Getting the most out of 88 piano keys…

Inspiring M*U*S*I*C :   Hauschka

Beautiful music using ping pong balls, barbecue skewers and electrical tape?  Before I would have doubted, but I am now a believer.

In this incredible display of human creativity, German-born musician Hauschka creates an amazing layered sound by inserting objects like ping-pong balls, aluminum foil or leather in between the  strings or by attaching them to the hammers of his piano.

Hauschka (whose real name is Volker Bertelmann)  is an independent musician  who uses objects to “prepare”  his piano, in a style known as “prepared piano technique”.  This delightful tradition seemed quite revolutionary to me at first, but it actually dates back to  late 19th and early 20th century with French composer Erik Satie.

Take a listen to Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1, and you can hear where Hauschka got his inspiration.

Independent experimental musican Hauschka hails from Dusseldorf, Germany

To learn more about Hauschka, visit his official webpage here or a music biography at

Other Videos from the NPR sessions in October of 2010:

  • Hauschka at NPR:  Mount Hood 
  • Hauschka at NPR: Improvisation 
  • Hauschka at NPR: Deconstruction

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