Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Every so often I meet an artist who is a maestro. Last night, my friend, SS, had her piano tuned and invited me over for dinner to meet her tuner. She knows my love of the piano because of my choice for book group last December.  Here are two of my recent favorites about pianos: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank and A Romance on Three Legs. SS knew I would have a good time watching and listening to a piano being tuned.

The piano tuner was bright, funny and talented. Not only could he play beautifully and tell funny stories, he could also tune a piano well. I love listening to all the tones and intervals come together in perfect harmony as a tuner works. I know I'm a little weird, mais c'est moi.

A German-made piano from the late 19th century
Pianos today aren't as fancy on the inside.

The Chilean business card on the inside of the piano,
which was put there by the piano man in Santiago who bought
and restored the piano before my friend bought it.

He used wool muting felt to mute the strings, so he could tune each one individually.
One of the beauties of a piano is how the strings interact with each other when struck.
But when tuning the piano, it's important to minimize the sounds other keys make while initially tuning individual keys. Then it's important to listen to how it all works together to create harmony.

Each of the 88 keys has three strings that must be tuned.
You do the math!

The tuning lever at the ready.
Okay, each pin manages all three strings, so it's not as daunting as it could be.

The expert at work.
By the way, he speaks four languages... Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese
all the Romance languages; a true Renaissance man.

Now he's testing the final product. I wish I could have recorded him playing.
Once he had the piano tuned, the sound completely changed.
It was a rich, velvety, chocolate sound with so much depth, it made my heart yearn for an old piano.
They just don't make'em like they used to...

My friend, SS, always has him play the piano before he leaves.
Last night she had a special request. Her favorite hymn, Come, Thou Fount.
He played and I sang to her and her sister in Thailand on speaker phone.

It was a fun, educational evening spent in the best of company.
Thank you, SS!!!

'My idea of good company...
is the company of 
clever, well-informed people,
who have a great deal of conversation;
that is what I call good company.'
'You are mistaken,' said he gently,
'that is not good company, that is the best."
(Jane Austen, Persuasion)

p.s. today i am thankful for good friends who are the best of company
and particularly because i have so many of them.

1 comment:

Angela said...

It was so interesting to see these pictures and hear about this fantastic piano tuner gentleman. Your descriptions were fantastic and made me feel as though I were there too!

I love that Jane Austen quote:)