Someone left a piano in the woods


109 Responses to “Someone left a piano in the woods”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of a beautiful children’s book called “The Man Who Took The Indoors Out” by Arnold Lobel.

  2. tokmik says:

    This reminds me of one time out hiking in the backwoods of Minnesota and coming upon a large man-made pole complete with a phone. It had a dial-tone and everything. In the middle of the woods. Like the deep deep woods. Houston Piano Lessons

  3. danwarning says:


    Very cool. What perplexed me about the ones we found was that they were expensive leather wingback chairs, just plunked down in the middle of nowhere.

    So weird.

  4. mdh says:

    @ JesseMoya

    If you’re open to suggestions. Good luck.

  5. buddy66 says:


    That’s so weird it has to be true.

  6. hallpass says:

    I love finding things abandoned in the woods. My favorite was a washing machine tagged with the words “Be The Agitator.”

  7. Isaac Cates says:

    Whomever left this working piano”?

    Cory, you’re a professional writer. You, of all people, should have a handle on your pronouns.

  8. TheWillow says:

    @ #9 Noen

    it was probably just an eddy in the space time continuum. Someone look around for a towel or a sack made of rabbit skin nearby.

  9. things says:

    I think the fact that someone called the cops on this and they REMOVED IT (!!) is more absurd than the piano being there. This makes me want to get one of those old free pianos from craigslist and haul it into the woods.

    How amazing to find a piano in the woods…

  10. danwarning says:

    I was wandering through the woods of western Connecticut with a friend of mine not too long ago and found much of a living room set up on a path with no visible means of placing (about a mile into the woods and over a brook) and, of course decided to take some artsy pictures of the chairs:


  11. markfrei says:

    I dunno. I think this has been done before – Annea Lockwood’s piece Piano Garden is well known. And her first pieces in the series “Piano Burning” and “Piano Drowning” are pretty much in the canon of modernist music along side stuff by Cage, et al.

    I’ll never have that recipe again…

  12. chronophobe says:

    I grew up in Brewster which is right next to Harwich. It is indeed a quiet area, especially in the fall/winter. The Harwich police don’t have much more to do than bust drunk drivers in the winter.

    I was actually in Harwich last night – it’s pretty bizarre that this story is getting national (international?) attention. I even saw it on

  13. bolamig says:

    Must have been a slow news day. That’s the only explanation I can see for including the homophobic joke about police officer “Liberace” in the story.

  14. SC_Wolf says:

    #23 posted by Takuan, November 24, 2008 1:47 AM

    in a wood? Merits a hmmm. Now, impress me with a really difficult location.

    Try this on for size: a piano in the mess hall of a balistic missile submarine.

    In 1961, during the construction of the USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610), a Steinway was brought onboard prior to the hull being sealed. It remained on board, through active patrols until the submarine was decommissioned in 1983.

  15. reviewstew says:

    perhaps someone was letting the piano “settle” before using it in a performance of LaMonte Young’s “Well-Tuned Piano”? Middle of the woods in New England seems a perfect spot for that…

  16. mdh says:

    JesseMoya ftw (and good luck, man).

    If you’re any good, find a piano-bar with a view and secretly tip the player to take a 10-minute break.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What, no love for Charlie Stross’s Merchant Princes series? Seriously?

  18. Beanolini says:

    The culprits responsible for the Ben Nevis piano mentioned above were identified shortly after its discovery; another man also confessed to carrying a harmonium up the same mountain.

  19. FoetusNail says:


  20. Anonymous says:

    My theory is that it was set up for a wedding in the woods, and the police either ruined the wedding by taking the piano while the wedding party was getting ready, or (hopefully) took the piano after the service and the “piano movers” were at the reception, with plans to pick up the instrument before going home for the night.

  21. Takuan says:

    figures it was a BB reader. Mutant.

  22. BearsAssaultedByBasil says:

    Someone left the piano in the woods
    And I don’t think I can take it
    Because it took so long to bake it
    And I’ll never see that recipe again
    Ohhhhh nooooo!

  23. jahknow says:

    ["Thanks, Olaf!"]

  24. BearsAssaultedByBasil says:

    Damn, Neon beat me to it, but I didn’t notice.

  25. jessemoya says:

    @ #96:

    Yeah, I was at work and didn’t re-read my post that well.

