May 9, 2006 – Piano

Today was a day we had been putting off for some time – replacing the family piano with a new one. The piano we have was handed down from Linda’s grandmother. It was the first piece of furniture she got after being married. It had followed her from Des Moines, to Phoenix, to Minneapolis and finally back near home, some 80 or so years later.

Every time the tuner came he warned us that the tuning pegs were not holding and that it would not stay in tune very long. He was right, but we just kept getting it tuned, hoping that perhaps after years of “untuned” a few repetitions of tuning would convince it to remember to hold a tune.

Eventually, though, the cost of tuning and perpetual out-of tune notes, led us down the road to a new digital piano.
We did not just want to “throw it away” so I disassembled it.

Here is the picture of inquisitiveness as Martin becomes fascinated by discovering the linkage between striking the key and watching the hammers move.


I was surprised to see the hammer mechanism lift out in one piece.

We have some plans for the salvaged pieces. The keys are all removed, the front piece that holds the music and the keyboard cover with the logo will all be re-purposed into something new. Stay tuned to see what becomes of its new life. Our neighborhood lover of antiquities/artist has taken the rest and will repurpose the parts into new creations as well. Losing a piece of family history is somewhat lessened by keeping part of it and giving parts to others who appreciate them. Much like the bison and American Indian.

The following pictures speak for themselves. I’m struck by the intricacies of the details of the piano – the hand-penciled numbers of the keys, the texture of the felt, and the symmetry of the strings.

One of the most stirring sounds is that of the strings and soundboard, unfettered of the dampers. The sound of the resonance of the strings being struck in sequence sounded like the end of the universe – a perfect sound of all sounds of the audible music range, with the low vibrating sounds lasting longest and vibrating imperceptibly into nothingness.