Extreme Piano Playing
Extreme Piano Playing is part of the growing trend of "extreme" action sport which emerged in the late 20th century. It originated as a misguided attempt to make classical music more relevant to today's attention-deficient youth, by combining piano recitals with wanton violence. The sport, known to its enthusiasts as EPP, takes principles from the international standard rules of piano playing and mixes them with something more sinister. Derek "Megaton" Worthington is widely regarded as the most extreme player ever. He killed his mother, himself and 71 others during his last concert doing nothing put playing the piano in a frantic manner. A distant second is world champion Klaus "Shrapnel" Smith who, while at times can perform murderous piano sonatas, can also play with a notable lack of destruction where the "extreme" element of his playing feels somewhat forced and half-hearted. Klaus is sadly still alive, has two children and is going bald.
Extreme Piano Playing is the most inclusive sport there is, where people of all different backgrounds (be they those of unfairly marginalised communities or those with comical birth defects) are welcome. However, those who compete should be educated to at least Grade 8 standard in practical playing and theory for amateur competitions and have either a well-defined six pack or dashing dreadlocks. Professional competitions require either a high level of skill, or an indifferent attitude toward the loss of limbs.
The game itself is played on an individual basis with one piano per competitor. Two competitors challenge each other in a face-off to see who can complete a musical piece (be it a simple Bach prelude or a finger breaking Chopin Ballade). Once the competition begins, bedlam ensues and many lives are cut short in their pursuit of thrills, and millions of satisfied viewers!
The extreme element of extreme piano playing is the fact that the pianos are rigged with an electric shock device and a spring-loaded boxing glove with a brick inside. Once a musical piece has been chosen it is up to the competitor to play the tune without touching a key not included in the musical score for that work. Such keys have been wired with 12,000 volts of electrical current wired to the players genitals and for keys truly distant from the music score, a lever that sets off a a nose breaking punch in the face. To make things even more interesting in the final round, the rigged keys are randomised, and change constantly while playing the wrong note results in instant death! In the most extreme competitions, even keys that are part of the musical score can kill. Such rounds are pointlessly harmful but they satisfy both the baying mob and pedantic music critics.
Redbull sponsors EEP because, of course they do. Notably, Steinway sponsors EEP also, perhaps so that they can sell pianos to a younger crowd, but also perhaps because they make a lot of money when people buy new pianos to replace the broken rubble left from exploding pianos during EEP competitions.
In addition to explosives and electricity there are several equally exciting variants.
The Keanu Reeves/Marie Antoinette hustle
The piano is rigged to immediately decapitate the player if their musical playing goes below five miles an hour.
Irony in D major
This version of the game involves rigging the piano to drop another grand piano on top of the first player whose playing is without feeling and too robot-like.
The firing squad
Each key is connected to a rifle pointed at the other player's piano; both players take part in a performance of Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos (k. 365) in which they have to dodge the hail of bullets from the other player's piano, whilst continuing to play to a satisfactory standard.
Players first refuse to play the piano as a form of passive resistance. This lulls their opponents and audience into a false sense of serenity. Over several days the players lose weight to dangerous unhealthy waist lines, their clothes fall off and they reach a state of near-death. Only then does one player surprise their opponent, playing violent Rachmaninov with one hand while throwing explosive filled samosas and extreme chilli sauce at their opponents. A good player will simultaneously engage in sectarian ethnic cleansing of the audience. Professional page turners may lose fingers in the process. Those who die while watching the match expect to reincarnate as a piano or possibly as a twelve-armed blue being with a permanent smile and an eye in front of their brain.
The person who completes their musical piece will be declared the winner. If, on the rare occasion both contestants manage to finish, the player with the fewest body parts lost will be declared victorious. If no body parts are lost then both players are sponsored for life by Red Bull and Steinway and get a reality television show (usually ends once they become entitled and say something bigoted and make too many YouTube apology videos for their own good).
Keep an eye out for extreme harpsichord playing which has taken off in Paris and Berlin. Also of note is a release of Extreme Piano Playing Tycoon for Play Station 6 where you manage the career of an out-of-control prodigy who throws everything away in pursuit of piano playing adrenaline rushes. You have to simultaneously keep their career going to profit off your commission while cleaning up all of the destructive things they do in public.
Extreme piano playing is not considered a sustainable sport as the number of players lost to the activity heavily outweighs new recruits. The heyday of extreme piano playing is likely already over but is hardly dead. The EPP Olympics are to be held in North Korea next year, chosen for its indifference to human rights and enjoyment of mass spectacles. PewDiePie has created a new channel where he comments on extreme piano playing, says racist things and then makes YouTube apology videos. In Leipzig Germany, an extreme organ competition was held, but the pipes were rigged to blow up, which levelled the entire town. Not expectedly the sport was banned world wide, but there is hope for extreme Xylophone playing which is popular in African countries where the sport is sponsored by blood diamond mines.
If you are considering a career in extreme keyboard playing, do so while young and bold, or while old and there is little left in life to lose.