Tuesday, September 09, 2008

88 Piano Keys

Tickle me, Elmo
London, ON, August 2008

Quick note: We're still focusing on "faded" as this week's Thematic Photographic theme. Click here to go back to the initial entry and try your hand at it. New theme goes up this coming Wednesday evening, but this one's going strong right up until then.
I'd like to introduce the latest addition to our home. This beloved old piano, age somewhere north of 100 years, came to our family thanks to an amazingly kind friend (yes, I'm blowing your cover, Laurie) and in a few short weeks has already succeeded in transforming the feel of our living room.

The kids have taken it upon themselves to teach themselves to play, while Debbie and I are content to sit back and drink it in as the sound fills the house. I can't not smile whenever I begin to hear its notes percolate through the walls. It makes a house a home.

I've started taking various pictures of it, and I've got to admit it's proving to be a welcome photographic challenge. I can only begin to imagine how many people have played it before we have, have enjoyed time with friends and family gathered around, have felt the sound as much as they've heard it. I've never met these people, of course, but I wish I could. I'd like to know if this amazing instrument had the same effect on them as it does on me.

About this photo: The keys tell a story of a well-loved instrument's many decades of use. Although I know lots of people who would PhotoShop the keys to their original off-white, I'm not one of them. The story is the patina accumulated through the years. It wouldn't be the same without it.

Your turn: Imperfect beauty vs. perfect soullessness. Please discuss.


Anonymous said...

i have never learned to play the piano but two of my nieces play very well. i think it is a lovely thing for a child to learn and even though both of these nieces have grumbled about the committment over the years, each is very grateful for the ability to play. one is in her twenties and still taking lessons and the other is in high school and about to become a piano instructor to juniors. quite proud of them both,

Janet said...

Is it a baby grand, Carmi? How beautiful! There's certainly a lot of perfect soullessness around lately; I prefer imperfect beauty...much more interesting!

I played again, hope you like it:


kenju said...

I am still hating the fact that my mom sold our Baldwin baby grand to buy a spinet organ, in 1962.

And Carmi, patina is one thing - dirt is another. Take some mild cleaner and a clean cloth and wipe down the front edges of the keys.

Lance said...

We have a piano that our youngest son plays. Every once in a while I'll sit down there and just play. It's been years since I had lessons. I don't follow any books, but play what "feels" right. It is very comforting for me...

CAM said...

It never ceases to amaze me how you find the little pieces of your daily life and make them so special. I always look forward to dropping by and seeing what new pics you have up. I don't always comment, but I am often moved. Thanks for sharing.

sealaura said...

I love pieces from the past. I bet you do sit and wonder about all the great times that were had playing this piano. And of course all the great times to come with your family.

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. Norm says hello :)

Megan said...

I shot essentially the same picture (at the opposite angle) of my aunt's family piano. It's old and worn as well. I called the picture 88s.

Great minds...

Holly Schwendiman said...

Ooooo I'm loving your theme and picture shares this week!


Z said...

Hi, Carmi..had to tell you that our first purchase when we moved to Paris in 1999 was a 1913 Erard piano! Our living room before furniture looked like a ballet rehearsal room..tall ceilings, wood floors and ONE EACH PIANO!
After we moved to LA again, the person we sold it to said he was moving to hawaii. The thought that that piano, which had been in the hands of an old French family for years was now in Hawaii just cracked me up. WHAT would they think!?
I got email pix from the new owner there ( my friend sold it once he got there)....NOTHING like your pix, but amazing, nonetheless.. Our French piano in Hawaii!

I can't WAIT to see more of your piano pictures..congrats on the purchase (we're big piano players here)........I LOVE your photos and your text.. wonderful

Mojo said...

Aside from routine maintenance, musical instruments should be allowed to age in the way they see fit. The reason those 50's and 60's vintage Stratocasters are so highly prized goes far beyond their age and history. Their sound changes as the wood ages, becomes mellower, sustains differently, takes on a subtly different tone. Every individual piece of wood is unique, ergo every one of those old instruments has its own unique sound. And no amount of technology, no modern material, nor kind of craft can ever replicate it. It is the sound that comes with age, maturing over time and it cannot be rushed.

If you read Smarmoofus's Wordsmith's Challenge piece, she speaks to this very subject in her story. And while I don't know how much -- if any -- musical background she has, she certainly knows a good bit about saxophone players. (Or maybe she's just a good guesser.)

Tink *~*~* said...

Hey, how'd you get a picture of my piano? :D I have my childhood piano in my house. I have no idea how old it is. My parent's bought it when I was a teenager, and it was old even then, but gently used by a little old lady who only drove it on Sundays... seriously, it's OLD. It needs tuned badly, and one of the keys is stuck in the down position. This cannot be good.

Tink *~*~*
My Mobile Adventures *~*~*

janie said...

gorgeous photo, pianos really do become part of the family, the joys and tears of piano practice will haunt me forever:)

rashbre said...

I like this one a lot. Very atmospheric, the worn wood and the misaligned sharp. Boogie Woogie time.