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On Being Sentimental About Pianos
#2931244 01/07/20 12:18 PM
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So I've posted a couple times about my recent piano purchase. This is about my old piano. Not the lousy 1980s era Schumann that I am trading in for a GX3. It's about the very nice Baldwin Hamilton console that I bought in 1990 for $3300 in Boulder, Colo. When I bought the Schumann two years ago they offered me a trade-in of $1500 for the Hamilton, and I turned it down. The Hamilton is a nice wood finish with a lot of fancy carvings, apparently everything that is not in in style now. So I told myself that I could sell it for more later on. But really, it was just hard to give up. I don't want to get all maudlin and say it is a member of the family, but being the only owner for 30 years, I am very attached to it.

Once in the 1990s when I was young and moved frequently and sometimes shared an apartment with others, I decided to sell it and get a nice digital piano that would be easy to move and that I could use headphones on. The Hamilton was put on consignment at the store I bought it at. Six months later I decided a digital was not working for me so I went to get it back. They had not even put it on the showroom floor. They told me they knew I would want it back.

And given all the mechanical problems I had with the Schumann, I did go back and play it now and then. So in one sense it was practical to keep. But I have no illusions that it will get much use once the GX3 arrives next week. It was always a bright-sounding piano, now it sounds almost harsh. And I decided that playing it rarely is not a good thing. A happy piano is a piano that get played regularly. That's why I investigated donating it to a school for young musicians. What better way about being happy at giving it up than knowing that it was helping young musicians. Unfortunately all the places that take pianos are a long ways from me.

So it ends up that the store that offered me $1500 as a trade-in the previous round, and which is now taking the Schumann as a trade-in, will also take the Hamilton on consignment for $1500. So I am going to take that offer.

I'm curious how sentimental others get about pianos they have had a long time. Are professionals more sentimental because playing is more a part of their life, or less sentimental because they play so many different pianos? Or does that make you more sentimental about the one at home? How many of you think it is just dumb and silly to be sentimental about a piano? I won't take it as an insult if you say so. I think one thing that makes pianos sentimental for me is that music is an emotional thing. Musical instruments played decently make emotion. Who wouldn't get sentimental about that?

Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931250 01/07/20 12:33 PM
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My personal experience: I learned on a very old Story & Clark console as a child. I loved that piano—certainly not because of the quality but all the memories of playing it( it was my inspiration for starting piano lessons because I loved to ‘play it ‘ just to see what different keys did)

I kept it until my tuner told me it could no longer be tuned and even then, I kept the bench 😊


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931258 01/07/20 01:17 PM
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I recently traded in my grandmother's console piano. She bought it new in the 70s. She was a professional player in a Dixieland jazz band. She's been gone for awhile now, but I am the only "musician" in the family and she was very happy to give it to me when she had to move into a care facility ~20 years ago. It was very hard to get rid of it, purely for sentimental reasons...it didn't sound great. I've had my new piano now for a few weeks and I don't regret my decision. Her sister...who is in her 90s and still plays piano at her retirement home daily (!!)...heard about my new piano purchase through my mom, and she was very excited for me. That made me feel good!


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931260 01/07/20 01:19 PM
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I've had seven acoustic pianos, between the time I started playing as a little kid and now. I remember thinking it was cool to have a new vertical piano (the 2nd piano during my childhood), and it was cool to have a baby grand piano in my teenage years (though I could hear its limitations by my early 20s).

As an adult, the only piano for which I've had a sentimental connection is the vertical piano in my profile, as it was the first 5-figure purchase I made with my own money, aside from my education. It felt like an accomplishment to pay it off, and I probably drove 500 miles during the piano search that resulted in its purchase. Although it's only played 2-3 weeks of the year and lives in a humidity controlled environment with a relative, I am somehow hesitant to part with it.

Every other piano in my life is a tool to do my job. Some do it more expressively than others, some are more reliable than others, some more stable than others, some were a better deal than others. I don't really get sentimental about pianos at this point.


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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931273 01/07/20 02:07 PM
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Yeah, but just when I swear that I am not going to get involved in anyones's sentimental piano story and just tell people we won't service old uprights I had a heartbreaking call from a customer this afternoon. Old upright. She has had it since she was 9. She is 82. An older tuner had taken the action out and could not get it back in to work. She had paid him to do repairs which she says were not done. So this afternoon one of my students is going over to try and get it back together for her. Thank God for FaceTime.


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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931278 01/07/20 02:20 PM
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I used to get sentimental about my pianos, but then I moved to America and had to leave everything behind. It's all still there, stored between friends and family, but I rarely think about it.

