In today’s digital world, where different instruments and sounds can be added to a song in just a push of a few buttons, one Ukrainian music band stands out for its persistence in using actual instruments. Brunettes Shoot Blondes, an indie rock band from Kiev, has transformed a broken 19th-century grand piano into a versatile musical machine that is capable of playing 20 different instruments.
In their latest artistic endeavor, the band decided to transform a vintage piano they found in a small town in Western Ukraine. In contrast to modern versions, this vintage piano had a lot of free space in the body which allowed the band to add instruments.
In this open space, the band separated instruments into three sections. Percussion instruments such as cymbals, tambourines, and shakers sit on the right side. The strings, organ, and harmonica sit on the left. The two violins and cello are played using parts of a sewing machine. The mechanism is a small wheel that spins very fast. Band members hit a piano key that causes that part to touch down on a string and create a sound similar to bow rubbing. The band left the center section of the piano largely untouched, besides replacing a few strings and moving the sustain pedal to the left.
All instruments are operated by hitting different piano keys. The instrument is best played with two people so all three sections can be used at once. The result is that the band can play one instrument and sound like they have an entire back-up band supporting them.
To hear this vintage piano and its 20 instruments in action, check out the band performing its song “Houston” in the video below: