From the archives. This week's contestant is Bob Lagerquist from Eugene, Oregon. This was one of those puzzlers where I was sure I knew the hidden song, but couldn't quite get it. And then, about halfway through I got closer...and then I got it. I think my problem was that at first it sounded like another song, and when that happens it's hard to get the song out of your head. As for the composer style, I couldn't get it. Knowing the answer now, I understand it, but it's not part of the composer's style I'm most familiar with.
From the archives. This week's contestant is Brandon Baxter from Hastings, Nebraska, To my surprise, I got the composer style first and pretty quickly -- surprising particularly because it's one of the genres I'm not especially adept at and also there are several composers who overlap for me. I could hear the hidden song, but just couldn't get it...but then about a minute it, I did. What surprised me most of all, though, is not so much that the contestant couldn't get the hidden song, but host Fred Child -- who's usually so good at helping out with that -- not only didn't guess it on the first go-round, but didn't either when Bruce Adolphe played it a second time. Only until Adolphe played it straight through without any composer style getting in the way did Child finally hear it. And the song is a pretty famous standard from The Great American Songbook. There's also a whimsical clue in the hidden song which helped make me sure I was right in my guess.
From the archives. This week's contestant is Kevin Shaw from Charlotte, North Carolina. I was pretty sure that I had the hidden song -- but I didn't. There were quite a few passages that overlap, but alas not enough. Which is why I was wrong. And the composer style is one that just isn't in my ballpark -- though my guess was the same as the contestant's, and he was told that he was close. But close or not, I don't think it's one I could likely have done. So, in the end, I was 0-for 2... But that means there's nowhere to go but up!!
From the archives. This week's contestant is Caroline Cassil from Sutherlin, Oregon. If you don't get the composer style within three seconds (and the specific piece it's based on), you're not trying. The hidden song is tougher. Until halfway through, when a passage leaps out. But they're very well interwoven, so you have to catch the passage. There's also a wonderful musical joke between the classical piece and the hidden tune.
From the archives. This week's contestants are Nancy Parton and Ron Morebello from San Diego, California. At least I got the composer style, but didn't have a clue on the hidden song -- which is really deeply hidden. I was even listening in the right place for it, but couldn't hear it. I even listening closely when pianist Bruce Adolph said where to listen, and I had been listening there, and he slowed to down to be more clear. Zero idea. Even when he gave the answer and I listened again, I had a hard time picking it out. But...it's guessable, because the contestants got it on the second time around. Not me...
From the archives. The contestant for this week's Piano Puzzler is Genevieve Wilde from Quakertown, Pennsylvania. I could hear the tune, and almost clearly, but just couldn't get it. It's definitely known, and I got it later when pianist Bruce Adolphe brought the music out more, but it was tough, even though known and clear. The composer style seemed to be from an era that I overlap a lot of people, so I took a guess. I was surprised that I was somewhat close, but didn't get that either.
From the archives. This week's contestant is William Beyer from Des Moines, Iowa. The hidden song is extremely easy, and most people should not only get it, but get it quickly. The composer style though is one of those where I can throw a dart among several people and hope for the best. In fact, the contestant, who from his analysis of musical styles was clearly very knowledge, and he had a great deal of difficulty, though eventually got it (albeit it with a few descriptive clues). So, I took a total guess to the one I thought it might be closest to -- and was wrong.
From the archive. This week's contestant is Mike Freiberg from Golden Valley, Minnesota. The hidden song is extremely easy, and most people I think will get it about five seconds in, after a very sleight introduction. And it's obvious throughout, not especially hidden. As for the composer style, I had a pretty definitive guess early on and was right. So -- I got both, huzzah. I think most have a good chance, as well.
From the archives. This week's contestant is Mike Ryan in Americus, Georgia. The hidden song is very easy -- I got it in about five notes. But I really didn't have an idea with the composer style. Towards the end, only one thought came to mind, though it didn't seem to fit with the first part, but it was the only guess I could make. And was right! Huzzah.
From the archives. This week's contestant is Richard Baum from Houston, Texas. On the positive side, I was able to get the composer style. On the other side of the coin, I had trouble with the hidden song, and I think most people will. However, I'm almost ready to give myself a win on it, or at the very least bonus points. I guessed the composer of the hidden song, and even had a strong feeling of what it's from (and was right) -- and though I couldn't think of the song's proper name, my thought was, "It sort of sounds like that song whose title is something like..." And that's what it was.
It's not a totally unknown song -- and the composer is renowned, and so is the encompassing work. But this isn't one of the better-known tunes.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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