50 Years of P.D.Q. Bach, Page 5
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50 Years of Unusual Instruments

But the Hardart was not the only usual instrument that Prof. Schickele had to master in order to present the music of P.D.Q. Bach. He also became a virtuoso on the Windbreaker, a series of tuned mailing tubes with an extremely unusual tone quality, and the Slide Windbreaker, consisting of two nesting mailing tubes which allows playing a glissando (slide) from one note to the next without sacrificing any of the obnoxious tone quality.

 

On the first ever bus tour of P.D.Q. Bach music, (left to right) Prof. Schickele played the bicycle, Don Varella played bagpipes, and Eugenia Rich (two years before becoming internationally renowned flute virtuoso Eugenia Zuckerman) played balloons in P.D.Q. Bachís Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle, and Balloons.

   

The wine bottle part in Iphigenia in Brooklyn requires continually retuning the bottle to lower pitches as the piece proceeds, making the part staggeringly difficult.  Eine Kliene Kiddiemusik requires three toy players to play a whole tableful of toys including hitting themselves in the head with plastic tubes.

   

P.D.Q. Bachís Shepherd on the Rocks, With a Twist features the Lasso d'Amore, a hollow tube that you spin in the air to produce a musical pitch, and the Tromboon, a hybrid (thatís the nicer term) of a trombone and a bassoon, combining all of the disadvantages of both into one easy-to-schlep instrument.

 
 
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Photos on this page copyright William Walters except for bottom row by Amy L. Peterson (http://www.amylpeterson.com/).  Instrument descriptions partially based on information in The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach.

 

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