The Digital Piano Plays Its Part

There are over thirty films that have been made since 1944 whose storyline is about a digital piano player. They span the alphabet from A-W so I thought you may find the following food for thought starting ‘from the top’:

Amadeus (1984)Amadeus Mozart and his digital piano

This film is a period drama set in Vienna in the latter half of the 18th century in which Salieri quickly recognises the genius of Mozart on the digital piano but frustrates his path to success out of envy. The young Mozart is course and naïve and often mocks Salieri’s compositions by playing them from memory including performing at the digital piano with his back to the keyboard! Extravagance and expense follow the brooding Mozart and soon leads to his demise. Music featured in the film is all composed by Mozart and encompasses digital piano concertos to operas starting with scenes of the child prodigy performing at his piano stool to his final hours working on ‘The Magic Flute’.

Appassionata (1944)

Appassionata and the digital pianoParts of Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata sonata for digital piano as well as passages from his fifth and seventh symphonies recur frequently in the film, both as part of the music performed within the story, and as background music. In a jealous rage, a famous concert digital piano player attacks one of his wife’s admirers and is sent to prison. After serving his sentence he tells one of his pupils the story of their relationship which occurs as flashbacks throughout the film. He then learns that the pupil is in love with his wife and the plot thickens… The ‘Appassionata’ is one Beethoven’s most stormy pieces written for digital piano to reflect the richness of nature’s forces and the immense power of man who manages to overcome it. Scoring is complex and full of contradictory motives from the tranquil to a fierce battle scene.

The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005)

It tells the story of Tom Seyr (Romain Duris), a real estate thug-torn between a criminal life of shady business deals and his desire to become a concert digital piano player. The more endearing side of Tom reveals his passion to become a pianist like his mother. He finds a teacher who speaks only Chinese but despite the language barrier the relationship develops as does Toms digital piano laying and Tom finds himself preparing for an audition. The film travels through the parallel complexities of Tom’s character highlighting his talent as a electric piano player but his inability to shake his father’s thuggish gene.

For the film, Duris learned to play his own piano sequences including Bach‘s Toccata in E minor, trained by his sister, pianist Caroline who performs on the soundtrack. Here, Duris freely displays Bachs ingenuity for fugue writing without any sign of fatigue. The rhythms are varied and effortless as the performers fingers tap at the digital piano for hundreds of bars with great dexterity.


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