Pianos: Arty facts

 I call this the 'Finger Maths Room'. They're hothousing triple threats according to my calculations. Dancy-prancy schools favour short uprights facing into the room. Note the soundboard and ribs running diagonally behind the vertical backposts.

The soundboard is formed in such a way that the grain follows the general direction of the treble bridge. Sound travels about twice as fast with the grain as against it. This results in the sound not being delivered uniformly to the entire soundboard. To compensate for this uneven delivery, ribs of the same material (spruce) are attached at fixed intervals to its underside.

Jobs at the Art Gallery turn me into an interactive 'happening' creating crazy soundscapes where discord comes into concord. Well, really I'm just the piano tuner. As I work I'm able to people-watch, and I love it. Folk engage and I'm happy to come to the edge of the stage and chat (briefly, so I can get my actual task done). I've been known to photograph the innards of the piano on request because the public must not take to the stage. I'll be trying to describe cross-stringing or somesuch. If anyone attempts to clamber up (apart from me) security will instantly swoop. Hey, practise 'social distancing' y'all, Goughdammit!!

I get a good look at the nearest mural.

Kentaro Yoshida's Night procession of the hundred demons really is the cat's pyjamas.

Galllery tunings are invariably during opening hours. Punters queueing for the latest visiting exhibit are (un)surprisingly noisy. I'm used to burying my head in the piano and pushing though certain levels of adversity as an aural tuner. Sure, I'd love pin-drop silence, but it ain't happening here.

Sort of snooty.

Let's play a round of 'Orange or Yorrick'.

Another in the series Messy musos of the Renaissance.

I gaze at an embroidered artefact as I tune.

Bow down at the merciful flaming penis-pot of Jesus.

It gives a whole new meaning to this phrase (a window in the same church).

This piano client is an artist. Her works blend nature with elements of the human body. Within the rock shapes are possible pulmonary parenchymas. 

Froggy fissures.

The artist's office. Are you suffering chess pains?

Oooh, a peek into the artist's studio...

...but the pièce de résistance - the artist's amelioration of stained grout in the bathroom. It's wonderful that she has the skills to return the grout to its original hideous hue. Guests were directed to use the other of the twin vanity basins.

Hey, everyone's a critic.

This warehouse space is a private residence.

Beyond the glass is a leafy paradise. Venturing toward it I realise one wall is a roller door. It's the garage. I, too, would love to build elevated masonry planter boxes and go green in my garage (if I had a garage).

What musical murder has occurred here? Don't shoot me, I'm just the piano tuner.

I love it all (but need none of it at home).

A different house. I snatch a moment to do a bit of admin (scheduling appointments and answering correspondence) on a shared job. I've settled in while my partner in piano-pampering completes the tuning.

I'm obsessed with writing lists and schedules with pen and paper. I use the calendar and many features on the phone, of course, but nothing beats paper for big-picture planning and processing. I cannot commend it enough. I remember so much more. I nag everyone to make lists. Hey, what's that concealed artwork behind me.

I sneak a peek. Not censorship, but protection from the light that fills the lovely space.

I don't know much about art, but I know what I hate.

From the series Surly teens of the Renaissance.

I don't specifically hate the flowing-skirted surly teen, but this strange dated space (an ample room in a private home) repels (me, at least) with its over-supply of pastel colours, mismatched knick-knacks and dark textured internal brickwork. This view from the piano made every chair seem a commode. Nauseating. Let's hope the performance transported the audience.

A different space, again private, but designed for house concerts. The curved form of the piano lid confirms that (again) one plunges deep, deep into the art near the piano whilst executing the trance-inducing task of tuning. Witness Myxomatosis mist by Rupert Bunny. Kidding.

Kudos to Mr and Mrs Miffy, the Bunny Room has been constructed to provide a very stable environment for the piano. The magical 42 per cent relative humidity (perfect for a piano) is bang-on here. A piano can handle higher levels of humidity (but not too high) but what is important is minimising the changes and fluctuations. The more stable and unvarying the environment, the better for the life of the tuning and the life of the piano itself. But there's some sinister fiddling going afoot on that vase.

Deep, deep into the art I go.

What a delight. I was reminded of what a spectacular city I live in. Wow, what an awful lot of boat people. But seriously, I was lulled for a while into forgetting that the powers-that-be are greedily raping this city by prioritising private tollways and inappropriate over-development at every turn. 

Now there's a piece of infrastructure you could set your watch to.