    I initially only went into so much detail because I was going to introduce “cousin Will” earlier in the story and then say that the reason it was still there was because she had cheated on me with none other than the guy who helped me take the piano out to the woods! So I couldn’t ask the same guy to help me move it out of the woods.

    I was hoping to then add that when I confronted him we got in a fight so he then went to move to live with his uncle and his auntie in Belle Aire.

    But, ah, the story was getting pretty long so I aborted from the obvious joke to a less amusing hoax. Not my finest work.

  26. jessemoya says:


    Hey, thanks for that. The girlfriend is real, and the plans to learn that song are real. See, she’s got this birthday coming up, and a classy chick like her would probably LOVE that place you suggested. Thanks!

  27. ekricyote says:

    Looks like the Midnight Society couldn’t afford an outdoor organ.

  28. avraamov says:

    ‘it’s not art if it doesn’t explode.’

  29. Takuan says:

    “someone left a piano in the woods,

  30. Gilbert Wham says:

    @#67: That could be a koan. Beautiful.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Actually, I hope someone goes and adopts it, and keeps it in their home to enjoy. They might not have been top of the line, but I learned to play on an Acrosonic — and if I weren’t so far away, I’d rent a U-Haul and go pick it up.

  32. ivan256 says:


    When I was a kid some friends and I bought some chairs and a table from some garage sales and set them up in the woods. We used them for a few years before somebody found them and cleaned them up.

    @SC Wolf

    I wonder how it sounded from other vessel’s listening in to try and detect “enemy” subs….

    I suspect the “in tune” claim. Most of the times that somebody has gone out of the way to tell me that a particular piano is “in tune”, it’s clearly *not* upon playing. Most people don’t know the difference between an in-tune and out-of-tune piano unless the out of tune piano is severely out of tune.

    Two modestly strong guys with back straps can move uprights that weigh far more than an Arcosonic, which is quite light as far as pianos go.

  33. Andreas says:

    There’s something familiar about this. I have a vague memory of a similar story, with an equally vague recollection that it was in the UK.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I assume the piano placed in the woods is kin to the jar in Tennessee, “round . . . upon a hill, . . . and tall and of a port in air” in Wallace Steven’s “Anecdote of the Jar”:

    I placed a jar in Tennessee,
    And round it was, upon a hill.
    It made the slovenly wilderness
    Surround that hill.

    The wilderness rose up to it,
    And sprawled around, no longer wild.
    The jar was round upon the ground
    And tall and of a port in air.

    It took dominion every where.
    The jar was gray and bare.
    It did not give of bird or bush,
    Like nothing else in Tennessee.

  35. Jardine says:

    It took a handful of police to move the piano into a vehicle to transport it to storage, so it would appear that putting it into the woods took more than one person.

    No kidding. Even a piano that size is damned heavy. I remember moving our old piano to a relative’s home and there were at least five of us, one of whom routinely picks up gravestones by himself and three more who are quite large. Our piano was bigger than the one in the story so moving it involved mostly rolling rather than lifting.

    My guess is that piano weighs at least 300 pounds, probably more like 400.

  36. David Bruce Murray says:

    Any task that requires “several” government employees to accomplish can easily be performed by one resourceful, reasonably strong individual.

  37. Takuan says:

    @69 Dr.Octopus was a performance artist?

  38. Cicada says:

    If you see a dead body in the woods, I understand calling the police. Ditto something on fire, an impending disaster, or something like it.
    I don’t follow the link of “A piano! Quick, call the cops!”

  39. fg says:

    Punch-drunk love.

  40. Takuan says:

    perhaps this would be the best fate for the old upright. But 700 pounds….

    any good piano moving disaster stories out there?

    • Antinous says:

      any good piano moving disaster stories out there?

      All piano moving stories are bad. One friend (a professional pianist) had the professional piano movers get it stuck on the stairwell and have to cut off a corner to get it out in any direction.

      We had an out of tune, abandoned, landlord piano that we finally decided to move to the garage. The first try involved a team of half a dozen large, young, male movers who couldn’t manage to do it. The next try consisted of two tiny, little old men who had the thing downstairs in three minutes. When moving a piano, brains count.

