Pianos: On the dot

Diligent de-dotting of dampers.

Pre-de-dotting. I'm not tickled by these tittles.

Lisa: What's the deal with that dot?
Bart: Yeah, can you see out of it?

The piano has been prepared for plucking of the strings. No technician is enamoured with unorthodox uses of a piano. The dots are to assist the musicians to pluck the right notes. This will be a plucking good show.

Sometimes when you groan and cast your eyes skyward the view is spectacular. This is the State Theatre in Sydney.

Duet for piano and fiddle-leaf.

Beside the Ficus Stradi-who-vius was a table tennis table with ping-pongery in full flight. 

Ping-pong balls in the piano?

 That's a paddlin'.

Uber Central has been temporarily tricked out with a piano. When the drivers lob in to eat, chill and play table tennis, they'll be treated to delicate tinkling. It's akin to being graced by the string quartet in the executive washroom.

Gallery moments. I call this installation Piped Music. I have no idea what it's actually called.

The scene as I leave the gallery. The piano is allegedly in performance position, extreme stage right, but one imagines that performers or professional busybodies may determine that they want to move it. If there are any folk milling around who seem connected with the event, I'll give them tips about nursing the legs over joins in the staging. Here the modular stage is not even coupled together. There's no one to talk to, so I document the scene and hope there isn't a memeworthy mishap.

Another gallery installation?

No, just the scene near the piano at some rich bugger's party.

The famed mirror in my room at the Ikon Hotel (Burnie, Tasmania) was easily 14 feet tall. It has become the gold standard for random mirror references.

As I head toward the rear of a snooty house trying to find someone to let them know I have finished the tuning, I find this almost-as-large speciment waiting to be installed.

It's taller than the doorway and must weigh half as much as the piano.

What's this odd object? A spaghetti maker?

I'm happy to use that first phrase around open pianos, 'keep hands away from moving parts'. I have less call for 'do not touch the heated bed'.

Creality. Merged words 'r' them. I imagine an untrustworthy 3D printer leading to some sort of Mickey Mouse mayhem (as wrought in The Sorcerer's Apprentice in the film Fantasia).

I'm no Star Wars fan, but I grew a Jar Jar Binks quite by accident.

I was beavering away tuning when the client came forth to amuse me with this sign. I insisted she pose with it, then let me select from its menu items.

When I next serviced the flagship piano of the event hire fleet, the dots were still there. It's not a good look for the piano. It screams 'anything goes' or 'have a fiddle'. After tuning I dedicated 45 minutes of my own time (gratis) to removing them. I feared that if someone else had a go at fiddling with dampers trying to de-dot (or just fiddling) they would likely cause more problems by misaligning them.

The dots weren't too hard to remove from atop the agraffes. Removal from the dampers (including cleaning off the residue) was more painstaking.

A triumph. Worth it.

While the Caped Regulators work on her piano, a classroom music teacher spends the day making a poster to brighten her classroom. I insist she pose with it.

While she weilded the round-tipped scissors and the bottle of clag with the brush-in-the-lid, our program for the piano was extensive.

It is receiving fifty new bass strings and tuning pins.

The pressure bar is being reinstalled. The strings are not yet at full tension.

Not all bass bridge sections in upright pianos have pressure bars. They may have agraffes or more commonly an arrangement like this (above).

Contrast that with the treble bridge of the same piano. We see a bearing point which separates the speaking (sounding) part of the string from the length that travels up to the tuning pins. The pressure bar ensures that the strings have firm contact with the bearing point.

An eye die.

The end loops of the bass strings which hook onto the hitch pins are called 'eyes'. Treble wires also sometimes require eyes. I recall learning about French and German eyes (variations in how they are wrapped). Google reckons this is an English eye, this may well be so. Perhaps it's like how Manuel is not from Barcelona when Fawlty Towers is broadcast in Spain. In Spanish he's Italian. I digress.

Two words later 'brunch' has become 'brunh'. That's a rapid decline in literacy.

For me brunch is immortalised in this famous Simpsons scene, Marge with her bowling instructor Jacques.

Jaques: Meet me tomorrow for brunch.
Marge: What's brunch?
Jaques: You'd love it. It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don't get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal.

A real-life Simpsons reference as my housemate celebrates his op shop finds. Superb winter clothing items and a brand new pair of Duff slippers. Excellent. 

'Slippers' is a colloquial term for piano tuning pins that have inadequate torque. "More slippers than a Chinese vestibule." said I, of a piano I was condemning.


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