Many keyboard players enjoy playing for friends, family, etc. at their homes or special events like weddings. Unfortunately, for some occasions it can be especially hard for classical pianists to actually do this since they can’t readily move their instruments of choice around. Now, a pair of professional pianists in the Boston area have come up with a potential solution for enthusiasts and players everywhere: using a toy piano. These small versions of the big thing can easily be transported in one’s car and taken wherever imaginable just as a typical Casio piano player may do. It is a novel idea, but one that may have quite some sense behind it.
At only about 2 cubic feet, the piano sits beautifully in one’s living room and costs only about $200. There are other versions of this piano that may cost more, but even the $200 ones seem to do the trick, especially for casual gatherings. The tuning on these instruments is not perfect, but that is seen as part of the charm. Originally invented by Albert Schoenhut, the toy pianos would make sound by little hammers hitting sound bars as keys were pressed. This was later changed from glass bars to metal bars as the idea was incorporated to form a company (and the metal made more sense for a children’s toy).
The toy piano has three octaves and 37 keys with no pedals. It is quite simple, but can produce a charming sound to fill a quiet room. Professional pianists Jakuc Leverett and Judith Gordon are both fans and users of these toy pianos, playing even very intricate musical pieces on them. They acknowledge that the limitations of the device sometimes lead to changes in the music as it is being played and that the pianos are meant for children, but they are very happy with their respective purchases and experiences with the toy pianos. Playing pieces from legends like Mozart, Beethoven, and Schumann, this duo expresses the freedom they feel in playing these cute little instruments and being able to reach a wider audience due to the portability of the experience. It also helps take away some of the pressure and stress of playing the piano professionally by adding some whimsy and fun playfulness to the experience, allowing the musicians to reignite their original love for the piano and what it means for them. This is a feeling that is important for musicians to rekindle from time to time.
Image credit: Fanda1a