In my last vignette I explain how I became an invalid by saving a piano, and perhaps the world, from disaster. My words apparently has caused some consternation among some of the congregation, so it behooves me to come up with a way to use behoove in a sentence and I just did so... Where was I? Oh yeah, I am humbly behooved to address this subject in greater depth.
First of all I am pleased to announce that I am now able to walk without a grimace, unless I am in a situation where a grimace can be used to fine effect. Such as: "Oh my dear, you poor thing".
The issue was whether or not it makes sense to buy a $200 antique piano to be used as furniture. Some felt it was a grand idea, and others expressed dismay that we would be so crass as to use a musical instrument in this way. First of all, no matter what you say my wife feels she made a fine decision. So there.
Secondly, I can actually play at the piano in a personal, sort of non-audience viewing manner. I used to have a Fake Book, and it still may be over at my previous wife's residence. A Fake Book is a binder of perhaps 500 songs, one song per page. If you were to look at a song, you could discern the notes of the melody above which are odd alphabetic notations. If you were an astute musician, like moi, you can read the melody and play it on a keyboard...with your right hand. Your left hand, if you were the astutist of the astute, could read that mysterious alphabet and immediately play chords with your left hand. When you combine these actions together, you are playing the piano. Maybe. Sort of.
Jazz musicians always have Fake Books with them. They can sit and play for hours using that notated melody and those funny alphabet chords. They form the basis, the groundwork from which they can build on. I never quite figured out the 'build on' part. But I could sit and play those melodies and chords in root position. Major chords, Minor chords, 6th, leading tone chords, I could do it all -- in root position. How do I explain root position? A simple chord is three notes played at once. Say it is a C Chord, which means the notes are C, E, and G. (How do I know this? Because I am astute. And I majored in music.) Root position means that you always play the chord with the C-note as the bottom note, and the E-note always the middle note, and the G-note flying high on top. If you were astuter than I am, you would note that the C-chord can also be played as E-G-C, or G-C-E. All of those are the C-chord because they are comprised of the C-chord notes.
So I can actually play from the Fake Book as long as I don't switch the notes of the chords around, because then I would have to think. If I see 'Cm' it means a C-minor chord and the fingers on my left hand would automatically fall to the notes C, E-flat, G. But only in root position. My fingers know root positions and if you ask them to do anything else they get confused.
So the point is that I can play piano. If I have a Fake Book. And no one is around to listen, because sometimes I try to get experimental just like real jazz pianists and whilst trying to keep in mind the key signature and the Circle of Fifths (I said that just to impress you) and allow my fingers to dance across the keyboard. The typical reaction is, "What the hell are you doing?" I mumble something about improvisation while mentally wondering how I deviated from the plan.
So, the piano can possibly, remotely get some use in the future! That settles that.
Secondly a commenter that was trying to cause trouble asked me what was the name on the piano. This is a sore point. As the commenter wryly suggested, I checked the piano keyboard cover. On the outside, on the inside and on the lip. Then I lifted the top of the piano and checked. I have a no-name piano. This leads to several possible conclusions:
1. The piano was made in 1894 or before. We know that because the sticker on back says it won a Columbia Blue Ribbon Award in 1894. (No, I can't check the back for more information because the piano is too heavy to be moved and I am not risking my back again.) Possible conclusion: Maybe they didn't know how to write back then. Or,
2. Maybe the keyboard cover is a replacement, untitled cover. I don't think so but I can't prove it. The wood looks like the rest of the wood. Or,
3. Perhaps Top of the Line pianos don't like to brag. Maybe it is one of those, 'If you have to ask, you shouldn't be here' type of pianos. After all, we paid $200 for the thing.
If you were to expose the keyboard, it looks sort of snaggle toothed with some keys drooping and most discolored. And if you were to look down at those foot paddles, well one has no life in it. The poor old girl is tired and worn out.
But we will slowly bring her back to life. So I can play melodies, and chords.