Listen to the Musical Stylings of a Toy Piano Virtuoso

Virtuoso Margaret Leng Tan is well-known and widely regarded for her unconventional music stylings—and for her unusual medium.

“I'm the first woman to graduate with a doctorate from Juilliard and now I play the toy piano. Life works in mysterious ways,” Tan says in the video interview above from Great Big Story.

Tan even performs concerts using the tiny instruments of your childhood. By her own account, she’s transformed the toy piano into a real instrument and managed to win over the skeptics in the process.

“It’s a bit like going down the rabbit hole and taking your audience with you, way back down this avenue to your childhood days,” she says.

As for exactly how one becomes a toy piano master? Practice, practice, practice "every bit as hard as you would on a real piano," she adds.

Check out more of Margaret Leng Tan’s music on Spotify and watch her performances on YouTube.

Banner image via YouTube.

[h/t Kottke]

Original image
The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
Original image

The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

Original image
Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
Original image

Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:


More from mental floss studios