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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Treasures of Ojai: Part 2

A Treasure from a Bygone Age

I’m not sure where it came from, but one time my grandfather got an old organ from someone.  He moved it inside the dining room, plugged it into the electrical outlet, and my grandmother, who played the organ at church, sat down to play.  But it didn’t work right, so he had to open it up and tinker with it.  Now my grandfather was usually great at tinkering with things, but I don’t think he ever got that organ to work properly.  I recall that he had trouble finding replacement parts, such as fuses and vacuum tubes, for it.  

The above organ comes from a simpler time.  Unlike my grandfather’s organ, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be reliant on parts made for a specific manufacturer.  So it could probably be restored more easily than the one my grandfather acquired.  I love the wood grain, the organ's shape and design, and the scrollwork for the book/sheet music holder.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone play a pump organ like this.  Given its exterior beauty, I wonder how it would sound.

I can’t imagine keeping one's concentration on the music, and playing the keyboard, while working at these pedals.  But a great musician, like a great artist, often does a lot more work than the audience ever sees.  We only see—or, as in this case, hear—the result, and often the resultant performance or finished piece is so simplified and streamlined that we think it was the work of a moment.  I’ve played the piano, and know how many hours of practice it takes to properly prepare for a performance.  I need to keep that in mind, when I tire of all the behind-the-scenes work (the outlining, the revising, the multiple drafts, the submission process) involved in the process of writing fiction. 

Dragon Dave

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