September 24th, 2005


Today I failed to visit a school or buy a piano but designed an imaginary place

Today it was "open doors day" in Scotland, where you could visit buildings not otherwise open to the public. I wanted to visit George Heriott's School or Fettes College (two grand, austere, private school buildings in Edinburgh) but completely failed to get up and out of the house until about 2PM, so I couldn't visit them. Ah, well, no loss...

When I did get out I went to Blackwell's to buy stationery, so I could design the imaginary place. More of this later. I then went to Sound Control in the Grassmarket and tried out at length various digital piano keyboards. These vary enormously in how the rack of electro-mechanical switches is built. Cheap ones, like my m-audio 49e, have basically unweighted, spring-loaded keys with some kind of direct impact switch. They work, but feel plasticky, kind of dead, and not much like a piano. More importantly, its very hard to control the velocity (how hard you strike the notes) so it's almost impossible to play softly on them. Proper digital pianos have weighted keys of similar internal length and inertia as a real piano, and the switch is struck indirectly with a hammer-like device. They feel much more inspiring and even someone with my novice skill level can play at the proper strength. They even have a nice felt strip to cushion the return, which makes a little *thud* sound. Very, very nice. So after trying several, including the outstanding and stupidly expensive Korg Triton Extreme, I set my eyes on the Korg SP-300. But I only decided this around closing time and anyway they were out of stock :-( No instant gratification for me...

But! I successfully designed my first imaginary place, not just in my head but on paper, with pencil drawings. I feel pleased with myself! It came out much as I wanted, and I think there's a good chance the imaginary users of the building will like it. Now I need to find a place with a flatbed scanner and figure out how to install the imaginary place in its imaginary setting. Me happy!
  • Current Music
    Pink Floyd - Shine On You Crazy Diamond (at The Forest)