The Magic Piano

I was not tall enough to reach the pedals on my grandparents’ grand piano. It definitely did not stop me from trying, however. The piano belonged to us for generations, many of my family, mostly the women, played on it. Some of the keys had numbers written on them in red ink with the beautifully distinct handwriting of my great-grandmother, aimed at teaching her daughter – then my mother – then us to play ‘Over the Rainbow’ from ‘The Wizard of Oz’. At some point I realised I could create harmonies and I was determined to show off to my grandmother, who was patiently waiting on the other end of the telephone line. I was so excited by the discovery I forgot I called her at work. 

Being allowed to sit down and play with the big instrument was always a time of magic. Like opening a tiny door into a hidden world, where I would find everything in technicolor, and would be provided with a wonderland – a shelter from whatever I was running away from. 

Later I discovered that I can make up melodies on my cello. Much to my parents’ displeasure, who would have preferred me to practice the classical pieces for my next lesson. Little by little, music was building up in me, and as years went by they gradually started taking more complex forms.

I vividly remember the first completed song. I was fourteen and there it was – suddenly – written down: lyrics and guitar chords in a notebook. It filled me with both excitement and extreme worry: have I really written it? Or maybe it is just something I heard somewhere that I cannot remember? What will people think? Will they laugh at me? But something so complete and compact coming to life from my head left me in awe, and that gave me the courage to share it with others.

I’ve not stopped sharing ever since, proud and awkward, satisfied and yearning for more.

By Kristóf Hajós

The singer of The Unbending Trees - your favourite Hungarian crooner from Amsterdam

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