Because it’s afraid of her?

Why did the piano run away? (If that’s what happened.)

Thanks to Brian in STL for also sending this in, and also providing this other pianistic scene:

Brian’s remarks on this one were “I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, and there are no comments on the strip to help. Amos often serves as her page-turner, but seems to have flung the music book across the room. Did he have some sort of convulsion or horrible miscalculation?”

Hey, maybe the piano remembers this or similar scenes, and has fled once he sees who the approaching performer is…


Thursday’s strip looks like it might be intended as something of a follow-up.

Now that she’s caught up with it, she prepares to attack … and plays a single note, as quietly as possible — marked 5p and with the visual correlative of the miniaturized staff.


  1. I was hoping that someone more “experienced” with 9CL could provide some background (I quit reading McEldowney years ago, having gotten tired of his antics, both at and away from the drawing board).

    However, just from the artwork it seems that at least three of the four participants (she, her piano, the sheet music and/or Amos) are unanimous in wanting to avoid the embarrassment of a poor performance. The piano distances itself, the sheet music goes AWOL (possibly with an assist from Amos), and her interaction with the keyboard is hardly an “attack”: she sneaks up on it and touches it with the same force as a bomb-squad technician fondling an anti-personnel mine.

    P.S. The “smile” she displays in the second panel of the third strip is the classic “embarrassment” grimace used in various Japanese Manga/Anime.

  2. Sorry to mislead you due to technical / admin complications. The second strip shown here was from about a month ago, not part of this week’s sequence. But the first one (piano at far end of stage), the third one (one note played, fermata if I’m seeing clearly enough, and marked ppppp), and the one in my first comment today (shoes kicked off?), were respectively the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday strips of the present week.

  3. Thanks for the clarification. The second strip may not be in sequence (in retrospect I should have noticed the change in costume), but it still remains in character. In the fourth strip, she still isn’t playing anything, but the dress does show where the author’s mind is.

  4. I’ve never understood this strip. Never have. Never will. Met the cartoonist one time, Brooke McEldowney, nice, quiet man.

  5. I studied music in college and have played a few solo piano recitals and I can’t tell you anything about what’s going on. But many years ago there was a 9CL strip in which our pianist appears to get an orgasm from playing Rachmaninoff. That seems to be happening again in Friday’s strip. Maybe the piano remembers the previous time and is shy about being a party to such a state of affairs.

    In Friday’s strip the piano has quite a view! If she’s not playing Rachmaninoff she’s playing “On A Clear Day You Can See Catalina.”

  6. Within the strip continuity, Edda is considered a skilled performer. I don’t think “poor performance” is part of it.

  7. I’m sure that Brian is right, but following along with MiB’s idea: if we accept that she is a “skilled performer”†, then that reduces this 9CL story arc to another parallel of that famous scene in the movie “When Edda met Amos“.

    P.S. † – Just as good, if not better than Meg Ryan.

  8. Whenever I saw Martha Argerich in concert, back when she was young, I always had the impression of a nice, sweet, gentle young woman coming onto the stage, sitting at the piano and suddenly transformed into a she-Hulk as she tore into a Tchaikovsky or Liszt piano concerto. And then back to her sweet, gentle self at the end. She is older now but has lost nothing of her power.

  9. It is rare for a pianist to take his or her shoes off to play. You can do it, but using the pedals is a bit uncomfortable if you are not wearing shoes. Also we pianists do not stand up to play fortississimo. We use “weight playing” to allow gravity to add to the force of our arms, and some pianists rise off the bench a bit and come down, but weight playing does not work when you are standing up. By the time your hands get down to the keyboard, the force has dissipated. Also, not here but sometimes in comic strips you will see a pianist with one hand on the keyboard and the other hand way up in the air. We don’t do that either. Unless you are playing a six-manual pipe organ there is no keyboard up there.

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