LONDON — British officials are trying to trace the owner of a trove of gold coins worth a “life-changing” amount of money found stashed inside a piano.
A coroner investigating the find on Thursday urged anyone with information to come forward.
When the piano’s owners took it to be tuned last year in Shropshire, central England, it was found to contain a hoard of gold sovereigns minted between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.
Investigators have determined that the piano was built in London in 1906 and sold to a pair of piano teachers in Saffron Walden, eastern England. They are seeking information on its ownership before 1983.
Anyone wanting to make a claim has until April 20, when coroner John Ellery will conclude his inquest.
If the gold’s owner or heirs cannot be traced, it will be declared treasure, and the piano’s current owners will reap the reward.
Officials have not disclosed how much the coins are worth. Peter Reavill, who assesses finds for the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, said “it’s a hoard of objects which is potentially life-changing for somebody to receive.”
If you close your eyes you could be setting foot in a blues bar on New Orlean’s Bourbon Street.
But this is across the pond in Perth, Australia, and the pianist is 11-year-old Louis Rebeiro, wowing crowds with an impromptu performance.
The self-taught piano prodigy was strolling through the Fremantle Markets when he stumbled upon the music stall and put in a show-stealing jam session.
He was with his cousins and one of them dared him to play for everyone. He just jumped on with no reservations,’ his mother Lorena told Daily Mail Australia.
Footage shows the little legend capturing hearts with an improvised performance spanning nearly eight minutes.
Self taught is great, but so are lessons. Sign up today for Jordan Kitt’s Music School here…
Jeff Goldblum, professional smooth operator, started his onstage career as a piano player at seedy cocktail lounges in his hometown of Pittsburgh. He still practices an hour every day, sometimes commandeering the ivories in hotel lobbies to stay on top of his craft. On the heels of a three-month residency at Los Angeles club Rockwell, the 64-year-old actor discusses his lifelong musical passion.
Practice, practice, practice
“I’ve been blessed with some biggish hands, but early on, I trained my left hand a bit harder. I would take my thumb and my pinkie, place them right below the keyboard, and stretch my finger and thumb against the keyboard, and do a split with my hand. It’s like hand acrobatics. I enjoy the feel of the keys. I’m tactual.”
His favorite instrument
“I have this baby grand Yamaha, which is fantastic. I keep it tuned constantly. [My son] Charlie enjoys it as well—he’ll sit on my lap and bang away on the keys. And I have a Yamaha C6, with a microphone set up around it. It’s the one that they have at the Carlyle as well. Everyone seems to love it, because it’s nice and bright for jazz.”
A little help from his friends
“After I play some piano, I’m different for the rest of the day. It brings you into this community that you might not have anything in common with otherwise, and there is a way that you communicate with musicians that you can’t with anyone else. It’s changed my life. It’s a way to have a conversation that goes deep into the blood system.”
This grand, advertised on Craigslist, probably doesn’t have a very nice tone, and quite frankly, may not even really keep your cold ones cold, but it’s interesting to look at. We don’t have any of these on the floor at the moment, but I’m sure we can find a way to make the conversion for anyone interested…
via helenair.com, written by John Dorr, a piano technician and private music instructor
I get a lot of calls from people who just obtained a free, giveaway piano. They’ll want me to come out and tune and/or inspect it with an eye towards its restoration. Sometimes these pianos are real gems; they’ll tune up nicely and play well. Good deal! However, often a giveaway piano is given away because it hasn’t been played in years or the owner knows that it is need of some repairs and is not interested in putting any money into it.
(Non)Buyer Beware! That long-neglected piano is almost assuredly so far from being “at pitch” that a tuning will likely involve a pre-tuning pass known as a pitch, or pressure, correction — maybe two — before it’s tuneable. That’s an added expense.
An extra-charge tuning is just the beginning of the possible bad news, though. If there are repairs to be made, such as action adjustments, bear in mind that a five-minute repair on ONE key equals almost four hours when you multiply it by 88 if that repair/adjustment is needed on ALL keys. Small things necessary for your new free piano can soon become larger investments!
The above scenario assumes that you have a tuneable piano, too. Sadly, sometimes when I look at a customer’s new “free” piano, I have to inform them that it just USED TO BE a piano, but now it’s only a piano shaped object. Certain structural defects can render a good-looking piano untuneable. Pinblocks can be too loose, plates can be broken, soundboards may have severely separated ribs and cracks, and strings can be rusted, worn, and ready to break when pulled up to pitch. Some of these problems can be fixed, some are feasible; you could buy a NEW piano for the costs of some of these repairs.
If you get the worst news as described in the paragraph above, now you undoubtedly have three or four strong friends who helped you move it to your house who’ll swear never to move a piano again! Especially YOURS.
So how do you pre-check a free piano and get an idea of whether it’s useable or not? Or how much it may cost to get it to perform up to your expectations? First — don’t just the piano by its case. “Case in Point” (pun intended): I have a BEAUTIFUL old upright piano that is a “piano shaped object” only. Matter of fact, anyone reading this who aspires to make a bar, a toolbox, or other use of this piano is welcome to call me and I’ll give it to you for free.
