a brief aside about piano strings…

A Public Service Announcement dedicated to the many many people who keep finding my site by searching “can you remove a piano harp without removing the strings” :

My answer: Don’t try to remove a piano harp without removing the strings unless you’ve got a penchant for tetanus and good health insurance.


Music : interrupted / Piano : repurposed ~ { Part I }

You may’ve read about my piano stool rescue a few of a months ago. I rescued that piano stool from 100+ of time that’d split the wood and corroded the metal. That turned out lovely enough but according to my 100-year-old piano, I’m a bigger enemy than time ever was. See, I have {had} a 100-year-old piano that I procured about 10 years ago. I loved that piano. It was my elan vital. I wrote many songs on that piano. That piano followed me when I got married and moved an hour away from home. When it came to live at my new house it was even prominently featured in the kitchen. Long story short, it didn’t last long here. Faced with having to do some heavy-duty construction at the house last year , I was forced to move it into another room and it was then that gravity & I ganged up on this lovely antique piano and ~ I’m sure you can anticipate where this is going~ I’m just fortunate that I was able to get most of myself out of the way as all 500+ pounds of it came crashing down with the most amazing sound I’ve ever heard and rendered the piano unplayable. There’s nothing like hearing a piano crash onto the floor.  Sotto Voce: Don’t invite me to a piano moving party as this is the second piano that I’ve had a hand in dropping. I’m 2 for 2.

Long winded explanation to say that I busted up my one and only piano and didn’t have the heart to throw it away. But what to do with a quarter ton piano in the middle of a room?

Taking out the piano's 'guts' and will reassemble the 'bones'. I removed every part that I possibly could to lighten the weight.

Taking the piano's harp (not pictured) out was by far the most difficult part but it contributed the biggest 'weight loss'. I wanted to remove the harp from the chassis but I simply could not get it to budge so I took the whole part out. The biggest casualty was the wall that I gouged when I dropped that piece. In my estimation it's got to be at the very least, 300 lbs.

I harvested some of the piano's vital organs.

More harvested vitals: I decided to use the pedals and instead made some interesting home decor out of them. We tore down our well-worn fence a short time ago so I decided to attach the pedal to a piece of the old fence, use a piano string as a hanger and, wah-lah. I'll be blogging about this project too ~~~ eventually

Putting the bones back together. I was going to get rid of the keys and have the lid permanently closed but I realized that that's where all the drama is! The contrast of those 88 black and white keys. I cleaned them up and put them back in and screwed them in as such that they're permanently fixed in the playable position.

Under the hood: Not too much! I decided that I would turn this into a armoire for our television so we can hide it when it's not being watched. I hinged the bottom portion so it can be used as a cupboard/storage area. I'll be building some shelves that will fit nicely into that large bottom space. It can be used to store/hide a DVD player, video game consoles, DVD's, etc... This is plan A. If Plan B doesn't work out then my plan is to turn it into a bookshelf. What do you think it'll work best as? I do have a plan C actually. I thought if I can't make all of this repurposing work out, I would make it a garden feature. I think it'd be so fun set it in the backyard to grow flowers all around it and in it, letting vines creep around it's legs. It could be really magical! Part of me hopes that plan A & B don't work out as I think it'd be stunning in a garden.

Here's the cabinet I've built to go underneath the keyboard. As mentioned above I put hingest on the bottom piece of wood so it acts as a door to hide everything underneath. The wood is all leftover scraps from a fence we built last year that've just been sitting there, begging to be used. If anything ignites my creativity, I will not throw it away (sorry about that Mrs. Hair Tonic & Horse Feathers). I've inherited that lovely trait/liability from my father, Mr. Hair Tonic & Horse Feathers Sr.

So that’s where I am at this very moment. So far 100% of the materials I’ve used for this project have been things I’ve already had and I’ve spent all of $0. Also, I’ve cut all the pieces with a handsaw, not a skill saw. I’ve come to REALLY appreciate every cut that’s gone into this because of it. I may’ve gained a muscle or two in the process.

