The piano has made a significant contribution to the world of music, having been employed widely in classical, traditional, jazz and popular music. Its benefits to the player are many and varied, and when it comes to enhancing the player’s neurological abilities, it is said to be superior to other instruments.
Most piano’s go through their lifespan without ever enjoying their moment in the spotlight. However, once in a while a piano will feature in the public eye and receive a lot of the attention. Here are three that have recently made their way to the headlines thanks to their celebrity owners.
1. Elvis Presley’s Piano
Elvis Presley was a self-taught pianist who bought his first piano for less than 300 dollars. In fact, be bought it at hire purchase, paying 50 dollars upfront and then paying the rest in the following 11 months. The piano, which Presley gave to his cook, is now expected to fetch 300,000 dollars at auction.
A spokesman for auctioneers Julien’s said: “Elvis learned the piano when he was young but this was the first one he ever purchased.
“It’s a unique piece of rock and roll history and it still plays beautifully today.”
Original paperwork shows Elvis bought the piano for $281.75 from O.K. Houck Piano Company Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee, on September 30, 1955.
The piano made by Stroud in 1911 comes with the original bench Elvis sat on while playing. Via Mirror
2. Lady Gaga’s Piano
Another piano that enjoys celebrity status now is Lady Gaga’s childhood piano, which initially belonged to her grandparents. The piano is what she used to write her first song when she was just 5 years old.
Gaga’s paternal grandparents purchased the piano for $780 in 1966 and later gave it to her parents. Little Stefani Germanotta began taking piano lessons when she was 4 and wrote her first composition, “Dollar Bills,” a year later, a song inspired by Pink Floyd’s “Money.”
“When Stefani started to crawl, she would use the leg of the piano to pull herself up and stand, and in doing so, her fingers would eventually land on the keys,” her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, recalled once. “She would stay there and just keep pressing the keys to hear the sound. We would then start to hold her up or sit on the bench and let her tinker.” Via CP24
Like Presley’s Gaga’s piano is also going on the auction block and is expected to collect between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars. The proceeds will go towards youth empowerment activities facilitated by Gaga’s foundation.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the piano will benefit the Born This Way Foundation, launched by Gaga in 2012 to empower youth. The organization also addresses issues of bullying, poor body image, and acceptance and tolerance. Via CP24
3. Prince’s Purple Piano
Before his untimely death, Prince was preparing for his Prince, Piano and a Microphone tour. Just days before he died, he tweeted a photo of the custom-made purple piano that would have been the centerpiece of the tour. It’s acoustics were fine-tuned to the artist’s specifications.
“So the piano is an acoustical piano, but it also has a tone generation system internally that can go out to a secondary audio source that all the sounds internally are highly modified just for him,” Gero said. “They are EQed (equalized) a certain way. There were certain sounds that were made just specifically for him.” Via NBC News
The piano’s unique shade of purple was meant to match the color of a couch in Prince’s home. Despite not getting to go on the tour, Prince did get to unveil the piano to an audience at a show he held at his compound.
“It was really the last big performance he had done publicly in which he unveiled it and he was very proud of it,” Gero said.
He said the value of the piano now is unknown especially now that Prince has died, but he hopes it will end up in a place where fans can enjoy it. Via NBC News
Featured Image: Image Credit
Prince wrote his first song on his father’s piano when he was just 7 years old. RIP: https://t.co/QaBbGPLpLW pic.twitter.com/2xkFqP64Ck
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 21, 2016
What happens when real people try to learn something complex + difficult in a short period of time?https://t.co/5c9aAafSl7
— Prudential (@Prudential) April 25, 2016
Witness the beauty of a robot dominating Piano Tiles
Piano Tiles is so much easier when you’re able to perfectly process and react to 120 frames of motion per second. Unfortunately, most of us can’t get anywhere close to that (though I’m sure a StarCraft player somewhere would claim to have that ability). So someone went ahead and built a machine to see what would happen.
The result, which you can watch on YouTube, is pretty fantastic. An iPhone’s camera is used to process an iPad’s screen at 120 frames per second. A connected machine then analyzes what’s being displayed and triggers a hammer every time a tile is passing by. Via The Verge
Move over Mozart: Meet Meadow the piano-playing pup
A spunky canine with a surprising talent is music to the ears of dog lovers.
As a puppy, Meadow was a piano-playing prodigy who did not like to share his keyboard.
“When he was a pup at the breeders he used to play it and chase the other dogs away from his little piano,” says Blair Blakeney, Meadow’s owner.
Now 4 years old, the Sheltie still loves playing a melody and usually tickles the ivories four to five times a day.
“If he wants your attention he’ll start tapping the piano and say come on, play with me,” says Blakeney. Via CTV News
Melody of Destruction: Piano Falls From 18th Story
Two men in Russia’s Novosibirsk wanted to shoot an “epic” video and pushed a piano off from the 18th story. Apparently, they had no sense to care about pedestrians.
The musical instrument burst into fragments a meter away from a car. Safety? No, never heard of it. Via Sputnik News