Educational toys

Educational toys
The Creativity Institute for Creative Toys

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The toy piano goes to college

In 1948, experimental American composer John Cage, featured the toy piano as the central musical instrument in his Suite for Toy Piano. Last November, David Claman, an assistant professor at Massachusetts' College of Holy Cross, began a project called the "Extensible Toy Piano Festival." Part of the project was to digitally sample the sounds of the toy piano and post them on the college website to make them available to musicians and composers for experimentation and entry into the festival's composition competition. While the mechanism of a toy piano has a simple mechanism of hammers hitting steel rods instead of strings, some toy pianos, such as the Schoenhut toy piano, are tuned very well across their three-octave range. Toy pianos may be a child's toy, but many a serious musician started on one.

Listen to some toy pianos being played here.

Chief Imagination Officer


alex said...

Toy keyboards of the plastic variety are very popular however from all the models Iv seen, there is a lack of any sound remotely like a piano. Sound modals are so cheep these days there is no excuse for using substandard voices.
Science toys

Creativity Institute said...

While that’s true of many of the plastic pianos that use synthesized sound chips, keyboard samplers reproduce the actual sound thqat was digitally recorded. What the Extensible Toy Piano Project sampled was a Schoenhut toy piano because of its chromatic accuracy. Those samples and more about the project are still online at