I take piano lessons in Rome. I go to my piano teacher’s studio once a week. As he is a pianist and harpsichordist, he teaches both piano and harpsichord. I am “privileged” to see (and sometimes touch) the harpsichord, though it is only the piano on which I actually take lessons. In his studio, I always feel as if I am in a music museum.
One day, when I went to his studio, I found a very unique-shaped piano that I had never seen before. He explained it was a 19th-century piano that he had bought in Paris. The piano looks like a box when closed. It is lower than a contemporary piano, and is strung horizontally. It has fewer keys than a contemporary piano. To the right of the keyboard, a music note stand is fixed, which, according to him, is for another instrument player. I was thinking about the musical instrument with which the piano used to be played in the 19th century.
This is a contemporary piano that I play during the lessons. I still remember that in my first lesson, my piano teacher told me to play while being deeply mindful of what emotions the composer wanted to express, why the piece has been played and loved by so many people over centuries, what you feel from the piece and how you want to express it…. Playing classical pieces which have lived for centuries, I imagine how life must have been in the period when they were composed as well as the emotions, personality, and life of the composers. Playing the piano makes me think not only of composers but also those who are no longer physically with me. For me, a piano provides a nourishment for my heart, which is itself an instrument to take me on a long journey of retrospection in my life.