Stuff Found in Pianos

Never ceases to amaze me the things I find in pianos.   There were the 27 pencils and pens in one upright, a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica in another, and several dead rock crabs in an upright near the sea shore.  My favourite is still the dried peanut under the frame of a small grand that nearly drove a customer mad.  Finding that was akin to pulling a thorn from a lions paw.

James Lithgow tuning at MusicFest

I added to my list of stuff this past summer while looking after the piano for MusicFest.

Vancouver Island MusicFest had a couple of artists this past summer for whom the digital appliance is wholly inadequate. Randy Newman wouldn’t sign unless he had a real piano. Newman is a Steinway artist and Tom Lee Music has those kind of pianos lying around.

A Model ‘B’ showed up on stage for the first of several tunings during the weekend. Ah, the great outdoors, pianos just don’t get outside much.
I opened up the lid, took out the music desk and removed the fallboard, sat down to play an arpeggio and in the bass there was this weird fluttery sound.

Cowichan Music Festival Ribbon

A participation ribbon for the Cowichan Music Festival. The piano was on a tour of Vancouver Island this summer.
Anyway no harm done with the ribbon and it is serving duty as a bookmark presently. Thanks anonymous participant in the 62nd Annual Cowichan Music Festival!

Tucked away in the back corner of the MusicFest stage I was able to tune and do other tweaks in relative peace. Early in the morning the worst thing to contend with are the delivery truck back up alarms.

So, it’s now late on Saturday afternoon, I’ve just finished touching up the tuning for the Holly Cole Band and Randy Newman. Last unison settled and there’s a clunk in the action. I peer down inside and there’s a large piano tuner’s mute sitting between the hammers an octave or so below middle C. A very long one, and not one of the type I use.

Piano tuning mute
I can imagine the frustration of arriving at the next job to discover you are missing a mute. I’ve now got an extra one! Thanks anonymous technician.

Randy Newman at MusicFest 2011

Piano sounded pretty good I thought as Aaron Davis with Holly Cole and later Randy Newman gave it a run.

Showed up the next day to start over again with tuning and found Randy Newman’s setlist taped to the music desk. No indication whether it is in his hand or one of his handlers’ hands.

Randy Newman's Set-list

Thanks not so anonymous Randy Newman.

Shame he didn’t write his name and thanks for making the piano sound nice but, such is the nature of a job that you only really get noticed when you’ve made an error.


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