When my Dad was regularly working parades and the like, he and his band, Uncle Sam’s Love Thy Neighbor Ragtime Band, would ride around on a float rockin’ classic ragtime tunes.
Obviously, one needs a piano for this.
So Dad D. and his friends would bring along an upright piano. This piano traveled town to town and, as one would expect, became much worse for wear. Still, when my folks moved into their home to settle down, Dad D. insisted that the piano come along as well.
Please note: This piano was not a thing of beauty.
Mom D. smartly advised that it go in the basement. The problem here is that the piano was HUGE. So Dad D. and his friends removed the stairs from the bulkhead entrance (otherwise it wouldn’t fit) and started lowering this massive 600-700 pound piano down into the basement.
They dropped it.
The piano slammed into the concrete floor making a sound that was probably somewhere between music composed by George Crumb (worth a listen) and the death cry of a Beholder. Still, the piano survived the drop and then sat mostly idly in the DiDonato basement. It survived the pounding fists of toddlers, basement floods aplenty, and 25-30 years of natural aging.
Finally, Mom D. decided it had to go. Dad D. and Dwane started dismantling it. The pedals were thrown out, as were the keys. The front legs went and so did the front wooden paneling. Finally, all that was left was the brutally heavy soundboard: The back of the piano where all the strings are mounted.
Check it out:
Upon setting my eyes on this, I knew I needed it. Yeah, it’s heavy and yeah, it’s huge. But it’s so beautiful! The plan is to either figure out a way to wall mount it (challenging given its weight: 500lbs-ish) or to build a frame and legs, cover it in plexiglass, and use it as a dining room table.
Adding to the awesome, when you strum the open strings it emits a thunderous tone. I’ll get some sound clips posted at some point. This is going to be so epic!
7 thoughts on “Art, Music, and Functionality”
Gorgeous! I think that needs to go on a wall, even though it’d make a really cool table. Is the plate the part that weighs 500lbs or is it the combination of the plate + wood? The plate is the beautiful part. You should just separate it from the wood backboard and mount it directly or mount it on something else that could really showcase it.
Sad that the piano keys are gone!
The keys were a mess. No great loss.
What an awesome project! I agree wtih Vivienne that it would be lovely to see it mounted, but 500lbs is daunting. Can’t wait to see what you decide to do!
However you mount it, it should be interactive. Are the hammers available? What is the material of the strings?
Agreed. Interactivity is a must. No dice on the hammers, and im not on the string material. I will investigate.
Is it metallic? I’m guessing it’s not, but that would be cool, maybe you could clip something metal on and use electric guitar pickups? or would that be… tacky?
What did you end up doing with the soundboard? I have one too and hate to throw it out.