Instruments: Piano on the Half Shell

The piano is dying. So is the pianist —of exhaustion. Or so claims Monique de la Bruchollerie, one of Europe's top concert pianists. Modern piano compositions have become so wickedly difficult to play that to get by today the pianist must be something of a contortionist—gyrating, flailing, crossing hands, crouching spread-eagle fashion to play both ends of the keyboard simultaneously. To rescue both piano and pianist from extinction, Monique has designed a new instrument—a kind of piano on the half shell.

Noting that watchmakers work at curved desks so that their tools are more accessible, she has designed a crescent-shaped...

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