A New Language for the Piano

Transcendental Music that will carry you away îon an immaculate journey ... where the protons and electrons of the mind will sparkle and come alive !î ... îit's unlike anything heard before! î

Lubomyr Melnyk ñ one of the truly great innovators of the piano --- an explorer whose remarkable technical capacities and his poetic mastery has enthralled audiences wherever he plays ! His solo piano work is truly astounding .... when he combines this into 2 pianos, the result is purely mind-splitting !

î-- probably the most unique piano music of the 20 th century ... demanding a new and stupendous mental/physical technique! î

îOne of the truly great experiences of life, where the soul seemed to transcend into an experience close to what the mystics described .... it is beautiful music, magnificently played ...î

Dean of the School of Music, Loyola University

His artistry at the piano has introduced an exciting new voice for the instrument ñ îContinuous Musicî --- as one critic put it î the piano was always meant to sound this way î ( Edward Bond of theKingston Whig-Standard ).
The evocative beauty of his music has amazed audiences wherever he has performed. His music has been described by critics as îthe play of atoms bouncing around at supersonic speeds!î ---- and indeed, Melnyk's technique in performing these works is simply amazing! He is regarded as THE fastest pianist in the world ---- able to sustain speeds of over 19 notes per second in each hand simultaneously !  

LUBOMYR MELNYK is one of the most innovative and fascinating pianists/composers of this century. During the 1970's he developed a totally new îlanguageî for the piano, called Continuous Music, and with it, a stupendous physical and mental technique that is totally unprecedented in the history of the piano.
Using thi remarkable technique, ,Lubomyr Melnyk has set 2 world records for pianistic achievements:

  1. the FASTEST pianist in the world --- sustaining speeds of over 19.5 notes per second in each hand, simultaneously, and
  2. the MOST NUMBER of NOTES in ONE HOUR --- in exactly 60 minutes, Melnyk sustained an average speed of over 13 notes per second in each hand, yielding a remarkable total of 93,650 INDIVIDUAL notes.
  3. This music has indeed given the piano a fresh new voice: never before has the piano shown such a brilliant face and such a beautifully tender îsingingî voice! --- creating a richly flowered landscape of overtones!
    Lubomyr's artistry at the piano has in fact introduced a totally new dimension to the instrument --- as one critic put it î the piano was always meant to sound this way î ( Edward Bond of the Kingston Whig-Standard ).
    Lubomyr Melnyk has shown a remarkable and religious devotion to the piano, always striving to discover new horizons in the physical process of playing the instrument. ñ and as a result, he has carried the art of the piano to unknown and uncharted territories ... where the mental and physical activities of the piano become blended in a meditative and metaphysical dimension!
    Without regard for fame or fortune, he has steadfastly devoted his life to the pursuit of pianistic love and excellence, which in turn have created these marvellously magical and never-before experienced landscapes.
    Once, asked about îfame and fortuneî, Melnyk replied : îWho needs money, when every piano is your friend?î
    And indeed, love for the piano seems to be a very important part of this music --- and the piano responds ! People have often said that, during live performances, they heard trumpets, horns, entire string orchestras emanating from the piano ... for Melnyk's music turns the piano into a veritable orchestra of sound. (Unfortunately, this extraordinary sound experience is lost in the digital processing, since the overtones no longer can live freely in their high dimensions, but are, as Melnyk puts it, îplucked out like random feathers off a chicken, leaving the once so beautifully feathered surface, splotched and scabbed with tiny soresî. (see more about this problem in îSounds ën Thingsî)

    But what exactly IS îCONTINUOUS MUSICî ???
    Melnyk's Continuous Music is based on the principle of a îcontinuousî and unbroken line of sound from the piano --- this is created by generating a constant flow of rapid (at times EXTREMELY rapid) notes, usually with the pedal sustained non-stop. The notes can be either in the form of patterns or as broken chords that are spread over the keyboard. To accomplish this requires a special technique, one that usually takes years to master --- this technique is the very basis of the meditative and îmetaphysicalî aspects within the music and the art of the piano.
    Moreover, in his earlier works, Melnyk devoted much attention to the overtones which the piano generates, but in his more recent works, Melnyk has become more and more involved with the melodic potential of this music.
    Melnyk's earlier music was generally classified as îMinimalismî, although Melnyk strongly refutes that term, preferring to call his music îMAXIMALismî, since the player has to generate so many, many notes to create these îFourth Dimensions of Soundî.
    Because his piano music is so difficult and requires a dedicated îre-learningî of the instrument, no other pianists in the world (so far) have tackled his larger works --- and so, his recordings are truly collector's items (both as LP-s and CD-s).
    He has however recorded extensively for the CBC in Canada, as well as various European stations. He has performed and given lecture-recitals across Canada and in Europe.
    From 1979-1987, Bandura Records released several LP albums of Melnyk' s works ... two of which were among the list of îmodern recordings you shouldn't be without î by The Village Voice.  

    This music will take the listener ñ and the pianist ñ on a journey through mysterious landscapes in a limitless world !

    LUBOMYR developed this music during the mid-1970's where he worked with the dancer and choreographer CAROLYN CARLSON at the Paris Opera. It was there that he devoted his life to creating what he called îa pure and solid space of chordal timeî.
    From these beginnings, the music grew into a new discipline, and a total involvement in the meta-physical character of piano playing, and with it, a new and special technique.

    ... îMusic that will set the Pianist free ! ....î

    The world has been introduced, through LUBOMYR, to a fantastic new language for the piano, called CONTINUOUS MUSIC .
    Finding the contemporary classical music of the time to be far too theatrical and înightmarishî, he began creating a new sort of music and technique, by projecting pure chordal sounds through time, by maintaining an unbroken stream of tones that build a chain of patterned links, seamless and effervescent .... an idea inspired from the music of Terry Riley and Steve Reich --- who had, in turn, been inspired by the Gamelan music of Bali.
    This required a new and very specialized technique for the piano -- where the 2 hands became independent entities that could sustain incongruous note-patterns --- where the Left and Right side create various îcurrentsî that combine into one beautiful îriverî of sound -- perfectly balanced on the Apex of the triangular Apportment, with its Left point, its Right point, and the Central Motor of the îThird Eyeî.
    This highly specialised piano technique entailed totally new physical AND mental capacities --- and it took many, many years until LUBOMYR could accomplish the wonderful effects that, in the earlier stages, had started out with such difficulty. It further required input from other physical and spiritual techniques, such as martial Tai Chi.


    Top of page  Home  Recordings   Listen   Piano technique  Music courses  Sounds nThings  Contact