Friday, December 19, 2008

In tune at last~

Upon one this we are agreed, we want our indents! Yesterday I tried to resolve the conundrum. You saw my blog from yesterday. Didn't work. Today, I looked through the different format choices. I saw one, and one only, that showed indents in the sample copy. It is rather white. Soon we will know the answer to whether or not we'd like to have pretty, or proper! Well, indentations are proper to me, what can I say?

I have to admit, everything is much easier to, uh, see. Now that I'm not squinting so much, my eyes are quite relaxed. If only, when I post this on the public page, the formatting remains! I looked back through G2's previous posts and saw that her laboriously indented copy has returned to...indented! So here is hoping.

I got my mandolin out a few days ago. I haven't played for quite a while, because the bridge broke and I figured I couldn't afford the repairs. Finally I took it down to the shop, and the repair cost...$35.oo. Sigh. Had it restrung also.

Do you think I have the faintest idea where my violin pitch pipe (which is what you use to tune a mandolin as well) was hiding? No earthly clue, so I decided to try tuning to the piano. After doing that things seemed, somehow, not right. I really do know better than to tune to this piano, but it had to at least be tried. My piano came from England in the mid-fifties, at which time it was already 70-80 years old. Made during the Victorian age, it has a type of stringing that is known as 'birdcage style'. Most piano tuners, when they hear what sort of piano it is, hold up the sign of the cross and start running away. Birdcage style pianos are notorious for refusing to stay in tune.

It's been a long time since I've tuned it, and it has been moved during that time as well. Poor baby piano! Why do I keep it? Well, it was my Mom's, and that's just the way it is. Frequently, the piano hosts large piles of books. It's a great place for things that need to go out the door with me. But the poor thing is rarely played. I'm thinking of calling my friend the piano tuner and at least getting it back into tune for maybe a day. I will have to sign an affidavit promising not to call the tuner back up when it goes out of tune. This is really why they don't like tuning them...the customer calls back two days later all in a tizzy. Can't say I blame them a bit.

Victorian parlor pianos, which this is, were really meant to be furniture. They weren't really meant to be played, they were there for show. My piano also has, 85 keys. Not 88. This is something I never realized until my oldest daughter decided to count the piano keys. She proudly came tome as I cooked dinner and announced, "I know how many keys are on a piano! There are 85!". I said, "Well honey, I think you need to count them again to be sure" and I smiled that mother smile, I'm quite sure. She counted again. Yup. 85. I counted them for myself. 85! This was some cut rate Victorian Parlor piano making, to be sure.

Well, it's a nice antique, at least. I love it, because it was Mom's, and it has a story. My Uncle was stationed in England in the fifties, and Aunt Marcia bought there for 20 pounds. The US Navy shipped it home when they returned (they actually used to do that sort of thing). Eventually, when they were reposted to Germany, we ended up with the piano. Mom played it all the time, and I always thought it sounded lovely. I can see her sitting at the piano sometimes, and it makes me feel warm inside. I think that answers the question, why don't I get rid of that thing and get a better quality piano? And I will get it tuned.

The mandolin, though, was still out of tune. I could run to the music store (only a couple of miles away) for a new pitch pipe, but the snow is still on the ground here, it's in the teens, and the roads are scary icy. Door to door transportation for the handicapped, which my youngest uses to get back and forth to her job, has been suspended. The Post Office declared that today is a holiday and there will be no deliveries. I know we sound like weenies, but it's all hills around here. You wouldn't want to drive anywhere, either.

The answer was provided by my ex-husband. He called wondering about arrangements for picking up youngest daughter for the weekend. I told him I thought it was too dangerous out there for him to come get her (it's close to a 30 mile round trip, complete with ferry rides), and then went on to gabble about my tuning problems (he's a musicologist). And he said, why don't you just find a tuning site online?

Tuning site online???? Who knew? My mandolin sounds lovely now, thank you :) And here is the link to the site I used, you can tune all manner of stringed instruments there:

Tonight, it's just me, my collection of best loved mandolin songs to play to (Cry Love by John Hiatt, my current favorite), unless my neighbor comes over and we bake.

Stay warm and tuneful :)



2Grandmas2 said...

So the first paragraph maintains it's indentations, but not the rest? Wah~

2Grandmas2 said...

Awwww. I love the memories. My piano was my mother's as well. Not as much history as your's, but I have 88 keys!
On-line tuning...who would've thought? Thanks to Richard from many who have out of tune instruments.