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In "Requiem for Methuselah", there is a scene where Spock surprisingly knows how to play the piano. He perfectly plays a waltz while Captain Kirk and Rayna dance.

My question is, during the recording of this scene, was Leonard Nimoy actually playing the piano, or was it feigned?

  • 3
    The trick in TV is usually "Can you see their hands and face at the same time?" If yes, then they're actually playing the instrument. If not, the hands during the closeups will be somebody else's. – DisturbedNeo Jun 1 '17 at 10:48
  • He's very musical, is our Spock. Proof? Of course: youtube.com/watch?v=AGF5ROpjRAU – Tim Jun 8 '17 at 20:28
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+100

The scene in question:

As you can see, Spock's hands are completely hidden while he's playing the piano, so it's fairly unlikely that he was actually playing.

Having said that, Leonard Nimoy did have a career in music as well as acting, though I can't find anything saying he could play piano, just that he supplied vocals.

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    The way he shifts his body while playing and never looks down indicates he's either very familiar with the instrument, or isn't actually playing it. I'd go with the latter. – Arthur Dent Jun 1 '17 at 19:22
  • @ArthurDent I don't think it's evidence that he's actually playing, but he quite clearly looks down many times. Even if he didn't, when sight reading it's not uncommon to focus on the music and accomplished musicians typically learn to play without looking at their instrument. I'm not accomplished at all and I can play guitar and some piano without looking. – Todd Wilcox Jun 2 '17 at 5:47
  • @ToddWilcox now that I look at it again, you're right that he is looking down. For some reason I thought he was only looking at the music. Still, the way he shuffles his body at ~49 seconds is not very natural looking. – Arthur Dent Jun 2 '17 at 14:29
  • Yes, Leonard Nimoy could sing. Some things are best left forgotten – Machavity Jun 5 '17 at 12:59
  • Nothing about Nimoy playing in Marc Cushman's "These Are the Voyages: Season Three". It's also likely he had no idea what he was miming his acting to in terms of music. The production notes indicate it is supposed to be an unknown Beethoven piece, but ends up being a real Brahams waltz in the final episode (ibid) – NKCampbell Jun 5 '17 at 14:22
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No.

A blooper reel exists for this segment which shows what was going on behind the scenes.

According to IMDB, it was performed by Ivan Ditmars:

In the third season blooper reel, there is a shot of the M-4 on its dolly mount, being wheeled toward William Shatner by its operator. There is also a clip of Leonard Nimoy rocking his head sarcastically while "fill-in" elevator music plays during the scene where Spock plays Brahm's waltz for Kirk and Rayna. Ivan Ditmars' performance was dubbed in later.

From the same page, we have information that it was actually a composition or arrangement by Ivan Ditmars.

The Brahms paraphrase that Spock plays was written especially for this episode by Ivan Ditmars.

I briefly looked for a copy of the blooper reel, but I was not able to find it quickly.

  • I'm assuming the blooper reel is licensed? If so, is it on a specific DVD as an extra, or is it a stand-alone? – CraigR8806 Jun 8 '17 at 20:48
  • I am not sure. I am just basing my answer on quotes from the IMDB page for the episode. – Paul Jun 12 '17 at 17:23

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