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A Peek Inside My Piano

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Quote of the Day:  Prayer is when you talk to God. Meditation is when you’re listening. Playing piano allows you to do both at the same time. Kelsey Grammer

You know, things kind of happen organically and, you know, Broadway sort of happened out of a career in performing and  – which happened out of practicing piano when I was a kid. Harry Connick, Jr.

David M. Smith, Piano Tuner
The inner workings of my piano
David fixes the squeaky keys with titanium powder.
I have my piano tuned about twice a year, more if it slips out of tune, like during this atrociously cold winter. I have an older baby grand, probably built in the 1930’s. I like that it has a history. When I brought it home, I opened the piano bench and found some great old music, and notes by Norma Hayes. I think she was a piano teacher in her day, too. I’ve been playing out of the Chopin book she left behind. After a tuning, I can’t keep my fingers off the keys. It sounds so good. I love the feel of those old plastic keys, the action of the keyboard and the vibration of the strings and wood. An electric keyboard will never satisfy my piano fingers the way an acoustic piano does. Sure, an electric keyboard never has to be tuned, and it’s easier to move around. I mean, I can’t exactly strap the baby grand to my back and take it on the road. It adds warmth and beauty to my music room, and I like it that all my students are learning how to play on it, whether they have an electric keyboard or their own acoustic instrument.
 
Yesterday, David came to tune it, and I pointed out some squeaky keys. He started unscrewing all the panels and pulled out the keyboard. I grabbed my camera. It was fascinating to peer inside and see how all the hammers and strings worked (also, to wipe out the years of dust and cat hair), and see how it is all put together.
 
My piano students were the first to try out the freshly tuned keys. I showed them the pictures, and they were fascinated. It would be fun to bring them on a field trip to a piano repair place. Maybe David will let us come to his shop when he has his own space. 
 
One student played her piece, which uses some of the lowest notes. She said, “It sounds better here because you can feel the note.” I also like the rumble of the base notes as well as the twitter of the high ones. And, yes, I couldn’t resist. This morning, I pulled out my favorite pieces and enjoyed every sound and vibration of my baby grand piano.
 
Go. Create. Inspire!
 
Journaling Prompt:  Do you play an instrument? What are your favorite songs to play or sing? Have you ever peeked inside a piano?

 

  1. Pianos are amazing instruments. I play the violin, which is a great instrument (but of course, I’m pretty biased on this count).

    http://www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

  2. Hey Mary, I finally found your old blog again. The link on my blog takes me to the new place. Anyway, glad I found it. I’ve always been fascinated by the tuner’s work, too, only I haven’t been brave enough to sneak in and take photos. Maybe next time I will intrude. It is pretty amazing. When our house was burned, as you know, that’s what grabbed me by the throat — the sight of our burned piano. It was so sad looking, and really broke my heart. I think a trip to the piano tuner repair shop would make for a great field trip!

  3. I have stopped on this post when I have seen the photo of this piano, and I must say that (at least me I believe) it is uquale to my piano.

    Mine is a Zimmermann, bought from a junk dealer last year, with few information about it, (I’m not a musician, but just a fan of antiques), and thanks to this post I would say it is of the years 30.

    I agree with the initial quotation of Kelsey Grammer…this piano has a marvelous sound.

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