Friday, May 18, 2007

The Piano Tuner and a Contest

So, after 3 1/2 years, it was time for a tune up. The music shop we bought the instrument from never contacted us regarding the initial tuning, and I've just been swamped with babies and housework and laundry and . . . well, life just happened. Today David the Piano Tuner arrived two hours before I was expecting him (good thing everybody was dressed!!!), and commenced his 90 minute tuning job. (Note to self: When the piano tuner calls and talks to Vern the day before the appointment, ask Vern if there has been a change.) I knew that it needed a tuning, but hadn't realized just how flat it was until David brought a couple of keys up to pitch. (I've also learned that there's a lot more to piano care than tuning.) It just sounded so great to hear, one by one, the strings vibrating at the proper frequency.

After a little while I took a look, and saw this:

Yep. That's an iPac perched in my piano. Fascinated, I exclaimed: "You're using your PDA to tune the piano?" Long story short, yes. I got a two sentence answer, but when Vern came up from work to see this, David gave him a full tour of the software, and explained a lot about how the piano produces sound, how sound has overtones, how those overtones interact to make the sounds we hear, and how this software has changed the tuning industry. I'm not sure if it was a chauvanistic thing, but it was interesting how differently he responded to my husband. I got to listen in, though, and didn't mind, since I was busy making breakfast. Vern has a much higher appreciation for how amazing a piano is, and the almost magical way it produces sound, now that he has had a technical explanation. I guess if you've got your head in code all day long, seeing bar graphs and numbers and talking about frequencies and tuning peg dynamics really helps. ;o)

And how does it sound now? Right. The sound feels like a precisely engineered and well-constructed machine, if that makes any sense. Every tone and overtone matches precisely, and it's a wonderful feeling. Now, if I can just get the kids to leave the piano alone so I can play . . .

After typing "the piano" so many times, I think my piano needs a name. Let's hold the first Passionate Mind contest: Name The Piano. Now, for the rules and prize. Prize first, because it's more fun that way:

This is hand-dyed handspun I bought a while back. It's 5oz of a softly spun, bouncy, lofty wool (a Corriedale, Coopworth, and/or Romney cross--can't remember). It's not cashmere or alpaca, but it's a good wool. And pretty--you can see the barberpole striping, and the play of soft color. The skein, twisted as shown, is 10" long and about 12 1/2" in circumference at mid-point. (Sorry I forgot to put a ruler in the photo for scale.) This photo is the closest I could get to real life on my monitor. The colors are reminiscent of fall leaves, but not the fiery fall leaves of the east. They're more the soft brown and khaki fall colors, with a touch of russet here and there. I think the pic is more red than real life, so mentally change this so it's a little more toward the khaki part of the spectrum. (Is there a khaki part of the spectrum? lol) Either way, it's free . . . and if the colors don't suit you, I'm sure they'll suit someone on your Christmas list. ;o) So fire up your brain and get to thinking of some good names.

Oh, you said you wanted to see the instrument in question? I can see how that might be helpful.

Oh. Almost forgot.

Le Rules
  • I'll select one name of those suggested for the prize. It's my piano, after all. ;o)
  • You can email me as many as you'd like.
  • If there's a duplicate entry, the earlier submission takes precedence.
  • Different spellings will count as different submissions.
  • Please email me your ideas, and I'll post all of them together when I announce the winner.
  • I'll continue to accept suggestions until a week from today: Friday, May 25th.
Let the games begin!

**Sarah requested this further info on the instrument:

It's a Yamaha, and I believe it was manufactured in Japan.