“There’s an upright piano of the corner of your street”

Was the text I received from a neighbor who knows that a) I’m a musician and b) I absolutely love sampling and recording strange and unusual sounds. So I walked down 3 houses to the corner and sure enough there was this old abandoned beauty:

found_piano

 

I looked around and saw no one around. And at that moment, the abandoned piano became a found piano. Just then, another neighbor was waking his dog and asked “What are you doing Jon?”. I replied “I think I just found a piano!”. He asked if it worked (I hadn’t played it yet), so I lifted the cover which revealed all of the keys intact. I did a short run through of the verse of “Let It Be” and in all of its out-of-tune glory, the piano actually worked. It had a nice resonance to it, and for a brief moment I was a street musician.

He was kind enough to lend me a hand (and his appliance dolly) and we moved it to my property. As the French Knight in the Holy Grail said “It’s quite nice”.

found_piano2

Like most of the found instruments I’ve found or have been given, I’ll cart this found piano into my studio and sample it, in all of it’s out of tune, scary nightmarish greatness. I’ll do some John Cage treatments to it too and see what kind of percussion magic I can conjure up.

 

 

A great reminder of how great pop songwriting can be. Learning from classics like this shows how 3 minutes and 14 seconds can take you to unexpected melodic and harmonic places without sounding forced or erudite. I love how Elton John starts the verse on the ii chord!

So without further ado, here’s how to play Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on piano: