Friday, January 22, 2010

The old piano

The old piano

We came to the conclusion that it was almost certainly built while the RMS Titanic was being built. It was bought by my great-grandfather for my great-aunts when they were small children, we think it must have been around 1910-1912. The construction of the Titanic started in 1909 and its maiden (and only) voyage was in 1912.

Fortunately, unlike the unlucky Titanic, our beautiful piano is still fit for purpose a century after it was made, having survived two world wars, several house moves and numerous children's fumbling fingers.

Four generations have learned to play on this Kaiser piano (a German brand that has recently resurfaced after having disappeared in the turmoil of the first half of the 20th century). For a hundred years, pleasure has been derived and given through it, frustration, joy and sadness have run wild on its gorgeous ivory and ebony keys producing all sort of melodies. It has endured a lot but it still sounds wonderful, a deep sound with a very particular tone. We regard it as our oldest family member.

9 comments:

João said...

You do have a knack for the Glocal, Claudia, you made a global story out of a family one. Wow.

rauf said...

How could you ? are you mad ? i get in to imaginary dialogues Claudia, with people, with gods, messengers, this time with the builder of the Titanic. How could you build such a huge monster ? Stuffing too many people in one container, ship, plane or train is such a huge risk.

which song was that ? This old piano ? i was thinking Claudia, realised it was not piano but 'this old guitar' by John Denver.

lots of cruel jokes in my head Claudia

"Haven't I seen your face before?" a judge demanded, looking down at the defendant.

"You have, Your Honor," the man answered hopefully. "I gave your son piano lessons last winter."

"Ah, yes," recalled the judge. "Twenty years!"

Claudia said...

Wow, aprendi uma palavra nova! Obrigada, João.

Claudia said...

rauf, here's another piano joke which is "in tune" with the Titanic theme:

Little Noah came into the house with a new harmonica. "Grandpa, do you mind if I play this in here?"

"Of course not, Noah. I love music. In fact, when your grandma and I were young, music saved my life."

"What happened?"

"Well, it was during the famous Johnstown flood. The dam broke and when the water hit our house it knocked it right off the foundation. Grandma got on the dining room table and floated out safely."

"How about you?"

"Me? I accompanied her on the piano!"

Ruth said...

Bada boom! :)

It's a terrific angle looking across those keys and seeing the black lacquer and the pretty pattern behind.

Oh dear, I have another story for you and rauf, it's not pleasant. My mother's great uncle worked for the White Star line as a designer and helped design the Titanic. After she sunk he went into seclusion the rest of his life. Built a little shed out behind his house and stayed there. Impossible to live with such a thing!

Ruth said...

Hey, look what I found Claudia:

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/brinjal

Etymology

From Portuguese brinjela, ultimately from Sanskrit भण्टाकी (bhaṇṭākī), “‘aubergine’”). Sanskrit word is likely of Dravidian origin, from the source that also ultimately gave English aubergine.


SO COOL and SMART you are.

Ruth said...

That was for you, João and rauf. Oh and Peter too. See how global we've been for a long time.

Peter said...

Wonderful to read the story (and see the nice picture) of this piano and to know that it's still there and being played on! (I remember having seen it on distance on some previous post.)

I recently had to give away the piano (it hurts) which was still in my mother's flat, too expensive to move from Sweden to Paris, and I already have mine. Now my granddaughter Paloma just started her lessons on their piano; we played our first four hand the other day! Soon she will play better than me (I hope for her)!

João said...

I would love to accompany a grandmother at the piano...or a granddaughter for that matter.
Words like people do travei, in fact I think they do travel because people do.
It's cozy here in this little corner of the Internet...just like an old mill reformed to serve as a living room to entertain friends.
Very glocal, again.