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The Needle Piano



" Play the damn thing. "


A special piano used for entertainment purposes by Baxtor's grandparents - "talented" guests are asked to take a bet playing a selected composition, and if they make mistake - needle pricks the finger that hit wrong note and instrument produces a special sound announcing the mistake. Notes sheet, provided for "help", has mistakes and if person follows it, they fail the task.

Baxtor was one of few to win the game albeit he played very slowly – he has perfect pitch [1], which helped him figure out notes correctly. Albeit he played them slowly. However, piano doesn't count the time intervals and mechanism relies on notes order, thus yes, he technically won the bet, granting himself a way out of a "family" [2] event he was supposed to stay till the end if he lost.

 Notes and references: 

  • [1]. Absolute pitch, often called perfect pitch, is a rare ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone. AP can be demonstrated via linguistic labeling ("naming" a note), auditory imagery, or sensorimotor responses. For example, an AP possessor can accurately reproduce a heard tone on a musical instrument without "hunting" for the correct pitch.
    [2]. He could count real family members he knew by fingers of one hand - not "family" event at all. 

  • Real life needle piano.

  • Needle piano also serves as a long standing metaphor for things Baxtor doesn't want to do, but forced to - much like here he didn't want to take part in the game. 

  • As mentioned, Baxtor has perfect pitch, that was discovered and trained early, since his parents desperately wanted to discover a talent their child has bc it is "expected" that offspring of a rich dynasty should have one.  Oh, were they prematurely excited - absolute pitch doesn't mean one will be excellent musician, which is case for Baxtor. As kid he hated musical classes, but was forced to attend musical school regardless - parents were deaf to his complaints. Most commonly he struggled with music intervals and ability to improvise and adapt a melody for better sounding - basically, he perfectly knows and reproduces heard notes order, but plays them emotionless and at times choppy because he takes longer time to play the note. 
    After certain event parents gave up on the idea of looking for talent in their son and let him not finish music school. 

  • In bigger sense, "needle piano" metaphor is life: everyone in his family played needle piano and all, expect him, failed, because trick is not to follow note's sheet, but deviate from it based on own judgement.

Image size
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PrinceOfFire's avatar
Love the dark colours. Helps give a somber feel. I really like Baxtor's suit design as well. Very elegant and stylish.

I like the theme of this piece.