The Rare Transposing Piano


There are 3 of these extremely rare pianos, that I know of, in the Georgian Bay area. This one is in my living room, the second was in my shop, being restored for a customer, and the third has mysteriously disappeared ! If you know of any more, I'd love to hear about it ! Email me.

The Transposing Piano, of which Irving Berlin possessed an example, had a middle pedal that functioned as a clutch which disengages the keyboard from the mechanism, enabling the keyboard to be moved to the left or right with a lever. The entire action of the piano stays in the same position, but the keys, all straight in this design, move under a new set of hammers to allow the pianist to play music written in one key so that it sounds in a different key.The piano shown above is Irving Berlin's piano from the Smithsonian Museum of American History.



Irving Berlin (Israel Isidore Baline) wrote "God Bless America," "Puttin' on the Ritz," and "White Christmas" (in case your aren't up on your composers ;). Supposedly he could only write compositions in F-Sharp Major (hard!) and D-Sharp minor (really challenging!!). His assistant would then transpose the score to something that other people would be able to use.
Yet another of those brilliant Russian Musicians. . .