A grand piano has over 10,000 individual parts — the new LEGO Piano uses 3662 “bricks”.
The two aren’t really comparable, but LEGO’s latest product is a fun idea that captures many of the features of a grand piano.
The LEGO Ideas Grand Piano set, to give it its official name, has been in development for several years. It was initially conceived by music teacher and LEGO enthusiast Donny Chen, and made it to market thanks to the LEGO Ideas platform.
LEGO Ideas is a website that allows users to submit suggestions for new product sets. The concepts are published on the website and other LEGO users can then vote to send the project on to the next stage in the development process.
If an idea is green-lit by the visitor-base (10,000 votes required), and it passes an expert review, it is fully developed by LEGO’s in-house designers. The finished set is then released under the LEGO Ideas brand. And the idea’s “mastermind” subsequently receives a 1% royalty of net sales.
Donny Chen said that he had been asked many times by his music students how a piano works. He reckoned he could use LEGO to help explain the concepts involved. And that was how the idea to build a complete instrument came about.
Chen’s original prototype utilised 2798 bricks. Whilst, as mentioned, the final production instrument has 3662.
Many of a traditional grand piano’s features can be seen in the LEGO Piano. These include:
- a removable keyboard with 25 (but not 88) independently working keys
- a comprehensive piano action with hammers
- a working damper pedal assembly
- a hinged top lid with prop stick
- realistic fallboard with soft close
- working castors
- a removable music rack with a piece of sheet music (note the composer!)
- a height-adjustable piano bench.
Simulated Play and Auto Play
Tucked away inside the LEGO Piano is a small electric motor which powers the self-playing features. These are driven by a smartphone or tablet running LEGO’s Powered Up app.
Simulated Play: Select one of five melodies and tap the keys to start and play the melody. Even if you don’t play the right keys the tune will play correctly.
Autoplay: The LEGO Piano will play one of ten tunes (one of which was composed by Donny Chen) whilst the keys move in conjunction with the melody.
This is not really a toy. LEGO classify the set as being for ages of 18+, reflecting the complexity of the build.
The LEGO Piano measures 13.5” (35.5cm) deep, 12” (30.5cm) wide and is 8.5” (22.5cm) high with the lid closed. So it is about one fifth the size of a real piano (albeit a baby grand!)
Okay, so this isn’t a true miniature grand piano and in no-way akin to Paul Gentile’s White House Steinway piano, but it is LEGO and it is made from bricks, and much of the fun is in the making. It’s also quite a spectacular model when complete, and would be something of a talking point in any home.
Item: LEGO Ideas Grand Piano (Set no. 21323)
Release date: 1 August 2020
US Price: $349.00
UK Price: £319.00
EU Price: €340.17
Available from: LEGO.com and all major LEGO stores
LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group.