Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Piano

This is my piano. Technically, I have six of them, but this is the only “real” one. It’s in my family’s house in upstate New York, where I spent my summers until I was 16. Unfortunately, the piano wasn’t there until after that, and in fact there wasn’t even a “real” house up there until I was 10 or so. (Hmmm. Too many quotes already, and I’m only up to the fourth sentence.) Anyway, I have three piano modules, a digital piano, a spinet, and this baby grand. It’s in decent shape, could use a good tuning/overhaul, but it still sounds pretty good if you don’t head too far out to the ends of the keyboard. 

I’m not really a piano player, unfortunately not having been tormented with lessons from an early age. I wanted them, though, probably one of the few kids who did. I remember being very young and discovering open fifths, open fourths, augmented and diminished chords. Each discovery was eye-opening, felt like I had been the first to find some new thing. I remembering feeling the world open up to me after accidentally finding sus4 chords, just playing them in the empty apartment before my parents came home, letting them ring into silence, listening to the shifting overtones. It was magical. 

All of this happened on the spinet in my New York City apartment. It’s from the 1940s and in pretty bad shape, long past the time it should have been put out to pasture. That’s why I got the digital piano, in fact, to replace it. Not the same, but I suppose it’s better to be in tune and not broken. But when I manage to get up to the too-far-away house upstate, I always look forward to trotting out my far-too-rusty piano skills. This past weekend felt more rusty and awkward than usual, but sometimes I can just sit down and play and it’s magical. And I still like to play a sus4 and let it ring into silence. 

It’s been months since I’ve added to this blog. Things have happened, other things have not happened, I’ve let it slide. But I’m starting it up again, even after all this time. I’ve missed it. Writing this feels like wearing an old, comfortable shirt. It’s time to start it up again.