James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
Happy/Sad Songs Made Sad/Happy
Wednesday, February 01, 2017 - 11:49 AM
Generally tunes like “Radetzky March” have us ready to party, while others, such as Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” keep us on the verge of tears. There are a number of factors that go into the qualities that make certain sounds happy or sad, and it’s almost always a trip when you hear those ingredients scrambled up in familiar songs.
In two recent musical offerings, Brazilian pianist Fabricio André Bernard Di Paolo, also known as Vinheteiro, does just that. In a description of one of the videos, Vinheteiro explains his inspiration: ”I am a bipolar pianist. Sometimes I'm sad and depressive, but sometimes I'm happy. For this reason I decided to show you how I play the piano.” So get ready to hear some music you already know, but with that mood flipped and turned upside down.
We hear dour versions of familiar tunes like “Happy Birthday” and “Chopsticks,” but also get sunnier takes on the theme from Forrest Gump and Yiruma’s “River Flows in You.” According to his Facebook bio, Vinheteiro draws inspiration from, among others, Scott Joplin. It especially shows in his happy takes, with a striding left hand giving a particular jaunt and humor to the reflective mood of pieces like Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2.
And the other way around, sad-to-happy: