The Piano Deconstructed.

As the saying goes “you can’t even give a piano away anymore”, especially when it’s over a hundred years old, out of tune, verging on decrepit, but with just enough life left to hope someone else might take it on. For the last five to ten years, we’ve been trying to give our piano away. Although we’ve had a few nibbles over the years, there have been no takers, and it just kept sitting here covered in picture frames, and an accumulation of household detritus and dust.

“Some people are aware of another sort of thinking which… leads to those simple ideas that are obvious only after they have been thought of… the term ‘lateral thinking’ has been coined to describe this other sort of thinking; ‘vertical thinking’ is used to denote the conventional logical process.”

Edward de Bono

However, as we found out, it’s all about the packaging. Or, perhaps I should say, how you package it. While no one wanted the entire piano, we finally managed to get our friend Neil interested in the parts. Indeed, he ended up towing most of the piano away in pieces over a few trips, and we were particularly excited to be able to keep the strings in tact, even if Geoff did have to saw through more than 10 centimetres of solid wood to pull it off. Neil’s already mounted the felts in his loungeroom where they’ve become an curious discussion point, and there are plans for a seat out of the wood. Meanwhile, I’m wondering how the birds and possums are going to respond to the ghostly sounds the keyless strings will be playing out in the bush until he works out what to do with it.

Yours truly photographed with the hammers extracted out of our piano. Neil’s cleverly mounted this on a wall. It’s intriguing.

Meanwhile, I have to tell you how much we enjoyed deconstructing this humble 100 year old piano. I know that sounds absolutely terrible, especially when I’m from a family of accomplished pianists. Indeed, it felt very much like a chainsaw massacre, especially after we found out much of it had been glued together, and the only way to get it apart, was to saw it to pieces.

However, ironically pulling it apart emphasized the beauty of its parts, which had become lost in the whole, especially once some of the keys weren’t working, and the cost of restoration was never going to pay off.

Indeed, it was quite incredible to appreciate just how much work, skill and attention to detail had gone into constructing the piano, and I guess we felt a bit sad that it had ended up being a useless lump of furniture and a burden. Indeed, it went further than that. The piano had actually become a significant roadblock, stopping us from renovating our loungeroom and getting it to a state where we’d be comfortable inviting friends over and dare I say it (drum roll) ENTERTAINING!!

So, I guess you won’t be surprised when I tell you that this situation with the piano has become a great analogy for explaining how to deal with a large persistent problem. Somehow, we need to find a way of carving it up into smaller components which will be much easier to deal with so we can clear the decks.

I also think our handling of the piano problem also shows how persistence can backfire. Sometimes, we need to stop persisting and give up. Stop putting up with a burden, problem, difficult person or situation and decide that “enough is enough”. It is going, going, gone!

Do you have any special memories of the piano? Or, perhaps you have a few horror stories instead. It’s a shame that the piano no longer holds it’s place at the heart of the family home with people gathered round to sing and play together; and also how it’s demise can also be attributed to the clutter Nazi’s who on’t let another gather dust. It is OUT!

Best wishes,

Rowena

4 thoughts on “The Piano Deconstructed.

  1. tidalscribe

    Years ago my husband’s friend had to deal with the estate of his elderly neighbour. As our daughter was yearning for a piano he asked if there happened to be a piano in the house. Yes and the frind said just give me fifty quid for it. My daughter took some lessons and a grade 2 exam, I had a go at playing. But it was a bit neglected, especially when I started writing. Eventually when daughter and son_in-law bought their own house she was reunited with the piano and her little boys like plonking it.

  2. Rowena Post author

    That’s a lovely piano story. Old pianos are fabulous for young children to plonk on as it doesn’t matter if they don’t get the best treatment and it allows the children to express themselves and explore. There’s plenty of time later for them to develop good technique etc if they’re interested. I remember loads of kids playing chop sticks when I was young.

  3. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Monika. It’s been a lot of fun. More fun than our current job of clering the loungeroom out to get the timber floating floor done, and when we moved the furniture, we found one wall really needs painting and that’s become a room, the house inside and out. It will be wonderful when it’s done but a scary amount of work in between. We won’t know the place, and that’s the whole idea. We’re having quite a purge too, particularly of books. They’ve taken over the place and need to make way for entertaining and allowing people into the house.
    Btw the dogs aren’t mad keen on the new floorboards. They’re very slippery and you hear this terrible scraping of claws as they pursue the ball which is both funny and horrifying at the same time.

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