page turners



We thank the many of you who sent in very knowledgable-sounding feedback upon last week’s topic of pianists’ page-turners. As well as some very informative comments about the system, our inbox has received so many emails that it was difficult to choose which to present to you here; but we ended up choosing this one from Cassandra because she sounds so cheerful:

Greetings!! I am parked outside the Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia listening to your episode on page turners for pianists and orchestras. I was so excited I knew the answer I had to hold off on buying cherry cheesecake until I could answer it.

I can help!! I am a violinist and in an orchestra the string players are always grouped by twos: two musicians to a music stand where they share the music.

When it comes to the point of the page turn, it is the “inside player” who does the page turning. This means that the musician who is closet to the audience/edge of stage always continues playing while the inside person pauses for a few seconds, flips the page, and then continues playing. This ensures no break in the music. It is essentially universal, this method.

However, I teach high school orchestra students and there is usually a pretty lengthy “debate” on who has to turn pages, meaning “I am a senior and you are a freshman and I don’t care that you are the outside, you are turning my pages, blah blah blah.” It’s amusing to listen to and then correct them that no, you really do need to turn the pages for the freshman since you are on the inside.

BTW – my younger sister has turned pages for a pianist before, harder than it looks as you have to turn them EXACTLY when they indicate and you have to be able to read music (she played piano herself), or they swear at you under their breath 😉

Now I need cheesecake.

You go get that cheesecake, Cassandra! Thanks for the information. And thanks also to Adam for suggesting something to watch whilst gobbling the cheesecake:

Did you ever watch The Page Turner? It was a very boring movie about some lesbian pageturner who started an affair with a pianist wife of a family.

I didn’t; and now you’ve told me what happens, and that it’s very boring, I will continue to not watch it.

If any of the rest of you are tempted, however…


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One Response to “page turners”

  1. Joe in Seattle Says:

    “It was a very boring movie about some lesbian pageturner who started an affair with a pianist wife of a family.”

    I grew up in Ohio, on the other side of the mountains from Viriginia, but I still don’t understand how a pianist could be the wife of an entire family.

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