Cheap, Expandable Floor Piano Plays With Heart And Soul

Ever since we saw the movie Big, we’ve wanted a floor piano. Still do, actually. We sometimes wonder how many floor pianos that movie has sold. It’s definitely launched some builds, too, but perhaps none as robust as this acrylic and wooden beauty by [FredTSL]. If you want more technical detail, check out the project on IO.

The best part is that this piano is modular and easily expands from 1 to 8 octaves. Each octave runs on an Arduino Mega, with the first octave set up as a primary and the others as secondaries. When [FredTSL] turns it on, the primary octave sends a message to find out how many octaves are out there, and then it assigns each one a number. Whenever a note is played via conductive fabric and sensor, the program fetches the key number and octave number and sends the message back to the primary Mega, which plays the note through a MIDI music shield.

We think this looks fantastic and super fun to dance around on. Be sure to check out the build log in photos, and stick around after the break, because you’d better believe they busted out some Heart and Soul on this baby. After all, it’s pretty much mandatory at this point.

Wish you could build a floor piano but don’t have the space or woodworking skills? Here’s a smaller, wireless version that was built in 24 hours.

9 thoughts on “Cheap, Expandable Floor Piano Plays With Heart And Soul

  1. I would like to see an isotonic layout, less reach more pads redundancy. With all the pads the same size, you could move to different types. Bayon or the other, or any layout.

    1. Not sure what you mean, can you elaborate please?

      If you want to say that each silver fabric pad should have the same size. I was thinking about that too at the beginning, but actually, having the whole surface covered with fabric means that detection is done the same way arounf the whole key, and as a plus, the diffusion of the light is the same everywhere, otherwise, I had shadows and color discrepancies. The MPR121 handle that very well with the good library.

        1. Thanks Bavi, I didn’t know about that. Interesting and probably easier to play on, but the fun here is a real piano keyboard. The goal was to do it for a music school, and the kids simply love it, so the goal is well reached.

  2. thx Robert, Actually, it’s not really possible to shoot it horizontally in this room, because we cannot get far enough to get full players and the full piano. There are other video and pictures taken outside on the google album.

    1. I think it looks and sounds great. It’s pretty impressive how they managed to get the light evenly spread across each key without it bleeding into the adjacent keys, pretty tricky with something so large and thin. And of course, great choreography, although I do wonder how many hours of practice and bad takes it took.

      1. >>great choreography, although I do wonder how many hours of practice and bad takes it took

        Not so sure about choregraphy ;-), it was first take actually, and I made a few mistakes. We are far better now.

        About the light, it’s a combination of the white glossy paint on the wood, and the silver fabric that actually gives a better light diffusion.

        The light simply cannot bleed to the adjacent keys because the wood is topped by felt that really cut the diffusion.

        It was a lot of test and try and errors to get there. BTW, in the album you have picture of the first solo octave I have done, and you can see old vs new (

    1. Actually the person that shoot it here is not the same one as the one that holds the tools :p. but to be honest to my wife, there was not much possibility here, the size of the room is simply too small for what she wanted to achieve (the whole guys on the piano). If you look at other videos, you will have plenty of landscape when the piano is outside (don’t forget it 4.20m long). ;-)

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