On loan to The Met The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.
Grand Piano with Double Keyboard
action by Emánuel Moór Hungarian
Restorer/Conservator Roman P. Mochernuk
Not on view
One of only sixty duplex pianos made, this Bösendorfer grand piano was built with 164 keys—the standard 88 on the lower keyboard and 76 on the upper—to a design developed by the Hungarian composer and inventor Emánuel Moór. Multiple manuals are often found on instruments such as organs and harpsichords, where they each operate different sets of pipes or strings, which creates tonal and dynamic contrasts. The double manuals on this piano serve a very different purpose. Because this piano has only one set of strings, which is played by both manuals, the two keyboards do not produce different timbres. Instead, they help performers to play large intervals and dense chords more easily and execute intricate passagework with greater facility. The keys of the upper manual sound an octave higher than the corresponding keys of the lower manual. This expands the reach of the player’s hand in a superhuman way. With just one hand, the player can sound an interval of two octaves by playing a C with the thumb on the lower manual and a C on the upper keyboard with his little finger. The raised steps on the lower white keys facilitate this split hand technique. A coupler pedal also aids the playing of large intervals by allowing both sets of keys to be played from one manual.