Classical music is something I never totally learned to appreciate. I can’t put the right composer with the right tune and know very little about instruments. Besides the fact that it just wasn’t really included in my upbringing, it requires a certain amount of patience that I just don’t seem to have.
Every now and then when I’m making a long journey by car I may switch past a classical music station and linger for a couple of minutes, especially if it’s a hectic part of the route and the tune is chilled out. Even though I do enjoy these moments, in the end I always switch back to more mainstream channels.
A phenomenon that has slowly been creeping into public spaces in Holland (and I’m sure elsewhere as well) are pianos. They are popping up on trainstations and I must admit I absolutely love it!
It’s really interesting to sit and watch what happens around these pianos. Not just for the musical moments that spontaneously erupt but it’s also really fascinating from a behavioral / anthropological / psychological point of view.
People stop and sit down within hearing distance, but without getting too close. Are they avoiding contact or are they merely choosing a careful approach, to not startle the musician? I can imagine the person playing must feel very self-conscious anyhow, displaying their skills in such a public space. And then after the first person has given it a try, and has played some small melody, more people often follow. It’s really all very interesting to watch. These areas become bubbles of peace in rush hour chaos.
In the Hague it is often an extra treat as the players sometimes turn out to be very talented musicians, as the academy of music is situated nearby. I made a couple of videos of dudes playing pianos there in the last couple of weeks but to my own frustration the format of the videos on my phone are not being accepted by wordpress…. I hope to convert them later on, but luckily I did find a video of the exact piano on the Hague Central I walk past every day with a perfect illustration of what I mean:
As you see, they are all sorts of people and it just really changes the mood of the place. Isn’t it wonderful?
And somewhat related is this youtube video I’d like to share, that stole my heart a couple of years back:
And then there is the homeless guy that went viral a while back with his rendition of “Come sail away” by Styx.
So I guess, even a classical music knucklehead as myself can learn to appreciate the genre this way. I applaud the talent of those brave enough to change the mood of such a hectic space. I thank them for this and realize now that I should show them my appreciation next time they stop me in my tracks with their nutritional music.
And I guess I owe some governmental organization a big thank you as well, for making this possible and providing our public spaces with these pianos. Bedankt!
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