This ingenious ‘typewriter concerto’ is a masterpiece of musical comedy

14 August 2020, 18:43 | Updated: 19 March 2021, 09:33

Typewriter concerto
Typewriter concerto. Picture: Voces para la Paz

By Kyle Macdonald

Concerto for orchestra and typewriter? Leroy Anderson’s 1950 classic is musical (and comedy) gold.

In 2020 lockdown, we’ve all been away from the office and busy cafes, and instead, typing in solitary homes. But how about taking your keyboard in front of an orchestra?

Long before we gazed into our MacBooks, the clitter-clatter of keys was reserved for typewriters, and it was for this device that the great American maestro and all-round light music genius, Leroy Anderson, composed.

In his short piece, Anderson uses all the iconic sounds of the typewriter: the sound of keys, the ‘ring’ of the carriage approaching the end of a line, and the clatter of the mechanics as it moves back to the start of the next line.

Interestingly, the composer uses just two keys of the machine, for clarity of sound and to prevent jamming. Watch below and enjoy...

Read more: Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh Ride’, but it’s played on handbells >

Classical music meets typewriter in hilarious and wonderful performance

It’s simply irresistible, for the sheer brilliance of the writing and orchestration.

After all, it comes from the pen of a genius of 20th-century music. Indeed, Anderson was once dubbed by movie music maestro John Williams as “one of the great American masters of light orchestral music”.