[Dixielandjazz] Piano in key of B

Robert Ringwald rsr at ringwald.com
Wed Nov 11 21:35:11 PST 2009

 Charlie Coleman writes:

> Just returned from playing a veterans day program at a local nursing home.   The piano was an old studio box but was in perfect tune (with itself) in the key of B, down a half step.   I've run across a few 
> of these before, so I think it's common with older pianos.    I learned scales on the fly that I never knew existed!   Well I did, but being a week-end warrior I really never practiced them much.   The piano > player was competent, but strictly a reader so couldn't help me compensate on the sax.   Wonder how some of the horn players on the list handle a situation like that.    Whomever tuned the piano was
> careful enough when he brought it down to make sure it was an even half-step and not somewhere in the crack.    I'm too near the run-off grove to spend a lot of time practicing keys that I'll never use that . much.   Should have started 50 years ago. :-(       Thanks for your suggestions.    Charlie (Let's hear it again in G-flat)  Coleman


Often pianos that are let go too long without being tuned to pitch A-440, cannot be pulled up because the strings are old, rusty and brittle.  They get tuned at a lower pitch and are called a Practice piano.  They are not meant to play with horns.  They are not at all professional quality instruments.  

I have run into pianos such as what you had before,.  Luckily, as a pianist, I have played in odd keys through the years.  Sometimes on my cocktail hour or dinner hour gigs, to cut the shear bordem, I play in B, Gb, D, E, A, etc just for the practrice.  This is especially helpful when accompanying singers who give you one key and then     when you give them an intro, they start off in a completely different key.  



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