All I can hear is the melody of the black piano in the corner of the room. But, I suppose that’s the point of musical instruments, to fill the gap, fill a kind of void where silence sits, waiting to be taken, like a victim; taken away from the situation and the world, as quickly as it comes into it. It’s a sleek piano, I can see my somewhat distorted reflection looking back at me. I’m not playing, just enjoying the tune and waiting for it to develop to its climax.
It’s a delicate instrument I find, something that needs to be caressed, and handled with care. More so however, it needs to be played in exactly the manner the performer wishes to speak to it. It’s one of the few great instruments which relishes its own versatility; something which can reflect anger and joyfulness alike, it can portray a sadness in its softness, just in the way it can reflect happiness in its staccato.
As I wait in the room, I start to wonder if the piano fits in with the general mood and what the room is trying to convey. There’s a sophistication to pianos, more so than any other instrument; I have keen memories of sitting down at my grandparents, watching Tom and Jerry (this has a relevance, don’t worry). The episode where Tom is so desperately trying to play a movement on his grand-piano, and Jerry is doing his best but to ruin Tom’s moment. It’s a connection I have with all pianos. Despite what’s going on between the two of them, the audience’s gaze doesn’t come off the piano. They’re transfixed.
I am also transfixed with this piano, but not its player, it’s puppet-master. The room is white: the floor, the ceiling and the doors, the table linen and the way in which the player is dressed. The piano is a jet glossy black, as if it’s purpose was to be noticed, to take your thoughts away for a brief moment in time, and delve into the deepest corners of your mind, searching for your Tom and Jerry moment, your earliest memories that have shaped the way you view the piano.
This isn’t to say, that I view the piano as a playground for a cat and a mouse, but something which draws attention to itself, unknowingly. It is the unknowingness of the attention it draws that I am attracted to in this desolate and blank room, it’s ability to fill the void of silence and blankness is mesmerising, relaxing and intriguing. How, sometimes, I almost feel as if I am in the wrong place at the wrong time, I also feel as if I am in exactly the right place, at precisely the right point in time. Here, sitting and observing, delving into the overwhelming sound of the piano is as personal for me, as it is the player.
I get up, slowly, as if not to disturb a fisherman with their gaze fixed on their yellow buoy gently hovering above the shimmering waterline. Slowly, I make my way to the door, again, just as careful not to disturb the player, who is mesmerised by the touch and the response of the machine. Opening the door, I think, this is a moment in time, one that, until the next time I view a piano, or indeed such contrasting instruments in a room, I will have to be content with my own memories, rather than living the experience it has given me for a few, fleeting minutes.