The piano my Grandfather bought me when I was 12, which was my second piano, I feel a little sentimental about it and then I play it, and I no longer feel sentimental. When I was 12 it sounded to me as good as a well prepared Steinway does to me now. It's not that it was ever the good, in fact it was always rather naff, but it's about experience and what you have to compare it to.

After I went to conservatoire and started visiting home, that piano was all of a sudden terrible. I thought that something had happened to it, but in truth something had happened to me.

Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931281 01/07/20 02:30 PM
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My wife's grandparents bought her a piano when she was a kid. It's a no-name upright (literally, there's not a name on the frame or anywhere on the case) that's 100+ years old and is likely Canadian built. It can no longer hold a tune as the pegs are shot and the keytops were destroyed by our then 3 year old with a Lincoln log. No one plays it, it sounds horrible and takes up valuable space in our home. However, because it was a gift from her late grandparents, we have now spent several thousand dollars moving it around from house to house as we've moved over the last 21 years.


Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545, R. Schumann Fantasy Dance, Joplin The Chrysanthemum
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO, Piano de Voyage
Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931287 01/07/20 02:43 PM
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I have owned a total of six pianos (two digitals, four acoustics). My first piano was a Yamaha digital. I was not at all sentimental about that. But I cried when my Yamaha U1 -- my first acoustic piano -- was carried into my house. And I cried when it was taken out of my house because I sold it when we moved back to the states. I loved that piano so much. I had it for nine years, worked with the same piano tuner the whole time, and it continued to sound better and better as the years went by. (We could probably also have a thread about sentimentality towards our piano tuners, he was the best! He took such good care of my piano! At each tuning, we would talk about the piano and how it should sound, he would have me play something first, then he'd tune, then he'd play for me, then I'd play, and then if there was anything one of us didn't like, he'd do a little more tweaking. Then after he was finished, we would sit and have tea and sweets before he left. If airfare from Japan wasn't so expensive, I'd have him tune my piano here too!)

Anyway, when I had to sell my Yamaha U1 (b/c it's kinda hard to take an upright piano with you on an airplane), I talked to my piano tuner about the best way to sell it. After pursuing different options, I ended up selling it to him because it was the easiest and he gave me what I thought was a fair price for it. He did tell me that he would then turn around and sell it to someone else, but I was fine with that.

Well, a few months later, I dropped him an email to check and see if he had sold my piano yet. No, he said, in fact he had decided that he would be keeping it! He said when he first brought it to his studio, he felt like he "couldn't" play it, that it was my piano and it wasn't ready for him. Then he said he started playing it a little bit each day. As a piano tuner, he said he usually didn't play very much (outside of work-related playing), but once he started playing my piano, he found himself playing it every day. He said he loved the sound of it and that it sounded the way it did because of how I'd played it (I replied that it sounded that way because of how he'd worked on it for me all those years). Anyway, he said he wanted to keep it and so he did. That made me very happy!

So, after that, my next piano was another Yamaha digital, and I had that until I finished my PhD. You wouldn't expect someone to feel sentimental toward a digital, but I did because that piano is what made it possible for me to continue with piano (even while pursuing a graduate degree in a completely unrelated field). I just sold that digital this past summer when I bought my grand, and I was surprised at how sad I was to see that piano go. It went to a family with a daughter who was taking piano lessons but prior to buying my digital, she hadn't had an instrument to practice on at home. The whole family came to my house to try it out, and the daughter was so sweet when she sat down to try it so I was really happy that it went to someone who would clearly enjoy having it.

The other two uprights I had were 1) a Baldwin Hamilton that I didn't own but was the "care taker" of for a few years. and 2) a Petrof upright that I bought after the owner of the Baldwin wanted it back. I enjoyed having these two instruments, but I was not at all sentimental about either of them -- the Baldwin because it wasn't even mine, and the Petrof because by the time I bought it, I knew I really wanted a grand, so it was sort of like a place-holder instrument for me.

Now I have had my Yamaha C2 for about 5 months and I am very attached to it, my first grand piano!! My heart sings when I come home and see it there in the living room. 3hearts

So yes, I definitely understand sentimentality towards pianos!

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 01/07/20 02:44 PM.

Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931288 01/07/20 02:45 PM
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The old piano I used to play is past it. It's been in the family for probably a hundred years. I'm sure that when I'm gone someone will take an angle grinder to it (and my current piano).

Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931296 01/07/20 02:59 PM
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I deeply appreciate good pianos.

That said, I get sentimental about people and dogs -- not inanimate objects.

When it's time to move on, I move on, whether the object is a car, a house, or a piano. I don't look back on that kind of decision.


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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931305 01/07/20 03:19 PM
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I don't get attached to inanimate objects, I used to when I was younger but I have learned over time that newer of same or better quality is always an improvement.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931311 01/07/20 03:35 PM
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A key to the first piano I ever owned is buried at Chopin's grave in Paris, and I still have its mate.

I'm not sentimental at all. 😂😂😂


Lisa

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Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931318 01/07/20 04:08 PM
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I squeezed every last drop of music out of the spinet that I started on as a child, it has problems not worth repairing, and I am going to have to decide what to do with it. But, yes, I am sentimental.

I miss what it WAS, and it still looks pretty. I like @dogperson's tactic of at least keeping the bench. HUM...


WhoDwaldi
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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
WhoDwaldi #2931328 01/07/20 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
I squeezed every last drop of music out of the spinet that I started on as a child, it has problems not worth repairing, and I am going to have to decide what to do with it. But, yes, I am sentimental.

I miss what it WAS, and it still looks pretty. I like @dogperson's tactic of at least keeping the bench. HUM...


I didn’t keep as a piano bench because I really needed an adjustable one but I took the hinged lid off and turned it into an elevated cat bed 😽


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
dogperson #2931332 01/07/20 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson

I didn’t keep as a piano bench because I really needed an adjustable one but I took the hinged lid off and turned it into an elevated cat bed 😽


I keep Christmas music in my hinged spinet bench and don't have any room left in my music drawers to relocate it, so an elevated cat bed is out of the question, but I like that idea! laugh


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931340 01/07/20 04:52 PM
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I keep all the tags, advertisements, bill of sale and receipts (no longer keep tuner receipts) and accessories. I put both keys to the Yamaha in the Yamaha’s padded straight bench when I traded it. I do keep the keyboards felt covers and dusting mitts from my last two Yamahas. My previous trade ins sold quickly and I’m sure my C3 will be sold by the end of the next big sale. The piano moving team owner assured me it would sell pretty quick because it was pristine. I know they’re inanimate objects but I enjoy learning their specific playing characteristics and use those things to improve my interpretations of pieces. I hope and pray that those pianos are enjoyed for years after I’m no longer here.


J & J
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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
Deann #2931361 01/07/20 06:01 PM
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I personally feel there is nothing wrong being sentimental about pianos or any object. Different things have diverse meanings to each person.



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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
NobleHouse #2931365 01/07/20 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
I personally feel there is nothing wrong being sentimental about pianos or any object. Different things have diverse meanings to each person.


This.

I have always liked the Japanese approach of valuing the tools we use, and recognizing that our job is to take care of them, and their job is to allow us to do whatever the task at hand it (here, playing the piano). When seamstresses get new needles (after the old ones are too dull to be of use) local shrines have a ceremony where you pay your respects to the no-longer useful needle. The Shinto view, of course, is that these items are not, in fact, inanimate.

So while I might not go that far, I recognize that despite the fact that these items are "inanimate" from a standard (and modern) point of view, what we are able to do with, and thanks to, these objects most definitely transcends that inanimaticity.


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
ShiroKuro #2931398 01/07/20 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
I personally feel there is nothing wrong being sentimental about pianos or any object. Different things have diverse meanings to each person.


This.

I have always liked the Japanese approach of valuing the tools we use, and recognizing that our job is to take care of them, and their job is to allow us to do whatever the task at hand it (here, playing the piano). When seamstresses get new needles (after the old ones are too dull to be of use) local shrines have a ceremony where you pay your respects to the no-longer useful needle. The Shinto view, of course, is that these items are not, in fact, inanimate.

So while I might not go that far, I recognize that despite the fact that these items are "inanimate" from a standard (and modern) point of view, what we are able to do with, and thanks to, these objects most definitely transcends that inanimaticity.



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Re: On Being Sentimental About Pianos
j&j #2931432 01/07/20 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
I keep all the tags, advertisements, bill of sale and receipts (no longer keep tuner receipts) and accessories. I put both keys to the Yamaha in the Yamaha’s padded straight bench when I traded it. I do keep the keyboards felt covers and dusting mitts from my last two Yamahas. My previous trade ins sold quickly and I’m sure my C3 will be sold by the end of the next big sale. The piano moving team owner assured me it would sell pretty quick because it was pristine. I know they’re inanimate objects but I enjoy learning their specific playing characteristics and use those things to improve my interpretations of pieces. I hope and pray that those pianos are enjoyed for years after I’m no longer here.

I still have a key from my old Kawai grand that I had for over 50 years and an old photograph of
my old Seiler upright ,my aunt is playing it ! She gave me that piano as a child ,and that was how
I came to love the piano.(as an a musical instrument )

ShiroKuro ,
I appreciate what you wrote ! I have never heard those thoughts before ,but I find Truth in them !

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