Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Piano Sings from Silent Decades of Neglect (Part II)

After meeting with the synthesist who was also now a piano technician, I was alone with the piano in the apartment. It was the first time I had really acknowledged its presence as a piano in years. I wasn't sure if it still had a voice. I also wasn't sure of my feelings... I knew my skills had disappeared and I had some need for spiritual and physical repair.

But there were all kinds of materials on top of the piano, a sculpture called the "Trio" that my mother had given me when I first moved into the apartment, some books, some piles of unopened mail, a pitch pipe, some posters of Dinu Ghezzo, and a candle. I realized I needed to make preparations, so I found a permanent new home for the sculpture and removed all the other paraphernalia.

And I waited...

The tuner came at the agreed time. He put his coat on the couch and looked at the piano, acknowledging his perception of an important instrument that commanded respect. He went to the piano and lifted the keyboard cover and played some notes... hopelessly out of tune. He winced. He tried to lift the piano lid to get at the strings, but it was a missing a pin for the hinge, so we had to use a nail to hold the lid in position.

The tuner used his tuning fork and started to work from the bottom register. I left the room. I knew the tuner needed some space, and I knew that the sounds coming from the piano were painful stretchings... raw and occasional tonal groans that seemed to come from a crippled deformity of sound...

I was gone for some time... and when I came into the room, he looked at me and smiled... "last note." He sat down and started to play a few excerpts... the piano responded, and at times began to ring...

"The tuning is already slipping a little." he said.

I asked about the action.

"Yes, it is a little stiff. But some of that will work out as you play it."

This statement stunned me a bit. It never occurred to me I would have to play the piano. I just had envisioned he would restore the piano and it would be there then for guests and visitors to play. I didn't think that I would be involved.

"I will be back to do another tuning., " he assured me. Next time I will take the action out and explore what we need to do to." He then left.

I was alone with the piano.  The piano stood there, lid raised, waiting...

(to be continued)  See Part I in earlier posting

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