Viewpoints staffer Maddie Ingle plays the piano at her home on Sept. 28. Ingle’s playing follows a family tradition carried on by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Photo by Zoe Peterson.
Viewpoints staffer Madeleine Ingle shares the legacy of being a pianist in her family.
On any given night, the melodic tunes of Albert Pieczonka’s “Tarantella” can be heard all throughout my home. I sit in my living room, on the bench to my great-grandmother’s piano feverishly practicing every note, just as my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother did when they were my age at that very same piano.
This piano sits against the wall in my living room, adjacent to my fireplace. I often find myself sitting there for hours, playing a variety of songs from my great-grandmother’s piano books.
While I play, I study the marks, scratches and and dents on this piano. Some may find it damaged, but to me, it’s intriguing.
There are pen markings from when my sister was young and didn’t know any better, and there are scratches from when my grandmother’s brothers used to tease her.
The sheet music that I play from is tattered and torn, marked with notes and doodles. It was my mother’s long before it was mine.
One of the keys no longer makes any sound — it’s been played far too many times.
Neither my great-grandmother nor my grandmother are alive to sit on that bench and play the songs that I play so diligently.
However, I can feel their presence beside me as I play, reminding me to slow down and to stay on tempo.
I can hear my grandmother singing along to her favorite song when I play it.
Despite its damages and imperfections, I find peace in knowing that someday, my own daughter will sit and play those same songs from the same tattered and torn books.
As she plays, she’ll study the markings and the scratches and the dents. She’ll wonder where they came from, and I can only hope she’ll see the beauty in them as vividly as I do.