PSEUDOESTHESIA – Solo Piano Improvisation |


This is a song about accepting loss. Not an ordinary kind of loss, but a loss that a significant portion of yourself has become entangled with. A kind of pseudoesthesia, if you will; the pain of a loss of a part of yourself.

Why the Title

"Face," by Gerd Altman. A pseudoesthesia of the face.
“Face,” by Gerd Altman.

Pseudoesthesia is “An illusion of feeling in a limb that has been amputated. Also calledĀ ‘phantom pain.'” (source: []). This is a psychological and clinical term for phantom pain; sometimes when you lose a limb, you still have the sensation that the limb is there, and sometimes, you even feel pain in the area as if it were coming from the place that limb used to be. There is a kind of spiritual limb loss associated with certain kinds of loss. I chose the title because even when you let go of the portion of yourself that is tied up in whatever it is you’ve lost, the pain of it persists. The truth is, you can’t actually let that piece of you go; the only thing you can really do is suppress it, and ignore it until it falls silent. It is not a death of self, but the sensation of death certainly does accompany it.

Some Notes on This Piece

This piece begins and ends in c# minor, which I consider to be the darkest key. There is a darkness – a terrible nothingness – associated with spiritual pseudoesthesia. The piece is slow and stoic about itself. It undergoes a development section, and there is some polyphonic emergence against the primary theme, and then piece returns to c# minor, and ends on a double octave with an embedded fifth scale degree in the higher octave, which gives the piece a hollow emptinessĀ at the end.

Some Notes on the Featured Image

The image is an empty face. It fits. It is in the public domain. I found it on Pixabay.