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Giraffe Piano (Germany?, ca. 1830)

Giraffe Piano (Germany?, ca. 1830)

So called because of its asymmetrical, curvaceous case, nearly eight feet tall, this Biedermeier-style upright piano with ornamental brass mounts must have been built in Germany about 1830; unfortunately its rectangular nameplate has been removed, so the maker is unknown. A fabric panel above the bone and ebony six-octave keyboard conceals the soundboard and strings; buttons on the panel disguise latches that hold the panel in place. Six wooden pedals formerly protruded from the base; four now remain. Besides operating dampers and mutes, these pedals controlled several percussion devices including a bell, which lent exotic color to popular music such as Turkish marches, much in vogue at the time. Intended to be placed against a parlour wall rather than on a stage, the piano presented its player's back to the room. The "giraffe" shape derives from that of a grand piano standing on end.

Giraffe Piano (Germany?, ca. 1830)