Monday, February 27, 2012

Piano for Your Thoughts

This week I finished reading Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier by Thad Carhart.

It has gotten me really excited about playing piano and music in general. The book is about a man living in Paris that ends up buying a used piano and making friends with the piano shop owner. Through his conversations and experiences with the pianos that come through the shop, he tells about how pianos work, the history of the piano, the differences in piano brands, and the way composers have used pianos over time.

With regards to playing piano, I started back up again with my practicing. By "started up again" I mean I started using my two adult intro to piano books Dylan gave me for Christmas after having played through a whole three units in another beginner book back in October.

Unfortunately work has been insane and left me with negative energy these last two weeks, so my plan of learning a lesson on the weekends and then practicing at least twice during the week has not happened well, but it's just a matter of building it into my routine. I am definitely excited to exercise that side of my brain!

The book also made me curious about my piano. I own an upright Harrington piano. The company began making pianos in 1871 in New York City. They were controlled by the Hardman Peck & Co Piano, also in New York. Hardman Peck & Co made pretty cool pianos from their website. The brand was the official piano of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt White House and the Metropolitan Opera in New York in the early 20th Century.

The Harrington name can be found on the inside of the piano
The name is also very faded on the front (fall board?) of the piano
Hardman, Peck & Co is also on the piano
So I did some research to determine the age of my piano. I found the serial number and it is 163858. I finally found a site that could list the age and it is from 1955! How cool is that?!

I really do need to get it tuned (the middle C has a little bit of a clang to it, for lack of a technical term) and generally checked out. The felt on the hammers need some repair. Overall it is in decent shape.

Finally, the book also got me excited about classical music. Part of the reason I wanted to start playing in the first place is because I always loved instrumental music. However, my experience with instrumental music has mostly been soundtracks and movie scores. Which I have always loved. I remember being so excited to get the next Harry Potter soundtrack! This book made me want to learn more about classic composers. I really don't know anything about the differences between the major composers and I feel like I know hardly any of them!

I think the plan on this one is to go to the symphony, which I have been to a couple times and had a great time. I am also thinking of getting the Classical Music for Dummies book that includes a CD. My other thought is to find a music, especially classical music blog to follow. We shall see.

Now I just need more time to pursue my newest hobby and hopefully eventual passion!

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