The best thing to do with any used piano purchase, or giveaway piano, is to have a piano technician inspect it before you take it. Many people rely on their piano teachers to look at the prospective pianos and evaluate them. Truth is, there aren’t many judgments a teacher can make about the mechanics and the structure of the piano. Teachers generally just play and listen. If all the keys play well and reliably, and if the sound of the piano is reasonable, it may get no further inspection. A technician may take from 30 minutes to an hour to disassemble much of the piano to make a thorough inspection and present you with a condition report, so you’ll know what to expect when he or she comes to service it. There will be a charge for this service but it’s cheap insurance against expensive disappointments. And sometimes, the charges for the inspection may be credited against future repairs. Read more here
Make Music Day is a global celebration of music that takes place each year on June 21st. Launched in 1982 in France as the Fête de la Musique, it is now held in more than 700 cities in 120 countries.
On June 21st of 2016, Make Music Day is making its debut in Washington, DC. Musicians of all genres, skill levels and ages are urged to share their talents. Virtually any venue can participate. Registration is free, easy and commitment-free.
Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music Day is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician — young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion — pours onto streets, parks, plazas, and porches to share their music with friends, neighbors, and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public.
Stop by Jordan Kitt’s Music during Make Music Day to learn how to play a song, and get a free piece of sheet music!
Or, to participate, volunteer, or find out more information, visit here!
via NBC News
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Days before his death, Prince tweeted a photo of a custom-made purple piano intended to be a centerpiece of his scheduled tour.
The piano, which was delivered to Prince’s home at Paisley Park in Minnesota a few weeks ago, was a rush job that had to be completed in about three months, said Chris Gero, vice president of Yamaha Entertainment Group, based in Franklin, Tennessee.
“We were on the top end of the idea, but it accelerated so fast,” Gero said Friday, revealing the behind-the-scenes work that went into its manufacture.
The acoustics of the piano were fine-tuned to Prince’s specifications. The artist, 57, who was found dead in his suburban Minneapolis home Thursday, had intended it for his Prince, Piano and a Microphone tour.
Image: Yahama purple piano for Prince
Customized purple piano for Prince. Ben James / Yamaha Entertainment Group
“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.”
Prince also wanted the manufacturer to match the color to a couch in his home.
“The color purple was specifically chosen by him to match an item in his house, which was actually made of several different colors of purple that made one specific color of purple,” Gero said.
The company searched everywhere for the exact shade, ultimately painting it with paint used for cars.
Gero said he was surprised to see that Prince tweeted a picture of the piano and then over the weekend unveiled it to an audience at a show 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.
It may be an expensive way to move a piano, but it will certainly save you from a bad back.
A large black instrument was spotted dangling from a crane outside a Docklands apartment in east London because it was too large to fit up the stairs of the building.
Workmen were seen guiding the behemoth down on to the balcony of the flat it was being loaded into while what appeared to be fellow residents enjoyed the sight from the rooftops, taking videos for good measure.
This huge crane was spotted hoisting a piano high above buildings in Docklands, east London, pictured, for delivery to a flat.
Workmen can be seen on the balcony of the apartment helping to guide the instrument down while others take videos of the strange sight.
But the practice is actually quite common with several piano moving firms offering the use of everything from mini-cranes to 150-tonne machines depending on the size and weight of the instrument.
There are several factors movers have to consider when using a crane, including how close a vehicle can get to the delivery building, whether a piano has ton be lifted over a roof and whether there are any trees, cables or other obstacles in the way.
Firms are legally required to complete a pre-approved lifting plan and all jobs have to pass health and safety inspections.
Most firms also specialise in window removal in case the building does not have a balcony, with crews of workers on hand to fix everything after the delivery is complete.
Strolling up Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland, one can’t help but hear the sounds of ragtime music drifting from the Refreshment Corner where there sits a pianist tinkling the ivories on one of the most played pianos in the world.
The Yamaha model YUS1 upright the pianist plays has been faithfully making those melodic sounds since it was placed there more than five years ago, the latest in a long line of pianos at that spot for decades.
“These pianos will get played hours a day,” said David Durben, a piano service specialist with Yamaha Corporation of America.
Yamaha supplies all the musical instruments at the Disneyland Resort, and that includes pianos of all kinds, from grand pianos in settings like the Grand Califonian Hotel, to the one at the Refreshment Corner, where it sits, most days, outside — meaning the weather is a major factor in how the piano sounds.
“There’s a great deal of wool felt used in the piano’s moving parts, like its hammers. That wool felt swells and shrinks with the heat and especially with the humidity,” Durben said.
That humidity makes the felt heavier, and the piano harder to play, but the show must go on; the pianists know that on those days, they just have to play the keys harder.
While Disneyland specialists constantly maintain the piano, keeping it in tune, sometimes something, like the shank for a particular note’s hammer, will break. But that doesn’t put the piano out of action for very long.
“We provide Disney with spare parts. They can change out whole key sets in a matter of minutes,” Durben said.
Then the whole key set can go back to a shop for more extensive repairs while the pianist starts playing again.
The music they play ranges from ragtime, with the most requested song being “The Maple Leaf Rag,” according to “Ragtime” Robert Gillum, one of the regular pianists.
Besides ragtime, they also play many Disney songs, and when those are played, many visitors will start singing along and even make requests for specific Disney songs.
“‘Part of Your World’ from ‘The Little Mermaid’ is one of the most popular, and usually the girls who want to sing that, can sing, as they’re theater majors,” he said.
The ragtime pianists Disneyland employs are not the only ones to play the piano. Sometimes a guest will ask to play the piano, as 11-year-old Lacey Fuller of Plumas Lake, Ca., recently did when she stepped up to ask Gillum if she could try her hand at playing it.
He stepped out of the way as she sat down and started to play a ragtime tune. She did so well that she earned herself some applause from Gillum and the crowd around the piano. Gillum gave her a card with her name on it congratulating her on being an authentic ragtime pianist at Refreshment Corner.