Piano give off a sense of stability, certainty and reliability. The most unpredictable aspect of this sometimes-imposing instrument is the wonderful sound it produces. But creativity can’t be contained, and creative minds are always finding new ways to surprise us.
We look at a few pianos who’s appearances – not the sound the produce – would be the biggest surprise should you come across them.
- Chichi, The Rocking Piano
First introduced within Designersblock for the London Design Festival in 2007, ‘Chichi’ was designed to give the player more than a normal piano could – the ability to rock back and forth while playing.
Chichi is a beautiful and whimsical piece which rocks you gently as you tinkle her (I think she’s a girl) silver keys. Inspired by a sense of liberation that was awakened in Sarah at the Milan Furniture Fair, Chichi is her way of putting the soul back into design and communicating the value of making dreams happen. I love how the piece pushes the boundaries of traditional design with a subtlety and softness that makes her quirkiness seem graceful and her rebellion romantic. She’s very seductive is that Chichi.” Via Davenport Interiors
- The Lyra Flugel
Popular in the first quarter of the 19th Century, the Lyra Flugel was designed to serve three purposes: make music, save space and decorate the room. With its strings stretched upwards instead of horizontally, it has the shape of a stylized lyre.
- The Boganyi
Those who have played it compare the tone of the Boganyi to ‘hovering above gravity’. Its sleek Gothamesque look has earned it the name ‘Batpiano’. Gergely Boganyi spent 8,000 hours working on it, so it’s only fair it bear his name.
AKA the Bat piano, or “a cross between an art deco sculpture and something out of Star Trek” Hungarian pianist Gergely Bóganyi launched his update on the piano form earlier this year in Budapest. Via The Guardian
- The Piano and Violin House
In Huainan, China, any passing giant can try to their hands on this house-sized instrument. On three legs with a partially raised lid it looks ready to be played, even if the architect hasn’t quite managed to recreate the right keys of the chromatic scale, or put all those strings and hammers across the living room. Probably… Via The Guardian
- The Circular Piano
Principal Health Care’s circular piano: sociable, yes, but pretty difficult to play solo unless you happen to be octodextrous. Via The Guardian
- The Piano Tree
A living installation by artist Jeff Mifflin, the Piano Tree was set in a forested area just off the Disc Golf Course at the California State University. He took an old stage piano and after some careful sawing made it look as if the ancient tree was growing out of the upright piano. As part of its natural process, the tree continued to grow, parting the timber. Unfortunately, it’s incredible story came to an end when a drunkard smashed it up.
This tragic yet beautiful instrument could once be found in Monterey, California, a resonant (or rather not that resonant, given that there was a tree growing through its soundboard) metaphor for the demise of the domestic upright in our musical lives. Via The Guardian
- Lady Gaga’s Spider Piano
Ok, it’s only a stage-based intervention, but Gaga raises her piano on Louise Bourgeois-style legs, turning the instrument into a symbol of musical malevolence. Via The Guardian
- The Ferrari-Red Schimmel Pegasus
Designed by Luigi Colani, this instrument is the logical endpoint of the grand piano as symbol of superabundant cultural power, a triumph of pure unrestrained bad taste and musical pointlessness. Via The Guardian
Well, I think it looks pretty cool…
- The Janko Piano
This six-row keyboard, first developed in the late-19th century, invented a system of rearranging the keys so that fingering becomes easier. It’s also much more comfortable to stretch large intervals such as a 10th or a 12th. It looks like it requires a mind of beautiful proportions to be able to master it – but some have! Via The Guardian
- The extending piano for the bed bound
The piano’s keyboard construction design allows it to be conveniently let down over the bed so that it is within easy reach of the patient. This would probably translate to much faster recovery for piano lovers who can’t get out of bed.
An ingenious invention for hospital patients or for those who can’t get otherwise get out of bed. With this at the end of your feet, why would you want to? Via The Guardian
Featured Image: Image Credit
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) November 15, 2015
Daniel Barenboim designs ‘radical’ new piano
Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim has unveiled a new type of piano, which he says is “radically different” to the standard concert grand.
It is built with straight, parallel strings, promising a superior sound to a regular piano, in which the strings are installed diagonally.
Barenboim launched the instrument at London’s Royal Festival Hall, in advance of his Schubert recital series.
He intends to perform the entire series on the new piano. Via BBC
Steinway’s New Piano Can Play a Perfect Concerto by Itself
THE BLACK AND white keys move so fast it’s hard to tell if Jenny Lin is even touching them. Lin, a classical pianist known for virtuosic speed, is sitting at a grand piano in Steinway’s New York offices, as the rest of the room listens intently, focused on the keyboard.
No, she’s definitely not touching the keys. Not this time. Minutes earlier, Lin played a hyper-speed arrangement of George Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm.” The same song is playing now, except this time Lin hands are on her lap. It’s uncanny, really: The exact same keys are pressed, the exact same trills are heard, the same dynamics are present. It’s a little magical—or “almost scary” as Lin puts it—as though you’re witnessing a prodigious ghost mimic her every move. Via Wired
A Visionary Electric Piano That Hints at UIs of the Future
ROLAND LAMB HAS a great analogy for comparing the piano to other instruments: “Sound on a piano is very pixelated, in separate discrete elements, and if you tie all those together it can feel continuous,” he says. “But other instruments, like a violin, are high resolution, because the sound is continuous and changing.” That is, when you hit a piano key, you can vary the note by hitting it hard or so soft. (You can even use the pedal to adjust the vibrato or sustain.) But those adjustments pale against the spectrum of input available on a guitar, trombone or wind instrument. There, each note is far more like clay that gets shaped by the pressure of the player’s finger or the duration of his breath. Via Wired