The piano as furniture

In the ninteenth century, the piano was not only regarded as a musical instrument but as a part of the decor a room. An article in The Musical Times in February 1893 describes some possible applications:

Placed near a bay window, it shuts in the cosiest lovers’ next imaginable. Soft-cushioned window seats that have room for just two – intuitive seats they might be called – are hidden thus away completely from the cold, cruel world. Little couches may be hidden in the shadow of such a piano when rich hangings fall from a corner window. Or a delightful tea corner is made with a screen for a doorway, and soft divans and dim lights inside. Or the back of the piano may be hung with a soft shade of yellow, brocaded with dull green leaves and flowers. Against this a little tea-table can be placed, with its dainty belongings, and a low chair beside it. A yellow cushioned divan can extend entirely around this corner, lighted by the soft radiance of a lamp with a green shade, and piled high with a baker’s dozen of pillows – large and small and medium – with bright silk covers.

Cited in: Scholes, Percy (1947) The Mirror of Music. London: Novello & Company, vol. 1, p. 305.

By Greg

Australian composer and pianist