Sheet music, auctions, and a musical trip back in time

Just look at this stuff, people! And this is just a tiny portion of what was in my sheet-music box from the auction. But: Gordon Lightfoot, Summer Side of Life! And MacArthur Park, complete with the late Richard Harris (no singer, he) in headband. Does it get any better than that?

Just look at this stuff, people! And this is just a tiny portion of what was in my sheet-music box from the auction. But: Gordon Lightfoot, Summer Side of Life! And MacArthur Park, complete with the late Richard Harris (no singer, he) in headband. Does it get any better than that?

One of the things Raymond and I absolutely love about the Queensborough area is that there are still lots of old-fashioned auction sales there. In truth I shouldn’t even be telling you this, because the more people there are who know about the auctions of Hastings County, the more people there are who will come and bid against Raymond and me when we are hoping to get good stuff at a good price. But it is just so much fun to spend a lazy sunny Saturday at an auction, and with any luck at all come away with some treasures and/or bargains, that I can’t help going on about it. (As I have in the past, here and here for instance.)

I’m not sure if I would classify my most recent auction purchase as a treasure or a bargain, but I think I’ll say it falls into both categories.

It was – wait for it – a box of sheet music. Sheet music! Good lord, does anyone use sheet music any more? Does anyone publish it? Who knows? But back in the day, any popular song would show up on sheet music, so that amateur musicians could learn to play (and perhaps sing) it themselves on piano or guitar. I was never musical, but my sister, Melanie, was, and back in the days when we were growing up at the Manse I remember her buying sheet music (and books of collected songs) at music stores – and I remember they were always kind of expensive.

But not my box of sheet music! No sirree; I got a big overflowing box of everything from classic opera to Beethoven sonatas to the good stuff, the hits of the 1970s – all for the humble price of one dollar. Not that I had much time to rifle through it to see what might be in the box before making the quick decision to give up a dollar for it (oddly enough, no one else wanted it); but when we got home and I had a chance to go through it – wow! My musical past was all right there. Here are some highlights, and try not to be too jealous:

Okay, the woodwork needs a cleaning and an overhaul (this photo was taken very early in our tenure at the Manse), but this corner of the living room is where the as-yet theoretical piano must go – because it's where the piano did go back in my Manse childhood.

Okay, the woodwork needs a cleaning and an overhaul (this photo was taken very early in our tenure at the Manse), but this corner of the living room is where the as-yet theoretical piano must go – because it’s where the piano did go back in my Manse childhood.

Okay, so we have this awesome vintage sheet music. Now what to do with it? We could frame it, I suppose; a bunch of these in a cluster would look seriously funky on some wall or other. But Raymond (who is going to be retiring at the end of this summer, and so can be thinking about new pursuits) has ventured of late that he’s always been sorry that he never had piano lessons, and wouldn’t mind starting now. And when I was growing up at the Manse, we always had a piano. And there might be a spare piano kicking around among the various members of my family. And I would know right where to put that piano in the Manse living room, for Raymond to practise on. And so that sheet music could then be put to very good use. All for one dollar!

Meanwhile, if you are at all familiar with the execrable yet strangely compelling MacArthur Park, I offer you this pretty funny commentary on it. Enjoy!

6 thoughts on “Sheet music, auctions, and a musical trip back in time

  1. Our sheet music collection goes way back in time. The piano that we bought at the auction at our housein 1962 before we moved in, had a bench full of sheet music going away back. Some was even priced in pounds, shillings and pence. We have a song entitled `Titanic`, written in Trenton at the time of the great tragedy. But your songs are more my kind of music.

  2. ahhh this is so much fun… and I encourage Raymond to go ahead and take those lessons – I recently read that it’s one of the best thing to improve our brain plasticity. I took lessons for 10 years (from 4 to 14) but then, did not play until I was in my late 40s when Robert bought me a piano – I thought it would come back by itself and it did not but I’m still tinkering a bit – a fraction of what I used to do. However, when I do sit there, time flies and I’m transported – it’s a wonderful way to refresh your mind. As for the sheet music, I remember buying a box of old sheet music, but from the early 1900s to the 1920s – because I love that old music, I’d tried my hand at them but could not really do them justice. I finally resold most of it but I still have a few banging around somewhere in the basement – I thought of having them framed since some are strikingly beautiful and colourful but… because I too have been doing country auctions for years… I have no wall space left to put them on! ha ;o))

    • Oh, Johanne, your comment about running out of space for your auction treasures sure hits home! There are lovely, funky images and illustrations on much of the sheet music that we bought, and it would look terrific framed, but wall space is already at a premium… Meanwhile, thank you for your words of encouragement to Raymond about learning the piano. He seems to be quite serious about it, and I think it would be wonderful.

    • Okay, this from Raymond: “Rent a trailer and bring it up when you visit your Campbellford relatives!” (Not taking any mind of the work and expense involved, of course.) Actually, there was a piece in the New York Times about a year ago about how so many households are getting rid of pianos, and so I suspect we may be able to find one (cheap) in the Queensborough area without too much trouble. Kijiji here we come!

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