In the early twentieth century, experimental Ukrainian pianist Leo Ornstein (1895-2002) was dubbed “Ornstein the Keyboard Terror”. Why?

Answer: Ornstein helped develop the brutal “cluster chord”, in which three adjacent notes on the piano were played at once by repeatedly slamming a fist into the keys. Despite the unpleasant sound, Ornstein became a sensation, with one crowd said to have “mobbed the lobbies [and] marched at intervals to the stage” to sight him.

Source: The Rest Is Noise – Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross

More at: History

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