing while I read you post … listing to Jazz piano (Carla Bley “Life Goes On”, Keith Jarrett “God Bless the Child”, etc.). Good for the heart, don’t you think? Streaming off Tidal MQA opens the door to music I have not discovered.


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