excerpt from 'My Boyhood at the turn of the century' pp. 206-208 (387 words)

excerpt from 'My Boyhood at the turn of the century' pp. 206-208 (387 words)

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My Boyhood at the turn of the century

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[Frank Goss’s family returned to London in 1908 where his father, a piano maker, would keep a piano at home, advertised for sale but available to play].


Mum had suffered for years from one great frustration in her children’s cultural development. It seemed to her unreasonable that my father’s close association with the piano-making industry, even if only in the minor degree of the mechanics – that there should not be someone in her family to whom the piano was something more than a piece of furniture with mechanical refinements. 



[…] I was found to be more amenable material [than my brothers] and was started off on five-finger exercises. The monotonous sounds of these exercises filtered through to the kitchen where Dad was enjoying a pipe and a book before the kitchen fire. Becoming restless he would ask Mum if she could either modify or stop “that bloody row” emanating from the tips of my tender fingers in the adjacent parlour. For this but [?] to bring a sense of variety and accomplishment to the youthful musician, I was introduced to Smallwood’s Manual for Beginners. The first piece in this manual was a simple statement in the key of ‘C’ natural—“The Keel Row” followed by “Home Sweet Home” in ‘B’ flat and then by the “Bluebells of Scotland” in two sharps. 


During most of the time in which a piano was available, Dad who, you will have gathered, had no ear for music, bore my repeated renderings of these works without his complaints ever going to the length of denying me the opportunity of training for a musical career.


At last, as I gained in my efficiency up to the “Bluebells of Scotland” standard, Mum adopted the best precepts of piano-playing instruction and turned my attention to scales and arpeggios. With the loud pedal pressed down to the floor, and the damper pedal working to perfection, I could really get down to enjoying myself.  Chords, and arpeggios, played with joyous disregard to any minor hesitancies in their rendering or major errors in fingering pealed forth with a volume which transported me into the atmosphere of performing a piano concerto in the Albert Hall.   Dad, on the other hand, from enduring a minor irritation which interfered with his reading, was transported to the border of contemplating infanticide […]

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excerpt from 'My Boyhood at the turn of the century' pp. 206-208 (387 words)


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