The Dalhousie University Department of Music kicks off their inaugural Music and Culture lecture series (coinciding with the launch of the Music Department's MA program in musicology) with a healthy dose of seduction and suspense. Dr. David Schroeder presents his lecture, “Pianos in Hitchcock’s Films: Instruments of Seduction” on Friday, October 23 at 5pm in room 406 at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.
A member of the Dalhousie Music Department since 1981 (and University Research Professor), Dr. Schroeder explains his topic. “Not unlike stairways, pianos are privileged images in Hitchcock's films — both visually and aurally, and their use often relates to the historic view of the piano as a woman's instrument. This becomes especially interesting if seduction is involved, as happens in films such as The Ring, Notorious, and The Paradine Case.”
“The piano as a woman's instrument evolved in the 18th century, in part because the piano became a household furnishing late in the 18th century, and part of the finishing education of any young woman,” explains Schroeder. “At that time certain instruments were considered inappropriate for women to play, since decorum prevented women from such things as lifting their arms too high. The cello was completely out of the question.” As were, presumably, Gibson Flying V guitars. Thank god for modern times, right ladies? But even modern times haven’t dulled the power of gals and their hot, hot pianos. “Perhaps the recent film that better than any reveals the seductive power of the piano (and its player) is Jane Campion's The Piano. At one point Baines even disrobes and strokes the piano affectionately, as he will later do with Ada.” Va va voom! Get thee to Friday’s lecture and you may never look at a piano in the same way again.