As music majors would know, the general piano dates back to the harpsichord which was invented hundreds of years ago. Since then, the famous Grand Piano became a popular instrument found from large music ensembles to smaller quartets. While upright pianos remain a cost-effective popularity, recently even the Grand Piano has had a makeover by certain companies, all aiming at creating a futuristic piano.
Fazioli is one of them, with their new model the M. Liminal. Fazioli is a relatively new piano firm created in the late 1980’s, but an expensive firm nonetheless. With their pianos going for over $500,000 dollars, they are an icon of modern perfection and beautiful sound. Their models are rare as only a few are created per year.
But Fazioli isn’t the only company that is trying to create an avant garde, modern style to compliment the original woodwork. Schimmel, a German Piano company that has been around since the 1800’s, topped Fazioli on the metric of abstractness. They have two Pianos aimed at the modern world. One is the Schimmel Pegasus which almost shares the complexity of an M.C. Escher work of art.
The piano seems to violate every law of classic Piano making, with its abstract curves. The only law, outside of the musical heart and woodwork inside it, it may maintain is the black glossy exterior found in many other Grand Pianos. However, Schimmel challenges that notion as well by creating a glass piano.
Yamaha, meanwhile, has transformed the piano in a way unthinkable before. Opposed to creating just a standard instrument, Yamaha decided to establish their new modern piano as one of furniture where people can exist among and with the piano opposed to just viewing and hearing it. The piano, titled “Key Between People,” is artistic but also somewhat banal. It features an almost flat surface, unlike the curves found in the M. Liminal or Pegasus.
But Yamaha isn’t the only company to capitalize on using a piano as a table, much less furniture. Georg Bohle, a designer, created the Piano Table, one that is similar to the Yamaha “Key Between People” but with less gloss. It is a wooden and quiet work.
And while modern musicians rarely would be spotted on one of these, it isn’t far-fetched to assume that the new generation of pianists would be more open to these rebellious designs. For professional pianists, even with the price, performing on one of these could be surreal.