Grand Pianos as Furniture

by Arthur Daniels

The 5'8" grand piano sits as a hidden statue lovingly hand-crafted a century ago by a team of master instrument builders using a variety of fine woods, metal and ivory, once a thing of beauty, once a source of inspirational outlet to someone but now nothing but a convenient flat surface to others that attracts all manner of flat bottomed things that turn a fine musical instrument into a bizarre catch-all that more often than not features framed photos of every wedding, graduation portrait, or family vacation from the past forty years, with one central vase of flowers (sometimes real) serving as a backdrop. However, beneath the crocheted lace tablecloth, beneath the photographs, the stack of books, the bowl of car-keys, sits 800 lbs of neglected musical potential that if uncovered and provided with the required professional attention to make it playable, would unlock its power to produce beauty and hang it suspended as an ever-expanding sphere of outwardly radiating sound waves. No one in the house is able to play or even remember just who was the last person to actually sit at the keys and perform, working both the fingers and the feet on the pedals creating subtle colors and tonal nuance for all or no one to hear. A small child reached under the hanging cloth, slightly raised the key-cover, and striking one lower-middle note was repelled by the extreme discordant growl of neglect. Don't touch that! screamed the child's mother. It's not a toy!


Arthur Daniels, 58, married with two daughters and four grandchildren, has been everything from a zoo keeper to a sea cook on an oceanographic research vessel. He used to play a lot of Chopin, but since his left hand no longer cooperates, he now plays a lot more like Thelonious Monk: floppy left hand outlining the harmonic structure of the music. Despite his medical issues, he's just fine, and reinventing himself daily. He is the author of The Brothers Phillips. Check him out on Helium.