This piano celebrated its centennial anniversary on August 20th, 2009 as the centrepiece for an improvisational performance. The strings were painted to match the keys, which were removed with the action to reveal the iron harp.
I Building and Birth (0:00 to 4:10) the piano as a percussive instrument being built in the factory
Created from the sounds of pianos being moved and handled, this represents the piano emerging from the factory where it was built.
II Practicing and Playing (4:10 to 10:43) the piano's youth. kids and scales, flirting and teasing
This dates back to the glory days of the upright piano we all know and love. They were sold to every family who could afford one. Children grew up practicing their scales and adults who could play entertained their friends. This was the time for what will become the decomposing piano. As inscribed within its iron harp, Great is the privilege of Achievement.
III Rain and Resting (10:43 to 17:58) the piano and the passage of time
For most of our pianos life it remained still. Harbouring dust behind its soundboard and maintaining itself against the relentless humidity of the changing seasons, our piano is played occasionally, tuned occasionally and gradually moves toward the turn of the next century.
IV Metamorphosis (17:58 to 24:22) with the keys removed, all that remains is the harp
As long as the soundboard is intact and the strings under tension, the piano makes for a responsive instrument even after the keys have suffered mechanical error and the hammers no longer swing as they used to. The harp is a new voice from within the decomposing piano.
V Electricity and Decay (24:22 to 31:32) the tragedy of the piano
Families today use electric pianos that are always in tune and must be turned on with a switch. Martin K. Tytell, an accomplished typewriter repairman, makes a good comparison as quoted from his obituary.
These other machines, computers and so on, even electric typewriters, they have a soul thats hooked into the wall. A manual typewriter has a soul that doesnt need anything else in order to exist it exists in itself. People are always going to like that about a manual.
VI The Final Call (31:32 to 36:55) this is the piano's last performance
Built in 1909 and performed in 2009, this is the final call after 100 years. The remains now rest outside, worn down by the wind and the rain.