The Standing Grand - a new light, portable, acoustic piano
Meeting our original target is a great success for us - many thanks to all of our backers so far!
In the run up to the campaign deadline, we see an opportunity to stretch our goal to enable us to further refine the detailed design, ergonomics and final appearance of the Standing Grand, and to bring it closer to a product that we can share sooner with the general public.
So please keep backing the Standing Grand!
>>FULL FILM AT BOTTOM OF PAGE, ENGINEERING FILM HALF WAY DOWN<<
The Standing Grand will be light and compact enough to bring the fullness of a grand piano’s sound into modern homes, practise rooms and small venues. With this crowd-fund money, the Future Piano team are aiming to reduce the total piano weight to 82kg (far less than half the weight of a grand piano).
The Future Piano team comprises risk-taking experts at the top of their very different disciplines. Sarah Nicolls is a pioneering pianist, labelled an 'edgy Brit' by The Guardian and regularly featured on BBC Radio. Tim Evans & Chris Vaissière (SEE ENGINEERING FILM BELOW) have 53 years combined experience of work in aerospace engineering, including high performance structural components, advanced composite materials, laminar flow technologies and structural analysis for AIRBUS. David Klavins is a world-leading innovator in piano building, with two of his own outstanding designs already in production: the UC piano and the M450.
We worked closely with Keechdesign UK, whose particular specialisms are in musical equipment and human centred innovation, to develop the future piano. We have now undertaken as much design work as we can and are now ready to build our first prototype from scratch. This will be a hybrid piano using traditional and advanced materials (composites) for the optimum sound, cost and weight ratio. You can read more and see our project map here: https://www.futurepiano.co.uk/the-piano.
A note about action: Although we recognise that our action will be vertical, we will be using bespoke solutions to increase repetition, to be as like a grand piano as possible. These solutions can't be detailed in the public domain but rest assured we are taking every technological step towards the best results, in every regard.
If we build this next piano, we’ll be a significant step closer to making acoustic grand pianos much more accessible. Help make our plans a reality and revolutionise pianos for the future! Please donate and share with others.
READ ON FOR SARAH'S STORY OR SIMPLY DONATE NOW! Thank you.
Back in 2007, pianist Sarah Nicolls was performing new classical piano music around the world. Increasingly, composers were asking her to play ‘inside’ the piano: to pluck strings, find harmonics, strum or knock. The sounds were extraordinary but they were uncomfortable to perform and invisible to the audience.
Sarah decided to design a piano where the strings went vertically up from the keys and made a rough prototype in 2008 by spinning the strings of an upright piano through 180 degrees. Sarah could begin to really explore the sonic potential of the piano’s guts and audiences loved seeing everything she was doing. In 2014 she commissioned a better version, this time from a straight strung, under-damped 1900 Erard grand piano – with a new action designed and built by Pierre Malbos. The new version overcame the problems of the first, it’s a sonic revelation and Sarah has been composing and performing with it ever since.
Anyone who has ever had to move a grand piano, will know that it is not something you want to do very often. And as for fitting one in an average sized living room, well, it’s enough to say that as a student, Sarah spent a year sleeping under hers.
So, by now focusing on reducing the logistical impact of the piano, Sarah hopes that one day it will be much easier for future generations of pianists to play real, strung pianos. The piano has an educational benefit in that players can see the hammers move as they play and of course, it is also great for musical explorations using the strings.
Risks and challenges
We are confident to have found the best team to carry out this next phase. We are constantly minimising our risks by drawing up detailed designs and discussing all the possible permutations in materials use and design between team members. We feel confident that we can build the piano that we're planning and that it will weigh this amount but of course there are risks associated with an innovation of this complexity. The discoveries will be in how the different materials act and hold together once the piano is strung and how the instrument holds it tuning. We will mitigate in advance as much as possible and our innovative design itself also carries much of the necessary mitigation. The other challenge will be the design of the support structure on such a tight budget, as it most likely will have to be simplified from the images currently drawn up.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Environmental commitmentsVisit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.
- (60 days)