Playing and hearing the street pianos

Today was an excellent day for my excursion to Cambridge to hear and play the street pianos. My first stop was Porter Square, where there was a nicely tuned piano out in front of the store and no one playing it. I remedied that, of course, just doing a few improvisations. A woman brought a baby in a carriage to get a close look, so I shifted into something more lullaby-like. Before that, I had a feeling no one was really paying attention, but several people expressed their appreciation as I left.

Then I started down Massachusetts Avenue toward Harvard. There was a piano on the street, but the key lid was locked. A couple was standing there, disappointed. Maybe it had been locked for the night yesterday and no one was there to unlock it today. Anyway, we talked a bit and then proceeded to the Harvard Science Center. Several people were doing short bits, and it was nice to see that so many people could have fun with a piano. I finally got a turn, and so did the lady (her name was Angela), who played nicely.

Science Center piano

Science Center piano

Next I headed for Holyoke Center and listened to a man who was playing for a good long time. After that I looked for one whose location was given as “Brattle Plaza, Harvard Square nr Out of Town News & the T.” I went over to Out of Town News, but there was no piano there. It turned out to be at Brattle Square, not really near Out of Town News. Unfortunately, its key lid was jammed so it couldn’t be fully opened, making it unplayable.

Holyoke Center piano

Holyoke Center piano


I doubled back to the Science Center piano and made an attempt at playing a silent movie on my MacBook to accompany. Even though the piano was shaded by a canopy, the screen wasn’t bright enough to be viewable in daylight, so I had to give that idea up and instead played my instrumental interpretation of “Come Lady Death” and Mendelssohn’s “Duet” from the Songs without Words. I also got to listen to some other people; the quality of the playing was generally impressive though not professional. (Mine isn’t professional either.)

The last piano I wanted to sample was at Davis Square. Unfortunately, a jerk with a guitar had set himself up right next to the piano. I’d given money to a street performer just a minute before, but this one didn’t get any from me.

It was a wonderful, musical way to spend a few hours. I’ll have to come back and perhaps try some of the pianos in Boston.

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