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Unusual pianos

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by pianolady, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I thought about putting this in the "Ugly piano" thread, but then this piano is not really 'ugly', it's just...unusual (in a big way!).

    It's a piano and sewing table all in one! Talk about multi-tasking :lol:
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Just read another interesting tidbid in the book I'm reading about pianos. I love all animals and have nothing against cats in particular, and would never wish any harm to them, but this cracked me up. Specifically when I read the last line, which really did make me LOL while I was on the train this morning.

    Of the many designs for the keyboard instruments that came along, perhaps the most bizarre was one that produced its tones by means of live animals. In 1892, the Italian journal Gazzetta musicale di Milano carried an announcement of an instrument called the Catano – a wooden case with rows of compartments into which different-sized cats were placed: big ones to meow the lowest notes, kittens for the treble. “The heads are fastened in loopholes,” read the description, “and their tails are operated by a species of keyboard at the end of the case, like that of a concert grand. When a key is put down, a cat’s tail is pulled, and he begins to caterwaul loudly or otherwise according to the force with which the key is manipulated….Anyone who has studied music can easily play the Catano,” claimed the advertiser, “but for purposes of accompaniment, especially in sacred music, the Catano is not considered particularly useful or appropriate.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    This is not new news, but I just came across it today. It's about performance art and a grand piano.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/arts/ ... wanted=all

    Very bizarre, but I'm sure I would stop and take notice! Can't imagine playing piano from the other side of the keyboard, though. I don't think my brain could figure that out... :lol:
     
  4. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Nice one Monica! Reminds me of the movie Amadeus.
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, I know what you mean, George. The part when Wolfgang is facing the other way and reaches up and back behind himself to play the keyboard. I'm sure I can't do that, either.... :wink:
     
  6. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    The things some "artists" get up to! Destroying a nice Bechstein by reducing it to a "sculpture". What a waste. Makes you sick. One hopes it was a clapped out old one which nobody wanted because it was beyond economic restoration. Even so, there must be lots of people out there who wouldn't say no being given such a thing for free. OK, rant over.

    That said, it's kind of interesting that although the strings for the middle couple of octaves had to be taken out, it was not the case that the keys associated with them did nothing. They could (and were) used for percussive effects.

    The greater technical challenge for the performer in these circumstances, I would guess, is coping with the playing attitude of the fingers, which have to jab "forward", in line with the forearm and hand, instead of operating "down" at right angles to them. Quite awkward for chords involving different length fingers.

    However, I think the aspect of reversal, with the higher notes being on the player's left and the lower ones on his right, would prove less of a brain challenge than you might think, given a bit of time to get used to it. Although we're accustomed to "left means low, right means high", we are capable of mentally decoupling the link between player's left and piano's left. Compare the concept of "stage left" in the theatre being that side which the audience sees on their right. Compare port and starboard on ships. The starboard side is on the right only if you are facing forward.

    To see how easy it can be to play back to front, you could simply try it. Just close the lid of your grand and climb up on top of it, lying on your tummy, and ....

    No, only joking. But here's what you can do: Pick a simple tune which you can play with two fingers (one finger of each hand), for example Happy Birthday, or one part of one of Bach's two-part inventions (numbers 1, 4, or 8 would seem suitable). Now stand (or sit) at 90 degrees to the keyboard, with the piano on your left, so you're facing towards the high end. Play. You should find this relatively easy because there is a mental association between the concepts of forward, up, and right, so you move your fingers forward to play higher-up notes.

    Now for the next step: Turn around so that you are again at 90 degrees to the keyboard, but now with the piano on your right, so you're facing towards the low end. Play. This should be a little more difficult at first, because you are moving forward to play lower-down notes. But soon you'll re-learn to associate the higher-up notes more with the starboard side of the piano than with any direction relative to yourself. That done, the mental leap to 180 degrees should be doable. If you have access to a flat keyboard which you can simply stand on the wrong side of, you'll soon get the hang of it. Playing anything difficult that way is another matter, of course.
     
  7. etap1108

    etap1108 New Member

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    I have a unique secretary desk piano made by Ricca Piano Co that was owned by the famous concert organist Claire Coci. This piano is not unlike a 'conductor's piano' (which has a large music stand for scores and a piano to demonstrate on). This piano has typical 'compartments' for letters and small drawers and along side the bottom it has half length drawers that don't interfere with the full piano plate and strings. When opened up in Secretary desk mode, you do not see the keyboard but have a writing desk with the appropriate cubby holes for letters, etc. The pedals are very conveniently recessed so you can access but are somewhat 'hidden'.

    This was one of 19 made and was personally know of at least 9 that have gone to the dump. So it is unique for sure.
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's very interesting, etap1108. Thank you for sharing. Do you happen to have a photo of your piano/desk?
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    The following is not an 'ugly piano', nor is it my 'dream piano'. And it's not exactly a piano anymore, but it is 'unusual'.

    http://www.pianoasart.com/index.html

    My favorite is.... :?: ....you have to hit the lowest F key to find out. :)
     
  10. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Well, this isn't even a piano as such, but it would be fun to find it during a walk around a new city. It was posted on FB.

    Scott
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Happy Friday, everybody! :D
    I put this image on my Facebook page a while ago and meant to put it here too, but then forgot....
    So anyway, here is another VERY UNUSUAL piano!
     
  13. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    pianobed.jpg [ 26.36 KiB | Viewed 86 times ]

    :shock: what a novel form of PT!
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Maybe I have had a heat stroke, or something..........
    What is PT?
     
  15. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Dayamn! That is my kind of piano!!!! Wake, practice, sleep. Just need the coffee pot, conected to the water, and the little fridge next to my bed and I won't have to get out of bed for much of anything!!!

    Scott :D 8) :lol: :idea: :wink:
     
  16. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    "Physical Therapy" (and I'm not a doctor)

    Scott
     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well, you might need a bathroom nearby.... :lol:
    :oops: Oh, that's it. Sheesh! See? It was a heat stoke.... :lol:
     
  18. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    hmm....what on earth have they come up with now? :roll: :roll: Definitely one for the 'unusual piano' list!
    Is there a sound clip?
     
  20. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Apparently it's like a roll up piano. Doesn't look like the keyboard is 3-D, just like a ipad touchscreen with diffeernt shades of gray.. but unfortunately there is only one picture so its hard to tell. I wish there was an audio sample or a video, but it looks like they are gonna leave us high and dry. :cry:

    Small detail missing--he's the author of the article! Don't know how I miss these things.. :oops:

    The guardian: worth noting that this is a london newspaper, and with Stephen Hough being on staff at the telegraph, if anyone should be trying this piano out it should be him!
     

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