other bits of blog

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Well, hello there. It's me again (duh!), and I am sorry that I broke my promise, I didn't write twice a week, but this time I have a reason! I have the flu, and I'm a bit too tired to do anything, but I'm feeling better at the moment, so I'm posting, as you can see.
Today I want to talk about pianos. They really are interesting things. No one knows exactly what they are. See, pianos have strings, so they're called string instruments. Pianos are called percussion instruments. But I fit them into another category, pianos are their own.
Pianos have this amazing way of being loud and soft at the same time, sweet and melancholy. Yes, everyone thinks that about their own instrument, but for pianos it's true. They really do have the ability to venture into that range of fire, fortissimo, or even just forte. And they can sneak into dark corners, whispering magic, pianissimo and piano. "Piano" in Italian means "soft" and "forte" means "loud". And a piano is really called a piano forte, meaning "loud soft". This is because the piano was the first instrument that had such a dynamic range.

Alright, alright, I'm boring you about the history of piano, and you're wondering why I'm even talking about them. The gist is that I want to say goodbye to my old piano. Yes, I'll still see it all the time, but we got a new one, and when we move into our house that's half-built, but being remodeled (where the piano is), then I won't see this old piano anymore. So I guess this post is kind of a dedication to my old piano, and a welcoming to the new. Just bear with me for this, okay?

I stare at empty space
An alcove
Perfect symmetry
But empty
Soon, though
Soon a piano will fill the gap
A piano so soft and creamy
An instrument just waiting to be met
But for now
I am contented with the old
And out of tune
Dark and tall
So easy to play
Mother says the new one will be, too
I hope
Hope and laugh over the faults
Of the old
Felts disintegrated
Rusty and looming
Yet mine
The one I know
And grew up with
The first I played
I will grieve for the old
But love the new even more
As I anticipate
My inspiration

That was before we got our new piano.
This piano really is a piano forte. It's so loud, I mean, it's mainly the room, but this piano is fortissimo, very loud. So, at the moment, we're putting a mattress behind it to make it quieter, but we will buy this foam stuff that dampens the sound. Anyway, this piano is amazing, very different from the old one.
The old piano has no felts, its huge, an upright, and it's about 100 years old. The wood is rough and calloused, and the keys are soft. It's a W. B. Haines & Co. from New York. I know, never heard of it. When I play it, I almost feel old, but I love it all the same. It's the piano I started on, the piano I know, so I can't really help it. Our living room is full of soft surfaces, rugs, couches, etc. So it's not as loud as the new one, which is in a room that has furniture, but it's much more bare.

And the new piano, it's sleek, shiny, and golden. I look at it and I'm reminded of honey or syrup. This one is a Kawai studio, more common than the old. And the felts aren't disintegrated, and the springs aren't rusty, and it's not 100 years old. I love this piano.

My niece, Rosie, she's pretty psyched, too.

Okay, I'm still boring you? Well how about a seven-minute atonal/tonal improv of mine?

If you don't know what tonal is, it's playing in key, really, and atonal isn't. So basically tonal is, for example, playing in the key of C, and atonal is just playing any note on the piano. But this is my description of them.
Tonal, I think, sounds warm and soft, like a flower petal dancing in the wind. It feels perfect, like nothing could go wrong. It sounds grounding, yet flies you away into the clouds. It is a gift of sweet melody, and it feels like wrapping up in a blanket near a warn fire, reading a book.
Atonal sounds free, like you disobeyed the rules only to come out better than who you were. It sounds like the moss climbing up a tree or vines up a long-forgotten house. When you listen to atonal music, you feel like a bird just gliding on the wind, swooping and gliding, daring and adventurous.

And now you're falling asleep, I hope not. Anyway, happy Valentine's Day, and the beginning of the year of the tiger...


  1. I play the piano too! Ours (e.g., my mom and me) is Yamaha, and it's around the same color as your newer one, only the wood doesn't look as grainy. I LOVE it!!