  41. Anonymous says:

    if a piano plays in the woods

    does it make any music


  42. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    Better than leaving a Tuna Fish.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I am pretty certain this piano belongs to lovely Frida Hyvönen. At least her video would hint that way:


  44. noen says:

    someone left a piano in the woods

    I heard someone else left the cake out in the rain.

    Why assume it was hauled there by someone? Could be a rift in the fabric of space/time. Is there a military base nearby?

  45. Anonymous says:

    This all would leave one to believe that the real victim here, is music.

  46. TheRev says:

    I used to keep a piano soundboard, just the part with the strings, in my backyard. I especially loved it when the acorns fell of the trees. I moved and I don’t have a backyard anymore, but I’d do it again.

  47. padster123 says:

    There’s a beach on the shore of a Loch in Scotland I used to visit in the ’80′s that had a beautifully decaying metal grand piano skeleton on it.

    I wish I could’ve taken it away and hung it on a wall – it was gorgeous.

  48. buddy66 says:

    What’s the strangest thing you ever found in the woods? Anyone?

  49. arkizzle says:

    You guys call the police for the oddest shit.

    If thay was Ireland or UK that piano would have been ignored and decayed gracefully over years, becoming part of the scenery..

    Or tagged up and torched, depending on where it was left.

  50. minTphresh says:

    my friend found a 54 ft. 2-masted wooden sailboat in the middle of nowhere woods in minnesota. he fixed it and sailed her down the mississippi. for reasons that would take too long to explain here, it was called “the doll’s arm”. she was a good ship an’ true…

  51. Takuan says:

    they had to – subversive music could have been played.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Pagans, a lonely Anne Rice vampire in the night or a KKK meeting grounds… we may never know for certain.

  53. midnightsimon says:

    @ #10
    If thay was Ireland or UK that piano would have been ignored and decayed gracefully over years, becoming part of the scenery..

    Or tagged up and torched, depending on where it was left.

    What’s the difference?

    I do think its ridiculous that they removed the piano though. I think it’s a pretty moving example of guerrilla art. Imagine walking in the woods and finding that piano there, and then sitting down and playing some music or making some sounds for the woods.

  54. Cain says:

    There’s this Japanese animation directed by Masayuki Kojima. It’s called “Piano no Mori”. Or “The Piano Forest”. Beautiful story.

  55. Anonymous says:

    More than likely, the police-caller probably thought she was doing some sort of good deed – figured it was stolen or lost.

    Look, it’s not a _smarter_ theory, but I doubt she thought it was a bomb.

    Wait… was this near Boston? Fuck, nevermind then.

  56. Marcel says:

    I think I know who this paino belongs to. Remember this guy?!

  57. LegoShark says:

    This is actually pretty awesome. I wish this kind of thing happened more often.

  58. IWood says:

    R E W A R D
    Lost piano
    Answers to “Tinkles”

  59. mrsomuch says:


    Whoa!!!! sextuplets! I always find it creepy when they’re dressed the same tho….

  60. Anonymous says:


  61. Pantograph says:

    @Cicada #6: Somebody dumped their trash in the woods. It could be a car wreck, it could be an old stereo it could be tree vats of chemicals. In this case it’s a piano.

    To think that a fully tuned piano is somehow nobler than any other piece of discarded junk and therefore deserves to be exempt from littering laws smacks of classism to me.

    I personally think that the piano was left over by one of those “rave” get togethers. You know where the bright young things get together in their finest wigs and attire and dance to young Mr. Mozarts menuets till dawn. It’s an awful nuisance to see those kids all hopped up on coffee and snuff waving their fans and reciting Boccaccio to each other.

  62. FLG says:

    That is beautiful. Sucks it’s been taken away. I mean your imagination can just run away with something like that.

  63. EnglishNerd says:


    I don’t think this piano was from a rift in time because 4.) it wasn’t a couch, g.) it wasn’t bobbing along pleasantly, .14) it wasn’t on a cricket pitch, and first of all there wasn’t a man in a bathrobe sitting on it.

  64. Takuan says:

    the significant thing is the stool.

  65. nanuq says:

    If a piano plays in the woods and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?

  66. wombatfarness says:

    This is what it will look like in 20 years:

  67. AletaAnne says:

    If the piano was left in the woods here in Tennessee, someone would use it for target practice.

