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The freedom of the new bell cracks the pandemic

A few months ago Fedor Veselov interpreted the piece Free Down, by Laia Guilanyà Jané, as a song of freedom in the midst of the pandemic, whose victims are still looking for means to express ourselves.

"Music always has something vindictive," Laia tells me, when I interview her, "especially if you are a female composer." Laia Guilanyà entered the Musical Innovators project through composer David Llorens and Guillaumes as a result of Sergey Gogolev's desire to find female composers. Unfortunately, they are still a minority today.

"My piano teachers never told me about any female composer; everyone knows Beethoven, the typical ones, but few people know Clara Schumann". It is therefore difficult to separate music from vindication, in the sense of the gender question and of a set of social patterns that must be broken.

Acoustic pianos are often limited to everything we've already heard about them; a certain style of pieces, the same "well-tuned" sound. What Laia liked about the ACOUHIB project is that it breaks with it. The search for a new bell shows that the piano still has many possibilities to offer us, that it is a living and explorable harmonic universe. And that draws the attention of both composers from here and international musicians who are already planning to spread the project around the world.

"I could not find a single word to define the sound of this bell -says Guilanyà Jané -. Perhaps the surprise, the exoticism of something new and that you like a lot, explosive and liberating".

Free Down talks about liberation and what we have to free ourselves from. Laia was commissioned to compose a piece for hybrid piano more than a year after the start of the pandemic, and she unloaded in the piece the feeling collected from the intense and vibrant environment that was drowning us.

"I am a piano teacher, and we talk about many things with the students. We have to talk about life so that they can express themselves through interpretation. This has shown me the harm that the pandemic has done to them. A generalized depressive state has spread, especially among young people, about which little is said and about which much more should be said. "

Free Down, fruit of the pandemic era, gives voice to this depression through moments of musical tension that are always associated with the hybrid bell. These episodes are repeated and show the difficulty of getting out of discomfort, the anguish of this unavoidable cycle.

However, they alternate with fragments of release of tension, which correspond to the return to the sonority of the piano that we all know. It is a game of harmonic and technical meaning that works within the very heart of music to give language to the essentially human pain and hope that are often so difficult to express.

"It's not that the hybrid sound makes me think about depression," Laia clarifies, "but it does offer a great way to express it." Laia Guilanyà, who often composes for video games and soundtracks, has used the bell to illustrate the depression that we must talk more, to transmit a message of liberation. Before the word "down" (descent), we do not have "break" (break) but "free" (freedom). The freedom to talk about depression and free ourselves from it, breaking with pre-established structures, stereotyped speeches, or too familiar and repeated harmonies and bells.

"I would like, as a pianist, to play more pieces with the hybrid piano, and compose many more as a composer. I think the idea opens up many possibilities that are necessary in the world of music." The musical universe needs the liveliness and freedom that art expresses better than any other media

Sometimes, humbly, brilliantly, hope comes with the sound of a new bell to give voice to everything that a stagnant routine keeps silent; the voice of freedom.

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