Pianista: The legendary virtuoso*

4 May 2020

Before player pianos

The forerunner of all mechanical piano developments was called the pianista. The name Pianista was chosen by the French builder Henri Fourneaux who invented this device in 1863. His system can be adapted to a piano to make it play tunes mechanically using perforated cardboard.

The Pianista was presented at the Philadelphia Exhibition in 1876, but it did not meet with the expected success…

The first models of the American brand Aeriol Company are called Pianola Push-Up.

This small piece of furniture is placed in front of an ordinary piano and it is then necessary to produce a vacuum of air which makes the “fingers” placed on the keyboard work.

After a visit to our restoration workshop, this pretty pianista made her musical notes resonate in the showroom.

The Pianista should not be confused with the mechanical piano which has a built-in automatic mechanism. Two types of player pianos evolved from Fourneaux’s invention. The first, the “player piano” or “pianola” and the second the “player piano”.

*referring to the Nintendo game, high-end piano game

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