The piano has brought so much beauty into our lives. And yet, in fiction, the instrument has been put to other uses, which in fantasy stories can go to some very strange places. Consider a couple of examples from classic television. Some TV characters who have used the piano and its magical strings in ways that piano restringing Richmond VA customers would likely never think of.
On The Outer Limits (1964), there is an episode called “The Forms of Things Unknown.” It is the story of two women who have murdered their blackmailer, and the strange tinkerer whose experiments with time inadvertently bring the blackmailer back to life. The means of his resurrection is a time machine unusual even by science fiction standards, made up of a large array of clocks connected by piano wires which can somehow “tilt” time backwards or forwards. When time is tilted one way, the dead can return to life. Thankfully the extortionist is sent back where he came from, not by the device of clocks and piano wires but by a simple car crash.
The Twilight Zone (1962) offers an equally strange tale, and perhaps a more unnerving one. “A Piano in the House” concerns a mean-spirited drama critic who gives his young wife a birthday present of a player piano that can unveil people’s hidden personalities. This is the type of piano whose strings are struck by using rolls of sheet music loaded into it, and he uses it rather sadistically and cruelly at his wife’s birthday party-until she finally turns it on him.
In reality, the piano has much kinder and gentler uses, with its players bringing a heart-touching richness into our lives. An instrument with well-tuned strings is a joy to play and a joy to hear. Keep your piano in good tune and happy melodies will linger on.