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Pitch.

It’s been a year and a half since we welcomed my grandmother’s piano into our home. Even though the piano sits proudly in our front room, the “formal” living room, and is rightfully our piano, in my mind it shall always be my grandmother’s piano. I believe my grandfather bought it for her new back in 1949. When I sit on the bench, I can still smell the scent inherent to the instrument. I can still hear my grandmother playing her favorite song, “My Melody of Love”, made famous by Bobby Vinton.

I have played the piano on very few occasions since it’s come into our home. It didn’t survive the transport as well as I had hoped; several keys ended up in the “down” position and it hadn’t been tuned in at least two decades. But the keys that worked sounded strong and overall the piano is in otherwise great shape, so Earl and I decided it deserved a little TLC.

The kind man from Stage Music made two visits this week. On Tuesday morning he spent two hours assessing what needed to be done and he also brought the piano back to pitch (it was considerably flat). It turns out that there had been quite the family of mice living in the piano at one time, and they had snacked on the felt pads that raise the keys to their proper position. So Mr. Stage Music came back today and replaced all the felt and tweaked the pitch to perfection. To test the piano, Mr. Stage Music played a melody of lounge favorites. I noticed that he gave the piano the firm touch that it requires to make beautiful music. I’ve always been rather timid when playing this piano. This was a result of my playing the piano when I was in elementary school. I was having a loud, boisterous, joyful time with my sister, when grandpa came over and in his stern, rather bull-hornish voice proclaimed, “Do you know what refrain means?” We suspected it meant “stop and move your fingers”, as the lid to the keys was brought to a close.

We used a timid touch when we played the piano after that encounter. Thank goodness Mom and Dad babysat a piano for 20 years so that we had something to bang on.

So now my grandmother’s piano is back in her beautiful glory. I’ve never had an official piano lesson (thank god… we won’t mention the town minister that gave piano lessons only to ‘special young boys’), aside from the piano classes I didn’t finish at SUNY Fredonia. But I can plunk out a few tunes like a drunken fool from time to time, even though I can’t separate my left hand from my right hand and I don’t use the correct fingerings. See if you can identify the two songs I’m trying to play here.

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