Check under the hood

What’s lurking in your piano?  This week a piano technician found these treasures inside the instrument at my house:


Let’s see.  We have here a belt buckle, dust, a ball of tin foil, a penny, and two pieces of macaroni.  The tuner says he threw away an Oreo.

When I posted this shot on facebook, Classical 91.5 fans offered advice:

“If you're ever starving or broke, just check the piano!”

“He SAYS he threw out the Oreo... check for crumbs.”

And, “That's IT?!”

Exactly.  Not bad, I say, for ten years’ use by three kids with resident cat and lively chihuahua.

The piano originally belonged to my mother, who says that when I was about four, the tuner found 23 crayons inside the case. (I have a picture related to this incident somewhere – will have to look.)

Another listener suggested there MUST be similar tales out there, and it turns out, he’s right; piano tuners’ message boards are covered with horror stories.

Wisconsin technician Tom Denker wrote, "It's embarrassing to tell a client about the mouse nest inside the piano. This is all too common. I'll be in a multi-million dollar house where everything is immaculate and end up filling a garbage bag with acorns from the inside of the piano."

Other tuners report finding diamond rings, tools from previous technicians, an old chair (unfortunately the piano didn't sound much better when the chair was removed), and un-cashed checks.

Wayne Walker of Walker's Piano Service said he once found a bottle of rum stashed in the bottom of an upright.  There was a very nervous teen-aged son of the piano's owner hovering when he removed the bottom panel to adjust a pedal.

Finally, Dennis Kelvie of Caldwell, Idaho offers a cautionary tale.

He found a pair of pink panties.

"The lady I was tuning for was FURIOUS... " writes Kelvie. "The piano was less than a year old, and THEY WERE NOT HERS!  I left as soon as I could gracefully do so, paid of course. . ."

So, um, what’s in YOUR piano?