May 17-19, 2016
After my short but full stay in Cartagena, I flew into New York City. I was excited to return to the Floating Piano Factory home base, catch up with friends, and re-discover the beauty of this town. While I was there, I stayed with friends in Long Island, a couple that I came to know through a long chain of music-related moments…
Okay, so there were actually a few more things that happened before I left Arequipa.
I returned to La UNSA to work with the music students once again. This time, we pulled apart a piano so they could see how it’s assembled. How the various pieces all fit together.
This is a rare opportunity. As a student, you don’t usually get the chance to take a piano completely apart, because once you open it up and start poking around, it can get really delicate. There’s a lot you have to learn in order to explore without doing any damage.
But I’ll come back to that.
One of the first important steps in grand piano action regulation is the adjustment of glide bolts. The glide bolts sit at four points distributed lengthwise along the center rail of the grand piano action. They have a tuning-pin-shaped protrusion towards their top, a central threaded portion that allows for up-down adjustment, and smooth rounded bottom. The bottom of the glide bolt both provides support for the center rail of the action and allows the piano to easily glide from left to right when the una cord pedal is depressed. Continue reading
I’ve recently returned from some extensive travels over several weeks. This is why it’s been quiet on the blog for a while, but now we’re back online, and there are many new stories to share. New adventures, new friends, and of course, new pianos.
The next several posts will cover the entire journey, city by city. After departing from Arequipa in early June, I stopped in Lima, Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, New York, Philadelphia and Hong Kong—then returned by retracing my path.
In this set of video tutorials Macho and Neway from Floating Piano Factory in Hong Kong show us how to replace hammer return spring cords on a Yamaha U1 upright piano. It is quite common for these cords to wear out and break. In this piano, virtually all of them have become useless! Continue reading
While staying at la Casa de Melgar I met a painter, accompanied by a group of unusual tourists. This painter takes travelers on tours throughout the world, showing them how to document their experiences through artwork: instead of snapping photos, they paint pictures.
He discussed with me how you can have a richer sense of a place if you take the time to sit and paint it. You’re there for an extended period of time, and can watch the scene change as the hours pass. For example, he had just come from Cuzco where he had been painting the Plaza de Armas over several days’ sessions. Just before he finished his last sitting, a group of school children arrived, and they formed two rows as they waited for some activity. The geometry of it was such a perfect addition to the scene already in process—so he quickly sketched them into the piece before they dispersed.
The experience of a place is never captured in one photo, one video, one conversation, or one story. A memory lives with depth in time, space, and levels of awareness.
You don’t know what will come into frame if you take that extra time to watch and listen.
For the month of March I’ve been living in and exploring a hotel directly across the street from the Centro Cultural. Staying here at la Casa de Melgar has not only made it easier to prepare for the concert and keep up with my work at the CC, it’s turned out to be an adventure all of its own.
Some hotels here are absolutely magical. The rooms and hallways are dotted with antique artifacts, desks, grand wardrobes, and ornate ceramic tiles. Garden spaces feature sillar walls of deep blue and ochre, draped with a vibrant array of hanging flowers. Among all this, neglected but charming pianos await discovery, and new friends with rare stories come out of the woodwork. I will show you the magic of these places. I will tell you of a fascinating cafe owner who was manufacturing bombs but discovered a latent urge to instead manufacture hand-made pasta. I also mixed with a far-flung group of archaeologists who experience the quiet joy of handling the objects that the ground has kept for us to discover—and which add to the story of who we are.