Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dear Soloists: A Poem

I came across this lovely poem the other day on People for the Ethical Treatment of Accompanists. Pauline Arnold is apparently still active as a pianist, even into her 80's. Here is the poem in full:

Dear Soloists

If I showed you a new solo
Fit for champions to play
And said “They’re going to judge it now
So start without delay!”
Would you feel disadvantaged?
Would your knees begin to knock?
Would your dried-up mouth and beating heart
Recover from the shock?
The piano would be PERFECT,
I’d have practised it for weeks,
And I could sit there laughing
At your ineffective squeaks!!
Have any of you ever thought
How pleasant it would be
To send all music in advance
For pianists to see?
Of fixing plain white paper
Over all omitted bars –
Instead of scribbled messages
And multi-coloured stars?
Your solo has been written
With two instruments in mind,
And just like all ensemble work
One cannot lag behind.
So smarten up your attitude
And think this problem through.
The pianist could possibly
Be just as good as you!

--Pauline Arnold, Orange, NSW, Australia

(Thanks, Gabriel!)

More accompanist poetry on the Collaborative Piano Blog:

Dick Allen's Accompanist Poem
Arni Ibsen's Acccompanist Poem
Accompanist for Florence Foster Jenkins, a Poem by Darren Morris
Ken Weisner's Accompanist Poem
The Accompanist: A Poem by William Matthews


  1. Beautiful. Where did you find this, Chris?

  2. Gretchen, I found it on a discussion board from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Accompanists Facebook Group. You should join - the community has lots of wit, wisdom, and horror stories to share.