a semi-tuned piano

Shortly before we moved into our house, we came across an opportunity for a piano.  It was in a house about 15 minutes away from here, a house that someone our agent knew had bought to flip.  They just wanted to get rid of it; all we had to do was arrange a time to pick it up and it was ours.  Not having any idea what to expect, we emptied the moving truck, took a few strong friends to help and relocated it to our living room.

It turned out to be a lovely piece of furniture, though it was old and suffered from significant neglect.  It was so violently out of tune that I didn't even let Emmett play around with it.  I shut the lid, waiting for a piano tuner friend of ours to have a chance to look at it.

A few weeks ago, Alissa and Paul came to spend the afternoon and have dinner.  Paul, the piano tuner, brought his bag of tricks and took a look.  His initial evaluation was that the strings were old and brittle, and the entire inside was dusty and rusty and generally neglected.  To fix it properly, it would need lots of parts and lots of work, but he agreed to give it a go, tuning it as is, knowing there was a good chance a string would break at any time, rendering any work done worthless. 

As he began to tune it, he started playing the notes up the keyboard.  The piano was so far out of tune that as he was going up the keys, the pitch actually went back down in a couple of places.  By some miracle, though, he made it all the way through and thanks to his skillful work, the piano became playable!

It is surely not perfect, as the piano itself has plenty of flaws and he only had time to tune it once, rather than the usual 3 times in one day to achieve the best result, and it has, of course, slipped some since the day he worked on it.  It's more like an old church basement piano, slightly out of tune, a little musty sounding, with a couple of notes down near the bottom that sound pretty hollow, but it's my piano.  It is providing Emmett and me with plenty of laughter and music.  I'm not very good, but he doesn't care, and it's making me so happy to have a piano in the house and to be learning to play a little bit again.


Katherine said...

Yay for free pianos! We are in desperate need of a tuning too. You are so lucky to have a friend who is a tuner :) Happy playing!

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