Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Tune Vol 24 - Church Music Edition

Today's Tuesday Tune is brought to you by a broken piano.

On Sundees I play the piano for the little folk at my church. It's quite fun. The most fun I've had at church ever. That's aside from when I had the Lost is Jacob gathering revelation, but that only took, like, three meetings to extract. I get to do the piano thing every week.

A few weeks ago, the piano playing gig became not so fun. The piano broke. It started with a squeaky sustain pedal that squawked every time it was pressed. It was loud. Louder than the lowest G. I cannot compete with louder than the lowest G. So I contact the authorities to inform them of the squeak. Told 'em my piano at home had the same problem and it's not a difficult procedure. He said, "Okay. I'll put it into the book."

The next week I returned to my hiding spot in the back of the room to begin the quiet-time music. I went to press that squeaky pedal first to see if it was still squeaky. It wasn't squeaky! I was so happy - except now the pedal didn't work at all! The pedal didn't engage the sustaining mechanism necessary for quiet-time music. Quiet-time music is impossible without that pedal - it all comes out sounding like Pizzicato Five. (Did you watch that video? Someone should buy that girl some groceries!)

I returned to the authorities and explained the situation. They said other piano players who share the building have complained as well. The next week I returned and the piano was still broken. The next week after that I returned and the piano was still broken. The next week after that, I returned to find a new old piano - meaning it was a new piano for the room, but definitely a piano older than me (that's old) and most definitely older than Spouse (who is even older than me.)

This new old piano had a sustain pedal that worked but it was annoyingly out of tune. I get my piano tuned once a year. Fer Christmas. It's like a Christmas present to myself except when my mom pays for it and then it's like a Christmas present from her. Having the piano tuned is a big priority. You keep that piano in tune and it will sound great for many years.

Well having the piano tuned is not a priority for my church, nor is repairing a piano. I found out later that the new old piano I was playing was one that was swapped from another room. Now someone else gets to deal with the broken piano. When I inquired about this swapping decision, the authorities told me there wasn't any money in the budget for piano repairs.

What the? Oh my mother would shame you! I shame you! No money for repairs? Cancel one of your Scout Camps I say! Let the youth stay home from ice skating! Make the Will-Eat society go without food fer once! This is a living, breathing, working piano that we're talking about!

My Sister's church, another affiliation altogether, has working, cared for instruments. And get this: My Sister's church pays their musicians. With cash. They pay the Sister each week to belt a tune or two. Heck, they even have some "anonymous" donor handing out specific cash just so the Sister will sing in church each week. (I say anonymous with quotes because we all know it's our mom again who's paying. Kidding! Had to say kidding to avoid the lightning.)

Now don't be thinking I've lumped myself into the same category as my Sister Opree, the Opera Star. There's really no comparison. I'm no musician. Opree's the musician. Classically trained and all. So naturally, I don't expect my church to pay me to play. Naturally I get to pay them. (Kidding again! Had to say kidding again to avoid the lightning again.)

Opree, with all of her musical intellect, can be quite intimidating. If you want to talk music with her, better bring yourself one of those music dictionary thingees to keep up for she'll throw all sorts of swanky terms your way. And then be prepared to stare blankly and say "uh hum" a lot.

During one of our swanky-term-blank-stare music conversations, she brought up Coldplay. Mostly she brought up Coldplay because her mePod was offering up a serving of Coldplay. I started to mumble something about Coldplay not being among my favorites because they need a different singer and the songs lack pizazz and they take too long to get to the point of the tune. But then I expressed how I do like that many Coldplay songs make me feel stuff. Many of those tunes bring calm and content with a side of groovy soothe.

"It's the chord progressions they use," Opree says. "Those chord progressions are genius. Coldplay uses augmented sixth chords or Neapolitans. Chopin uses them often. And Beethoven began to use augmented sixths towards the end of his life. That's when that period controversy started with Beethoven. His music spanned the Classical Period, which used traditional modulations, and the Romantic period which didn't care so much about modulating everything exactly."

"Oh" I said with that blank stare. Also notice that she refers to Chopin in the present. As if he's not dead. She just might have a problem bigger than my yarn problem. Don't you think? That Opree thinks Chopin is still alive! Someone should send her my Friday Flashback of 2/29/2008.

Anyway, this got me thinking. I want my church to commission some tunes from the Coldplay folks. They could get Coldplay to write the chord progressions, Janice Kapp Perry to fill in the extra notes and Craig Jessop to arrange these songs for organ and giant choir.

Questions is, who should write the lyrics? A tuffy, fer sure. While you ponder the answer to this question, please enjoy selections from Coldplay's Groovy Soothe repertoire:

Warning Sign
Swallowed In The Sea
Strawberry Swing
A Message
Don't Panic
High Speed
We Never Change
Cemeteries of London
Fix You
Twisted Logic


Winder said...

Maybe you could put up flags on the lawns of your neighborhood during the winter months. That fundraiser might get you an new piano. He He!

megan said...

okay...this is freaky...not only am I also the little ones music maestro (my specialty is the fastest "head, shoulders, knees 'n toes" in town :) BUT I just clicked over to my google reader in between printing out my first sheet music for my 6 year old who's been begging for some piano lessons. (Mary had a little lamb should work right?) Figure I can string her along for a few months before we go official :)
No worries 'bout out of tune piano with the Clavinova (although the disco beat is a little annoying)

You're always like a week ahead of me!

Lars said...

Kingdom Come, The Scientist, and Green Eyes are my Coldplay favorites.

I am quite surprised they won't fork up the dough for repairs. Nothing worse than an out of tune piano. My mom makes sure her piano is tuned annually even if she hasn't been giving the keys love. Isn't that what tithing money is for?

Sparks said...

Gosh, why don't you just learn to tune a freaking piano already?

And if Opree (so very, very clever that name for her; I get it!) so musically fantastic, make her tune the piano.

Yeah, that's a good idea.

Jessica said...

I have come to better appreciate Coldplay over the years. I think I was a little anti-Coldplay when they were super-popular with "Yellow." But now I really like them. That Chris Martin is great on the piano.

Staci said...

Hmmm. I just got called to the same calling . . . the calling that I have been waiting for. My first day playing was to have been the first Sunday in the new year . . . when all the little kids would have new classes and new teachers. And to top that, we had a brand new building with brand new pianos. When I walked into the building, it even smelled brand new and I think there was even a little sawdust still on the gym floor. But when I sat down at the piano I was sorely dissapointed when the piano was very out of tune. Can you imagine? Brand new. Never been played. Well, I guess really NEVER been played, huh. I'm pretty sure that nobody in charge is gonna care but I'm gonna tell people anyway in hopes that something will happen. Doesn't our church have a special contract with someone or something? Think how many pianos the church owns and don't tell me they never need to be tuned.

Maybe I should got into the business and get a special contract.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

I'm thinking of starting my own church. We'll meet once a week on Sunday morning (after we ride/run/ski) at someone's house who has a really nice piano (if I'd thought of this earlier, WE'D have the nice piano by now, but still have some saving to do for that one). I'll brew a nice big pot of coffee, another of chai, and another of hot cocoa. Then we'll just sit in big comfy leather chairs or sofas with nice porcelain mugs of the aforementioned beverages in hand and listen to those with the skills play a lovely tune on the piano. We may listen to some recorded music once in a while as well.

If someone's heard a nice story about being kind to a neighbor, they can share it, but none of this "God helped me find my carkeys" crap. Because God doesn't care about your carkeys and sure isn't going to help you find them whether you prayed about it or not when there are bigger problems in the world he's obviously unprepared to intervene in.

There will be no plate passing, but if folks want to pitch in for the piano tune and needed repairs as they arise, that's OK.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Oh, and I would add "Lost," both versions, to your Coldplay playlist. I think it's the best song they've written.

I also don't think you need a lyricist for your commissioned music, because there is plenty of good poetry out there that needs only be set to a tune.

Lars said...

I think Ski Bike Junkie is just sucking up since we all know you have this steamy love affair bordering on the line of junkie with Lost right now, thus why they suggested "Lost" be on the list...oh irony...

rabidrunner said...

Hey Megan, I'm not the fastest head-shoulders-knees-n-toes in my ward. By a long shot. But I'm working on it! It's tuff. I'm impressed that your little one is begging YOU for lessons. At our house it's the other way around.

In regards to the budget part, I will cut them some slack for it is a building budget, not necessarily a ward budget. Perhaps it was lost in the overlap somehow? Who knows.

Lars, babe, do you have Green Eyes? Is that why you like that tune?

Staci I think they have to let the piano sit in a new place for a while to acclimate before they an tune it. I hope so. BUT, you are on to something. We should tune pianos and get a contract with The Church. Then we could make some serious cash off of the religious affiliation like so many others do.

That Junkie sure is a clever Junkie--commissioning plans for the Church of the Junkies and sneaking in a tune about my favorite TV show/time waster.

Lars said...

Hazel eyes...so sometimes they are in fact green. My urine is sometimes yellow and note I refrained from listing "yellow" as a favorite. It took a lot of restraint. I just am a sucker for acoustic guitar and that is one of their few songs where Mr. Martin didn't sound whiny to me.