The first pianos ever made at the beginning of the 18th century were originally only four octaves. Over time, the design evolved into the standard 88 key system that we know today, and which hasn’t been changed since 1880- until now.
Stuart & Sons is the last remaining Australian piano manufacturer which has recently dived into the classical music history books by creating the first ever piano with 108 keys (nine total octaves). They’re a family business which has been making pianos in New South Wales for generations. When asked about the new design, Wayne Stuart, the company’s owner and lead designer said, “”It’s the 21st century, we need new things. We need new horizons… and this is certainly a new horizon.”
Mr. Stuart has been handcrafting pianos for 40 years but this is by far his most ambitious creation. Made with ancient Tasmanian Huon pine, the masterpiece measures 3 meters in length and took 18 painstaking months to build.
Edward Neeman, a concert pianist, said he can feel the difference, even if he is not utilizing the extra octaves the 108 keys offer.
“You don’t even need to play the extra keys to get the effect,” he said.
“You get a really warm and brilliant sound, and the whole bass becomes much richer [and] the resonance is more when there are more keys on the piano.
“This is as big as it gets, it’s pretty much the limits of human hearing, the limits of engineering.”
The 644-kilogram piano has been named The Beleura in honor of its new home — Beleura House and Garden on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
Beleura House director Anthony Knight commissioned the piano, which had a $300,000 price tag, and said it would be used to nurture Australian musical talent.
To hear this piano in action, click below: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=327094278048736