19 Nov 2013

George Maciunas: Piano Piece (1962) — an outrageous absurdist composition in 12 movements

(Referenced in Jon Henricks’ Fluxus Codex.) Instructions on how to perform all twelve movements of Piano Piece, the 1962 absurdist score by Lithuanian architect and graphic designer George Maciunas (then-leader of the avant garde collective Fluxus):

No. 1: Let piano movers carry piano into the stage

No. 2: Tune the piano

No. 3: Paint with orange paint patterns over piano

No. 4: With a straight stick the length of a keyboard, sound all keys together

No. 5: Place a dog or cat (or both) inside the piano and play Chopin (hell no!)

No. 6: Stretch three highest strings with tuning key until they burst

No. 7: Place one piano on top of one another (one can be smaller)

No. 8: Place piano upside down and put a vase with flowers over the sound box

No. 9: Draw a picture of the piano so that the audience can see the picture

No. 10: Write ‘piano composition no.10’ and show to the audience the sign

No. 11: Wash the piano, wax and polish it well

No. 12: Let piano movers carry piano out of the stage

Watch several of the movements, (including Carpenter’s Piece — No. 13, 1964, an ancillary composition in which performers hammer nails into piano keys) successively staged by artists and musicians in 1985 at Denmark’s Festival of Fantastics, below.

Let the racket begin