Thursday, December 1, 2011

11 Days of Thanksgiving: Piano

We all have triggers to our memories. One thing that is constantly on my mind is the immediate relationship of music with distinct nostalgic memories. I write about these moments frequently, as second behind my photography, music transcends time and distances and can instantaneously send you to a moment you could never reach in your deepest of efforts.

Although the snow has yet to fall here in Baltimore, there is one relationship within the winter season that goes together as perfect as a warm jacket and scarf. That is the sound of a finely played piano, with stark contrast to its fellow instruments in any arrangement of music-- alone in the song, you might say. With that piano comes the pairing of the cold chill of that particular time during the winter season when the feeling outside is that snow is on it's way.

Hailing from the upper North East, this time of year happens around Halloween. The ground gets its morning frost and the clouds blanket the sky with gloomy grays as the air gets dry within your lungs and underneath your fingernails. This is winter's welcoming.

I never truly recognized the connection between the two until recently, specifically last winter. I suppose having spent two winters abroad and in tropical climate, the fascination with snow paired with music never was a possibility. But immediately once that time of year came around in Maryland, mid-November or so, I remember strangely gravitating towards songs with piano in them.

I thought back in college and remember listening to David Gray's "Life in Slow Motion" album and walking to soccer practice in the dry, frigid November night in rhythm to the steady beat of "Disappearing World" playing in my headphones. It's simple 4-time beat and basic key changes memorized me. I can clearly remember that moment and now I see myself having a vivid connection between the sound and the season.
"Slowly the truth is loading / I'm weighted down with love / Snow lying deep and even / Strung out and dreaming of
Night falling on the city / Quite something to behold / Don't it just look so pretty / This disappearing world."
That entire album is very reminscient of moving songs, but I still believe the three which have significant lead pianos are what hold the arrangements together; "Alibi," "Slow Motion," and "Disappearing World."

Much of it could be credited to the music that is always played at my house during the Christmas holiday, which is very heavily classical based. But I also think that my memories make me appreciate the sound as a great duo of tone and temperature.

This year I have a song attaching me to the great sound of the lone piano and the dropping temperatures in Baltimore and Charm City preparing for it's big chill. The song is from The Cinematic Orchestra with Peter Watson and it is titled "To Build A Home." The sound is truly incredible and so for it, I attached the video below (which is actually quite beautiful as well) but the sharp sound of the piano keys makes me think of the sharp, brisk air of a cold winter along the water of the Inner harbor in Baltimore. Also, the lyrics of the song are something to think about carefully, they are intriguingly impressive.
"Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree as old as me
Branches were sewn by the color of green
Ground had arose and passed it's knees

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top

I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me......"

Take a listen (or ten on repeat) and perhaps you could recreate a distinction to a season with another particular song or sound like the piano for me. So today, although quite late from Thanksgiving, I am thankful and appreciative of the pairing of the winter season and the piano.

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