Part II will be coming soon as I try to hone my not-so-handymanly skills and get a television into that old box. I do love the past but for a project like this: thank goodness for flat screens. Stay tuned!

this is what it sounds like when strings cry.

I’m listening to Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” and Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, 4th movement on a 2-song-loop today and I just want to leave work early,  go sit in the wilderness by myself and weep or something because I just can’t handle these songs. These songs are unhuman, beautiful and otherworldly. Have a listen and see how your day goes:

Composed in 1936, this tense and haunting melody is one of the most famous pieces of modern classical music. There are choral versions of it out there that are just as heavenly.

As a side note, Tchaikovsky’s 6th, 4th movement is one of my favorite pieces of music, if not my most favorite. 9 days after the premiere of this symphony he was dead.  Traditionally his cause of death was cholera but many, including myself, speculate that it was suicide. I think it because you can hear the will to live slip out of him in this piece.

Musica Demostraciónes de la Daniel Jacob

I’ve not really been even thinking about music for the last few years but interestingly enough alot of my posts have to do with music. Hmmm. I wonder if the inner me is telling something to the outer me.

Anyways. I’ve had it in mind, since my epic failure at this February’s FAWM, to post some of the demos I’d put up on YouTube. There’s  a lot more but I tried to stick with demos I made on my own and not with the band as to not get tangled up in any I-didn’t-want-you-to-post-this-ness.

Iffin’s you want to take a listen, below are many links. Bear in mind that I am infamous amongst my band members for my poor quality recordings. I’m about getting the idea down more so that I am about the ‘cleanliness’ of the recording.

my body is the mansion

overcome by fate


apostle’s creed, assassin’s heart

baby it’s gonna be bad

you in the foot hills, i in the grotto

you’re the only crown i want


tiny machines


lights on at the mission

odar’s sonata


carve my name

the days to come won’t make as much sense as today (but at least we had today)

pinprick night sky

overcome by fate





your lover is approaching

that night (rufus wainwright cover) – it’s not an original, no, but I included it because it went pretty far afield of the original version and perhaps one day I’ll rework this song and make it my own.  AS far as I know Rufus Wainwright heard my version of this song as it was on a fan made compilation of his songs done by his fans and given to him. I know for a fact tho that he’s heard this song of mine tho. I have an interesting story about Rufus and this song which I may share later.

Meet Me in the Fields…revisited

Around the vicinity of 8 years ago I wrote a song called Meet Me in the Fields. 6 years ago my band released the song on an EP.  4 years ago we made a music video for the song and put it out into the world.  Now just recently Jacob Morales, my friend who helped shoot & direct the video took the 4-year-old green screen footage from the original video and reinterpreted it and made a new video for the song.

The singing chap in the cap is yours truly.

Thanks, Jacob!
Friends, please visit Jacob’s blog as he’s got a penchant for the antiquated, melodic and unique as well.

PS – here’s the original video. My first attempt at post production film work:

The Februarian does FAWM

February Album Writing Month (FAWM) is upon us once again. If you’re a musician and you’ve not heard of it, I implore you to hear of it. In a nutshell, it’s an online collective of musicians who attempt each individually write 14 songs in the 28 days of February.  This will be my 6th year participating in FAWM and never have I even come within the county let alone the city of 14 songs in a month but in the end, though I constantly do not make the goal, at least have brought songs into the atmosphere that weren’t there before. FAWM is about quantity, not quality.  This is great for an individual such as myself as I have a nasty habit of editing as I go along ~ not going forward unless  I’m 100% satisfied with what behind me. That leads to alot of stillborn songs.

So ~~ here I am making it very public and holding myself accountable. I hope for 14 but will be satisfied with 4.  If you care to follow me on the FAWM.org site, please do!

In the meantime as we countdown to February, here’s a few demos that I’ve written for FAWM in the last 5 years: