Music that speaks to my melancholy

October 31, 2007

Several weeks ago, a friend asked what music speaks to my melancholy. At the time I was feeling quite melancholy indeed, realizing that my little family, in its entirety, wouldn’t be together for a couple of months.

Playing piano, while I’m certainly no virtuoso, has always been an outlet for me, and this time was no exception.

I will not be playing for a little while, however, because I can not seem to make the piano sound any kind of decent without a sustaining pedal. The piano repair man comes in two weeks to hopefully replace the pedal that Bab’s friend inadvertently dislocated from my much loved piano earlier this month when she chose to launch herself from the piano bench to the enormous bean bag across the room.


“What’s going on, girls?” I yelled from the bedroom where I was folding laundry, nervousness in my voice.

Together in perfect unison, the girls replied in that sing-song way that eight-year-olds have, “No-thing.”

“Oh, awesome,” I thought to myself. “No worries.” And I continued going about my business.

I didn’t even think to explore the potential ramifications of that very large crash until I sat down later at the piano to play and realized that my sustaining pedal was lying on the ground next to the piano, no longer attached and there was a rather large dent in the side of the bench. Fortunately, I am still bright enough to put two and two and one together.

It’s only a 100-year-old, hand-carved piano. I’m sure it will be fine. Just fine.

I, however, will not be able to take requests until then, but I have not forgotten that someday I am expected to play “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Every girl needs a challenge, yes?

In the meantime, Autumn Leaves, the music that spoke to my melancholy early last month when I was missing LJ.

I can post it today because he’s home playing trains with Jon and everything is, once again, well in my world.



  1. My sister and I were the master of “Nooooothing.”

    And I can’t wait for “Don’t Stop Believin'” day. 🙂

  2. Hi Jacque~ So funny! As to the song, oh, the pressure. I’m getting better at slow jazz tunes, but it may be a while before I can rock out. We’ll see. Encouragement can do quite a bit, you know? Hope you have a great Wednesday!

  3. I so profoundly envy you for being able to play piano. Not having done so in childhood is one of my regrets (along with 1,234 others), because I think it would be so pleasing to just be able to sit down and make my own music. I once played the violin (very, very badly) when I was a kid, and then gave up any musical aspirations.
    So, Angela-Beth, about musical pieces and melancholy. Tears come to my eyes very rarely, but certain bits of music will do that, and if I am down, it is not a good thing for me to go there. I mentioned the other day about Elgar’s Cello Concerto. But, that must be played by the inimitable and tragic Jacqueline du Pre. That puppy devastates me, especially after seeing the movie ‘Hillary and Jackie.’ Try it sometime, dear. You’ll be a basket case.

  4. I’m with Ian. One of the greater regrets I have is not learning how to play the piano when I was a kid and a sponge for that kind of stuff. We had one. My parents went to the whole ordeal of buying one, but it sat unused.

    The most I learned is how to play songs you’d hear from the organ player at a ballpark.

    But if you know someone in the market for “Mexican Hat Dance” … I’m their girl.

  5. Ian ~ Jon didn’t take up piano until just a couple of years ago. I think he’s only a year or two younger than you are, yes? Playing piano is an absolute joy for me, and listening to Jon play is nearly as wonderful. (He now spanks on the piano, while I just still toddle along.) Thank you for the movie recommendation. Winter is coming and I’m sure that I will need something like ‘Hillary and Jackie’ on more than one occasion.

    Jacque ~ As I told Ian, I don’t think it’s ever too late to learn (or improve). Jon is living proof. He loves it and has so much fun. I’ll be watching for “Mexican Hat Dance.” That sounds like a fabulous winter pick-me-up. Cheers!

  6. 1. Your playing is beautiful.
    2. That song would depress a hyena.

  7. Thanks, Pool! That song usually has a very jazzy feel to it when other people play it, but dammit if I wasn’t going to use it to speak to my melancholy that day. Yum. Feeling much better now, but those months without children suck. I figure that at least this way empty nest syndrome won’t be a problem!

  8. Nice rack. Er … Rachmaninoff. 🙂

    I now feel officially inspired to eat a Costco-sized bag of candy couch and frash on the couch in an utterly pleasantly melancholy sugar coma.

    “Autumn Leaves” always makes me think of Eva Cassidy. Because she does a beautiful version of it. And then I get to thinking about how sad it is that someone with such a beautiful voice was taken away far too young.

  9. Hi, Jim! So glad I could help with that. Eva Cassidy is tremendous. I’m sure that it was her version that got me playing the piece in the first place.

  10. PS You have been tagged. Was it good for you, too? Check out my blog to see if you’re interested.

  11. Thanks, Ian! I’ll go grab it. Thanks for thinking of me.

  12. Nice! Sometimes you just have to go with the mournful music. I am envious, though – I never quite got the hand of piano.

  13. Hi C ~ Sometimes you/I just really do. I was feeling so sad and being able to breathe it into the piano really helped. I play just well enough to entertain myself, but have found that I am really improving the more I play. Imagine that!

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