Poems, Pianos, & Perfectionists Part 2

Posted: October 13, 2011 in Piano

PICT1733

Image by leeyu_flickr via Flickr

Perfectionists

For some reason, this part of the prior blog was clipped (and lost) when I first wrote it. I am still new at this WordPress thing.

To continue, a perfectionist seeks to do something as well as it can be done.  It is fun to try. To various degrees, a perfectionist is compelled to continue in a task until it is done perfectly. There seems to be no harm in this unless the perfectionist becomes intolerant of what others do, what they believe, what they tolerate in others, and the methods they employ as they perform their tasks.

Piano tuners can be very critical of others. It is not difficult to be a piano tuner. It is very difficult to be a good one, and it is incredibly difficult to be a great one. There are a few schools in the nation, here and there, that teach piano tuning and technical skills, but I would say that 90% of what is known is past down word-of-mouth, gained from books or the web, and most often, a borrowed skill acquired from an unrelated craft, like carpentry or woodworking.

Piano tuning and repair is an art form.  There are standards that are exacting, but there are many ways to meet those exacting standards. Those standards are very forgiving too.  It would be nice if pianos were tuned regularly, but they do not have to be in order to be enjoyed. It would be nice if all actions were regulated every ten years, but it isn’t necessary.

The capstan felts should not have depressions in them, but if they do — well, that is okay. The leather knuckles should be perfectly round, but you know — that world of perfection only exists in brochures.

Piano maintenance attracts perfectionists.  Sit down at a piano, turn 218 pins and an about an hour, 88 notes are in tune. It is amazing. As I continue to work on the hammer installation and regulation, I am aware of the flaws in my work. I choose to correct things as I go in hopes of doing the job perfectly. But I also know that a piano is a very forgiving instrument. It will not hold me unfairly accountable, and it will remain very tolerant of my imperfection.

Life is a very forgiving instrument too.

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