  68. specmysticon says:

    A piano in the woods? Sorry, but this sounds like the work of a writer whose story we rejected.

    As I recall, I cited that although there was nothing wrong with a piano appearing in the woods, the instant-dancing behavior of the police officers on the scene seemed a tad unrealistic.

    The writer emailed back something to the effect of ‘I’ll show you’. He was from Massachusetts, if I’m not mistaken.

    I never expected this, though.

  69. Takuan says:

    in a wood? Merits a hmmm. Now,impress me with a really difficult location.

  70. Takuan says:

    …strangest… I’ve found all kinds of things, natural and otherwise, but a good mystery…. that’ll take some memory dump and sort.

  71. Evil Paul says:

    This would be of interest to the World Association for Ruined Piano Studies

    Ross Bolleter has released several albums worth of music for ruined pianos since 1990.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Acrosonics are crap. VERY high inharmonicity. That essentially means that even if they’re in tune, they’re out of tune. There’s no way this piano was in tune. They just said that to add to the oddity. Plus, I know for a fact that a piano can go out of tune in literally minutes from sunlight. My class at North Bennet Street School will have a good laugh at this one tomorrow morning.

  73. Cicada says:

    @16- For litter, it would seem calling the grounds crew or parks department would be more apt. Involving whatever a “handful of police” is, plus an investigation seems a bit of overkill.

    One might hope to save the police for the dangers to public safety. Unless the piano’s dangling out of a window, it probably doesn’t qualify.

    On the other hand, I’m guessing Harwich, Massachusetts is a very, very quiet town.

  74. noen says:

    It’s an art installation. It isn’t meant to be played. You are supposed gaze upon it and contemplate the music of nature all around you contrasted with the canon of western music of which the piano is a signifier.

    Someone should have taken photos and submitted them to Art Forum along with the above. God, I bet I could write that up and get a grant. It could be a movie: “Piano with Silverback Gorillas” signifying the clash of civilization and endangered species. Or “Piano on an ice flow” signifying the collapse of civilization as the poles melt.

    I’m gonna need funding.

  75. Takuan says:

    it’s not art if it doesn’t explode.

  76. Anonymous says:

    I would be pretty annoyed if I turned up with my enormous trebuchet to find that the cops had taken my ammo.

  77. BastardNamban says:

    If it was in such immaculate condition, and in a place where people are likely to occasionally show up (a walking path), I’d too think it was guerilla art.

    We need more objects placed in random places, completely out of context. Like Dadaist installation art. Imagine the most random object of elegance & mystery you can, and place it somewhere out of the way and strange.

    We could create a movement out of this. Duchamp would be pleased.

  78. building39 says:

    Hmmm. What with Thanksgiving coming up, the first thing that came to mind was, “Is that Officer Obie?” but it looks like Harwich is a good 200 miles from Stockbridge. I wonder how Alice and Ray are doing these days?

  79. Haesae says:

    Wish they’d lit it on fire.

  80. Takuan says:

    your fifteen minutes is upon you Jesse, the piano story is on every mainstream feed.

  81. Bloo says:

    All of those comments, and not one reference to “Autumn Leaves”?

  82. TAR ART RAT says:

    over the years I have found 2 perfectly working typewriters AND 2 perfectly working sewing machines… (ok, but not out in nature)

  83. avraamov says:

    this is an art installation commenting on the current banking crisis IMO.

    from the wiki on Baldwin Piano’s:

    ‘Throughout the 1970s, the company undertook a significant bid to diversify into financial services. Under the leadership of Morley P. Thompson, Baldwin bought dozens of firms and by the early 1980s owned over 200 savings and loan institutions, insurance companies and investment firms.’

  84. ill lich says:

    I have considered doing something like this for years– there are always free pianos on craigslist, I would get a kick out of putting it someplace weird and sitting there and playing it in the middle of the night.

  85. nialldebuitlear says:

    Here is some info about a prject to place pianos in public for anyone to use.

    “Play me, I’m yours.” So reads the tag sprayed onto fifteen pianos that appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in various locations scattered across Birmingham one spring morning earlier this year.

    Luke Jerram is the installation artist who worked with the FIERCE arts festival to bring the pianos to the streets.

  86. Purly says:

    Wow the police must be bored out there in Harwich. Where I live, if the police found a piano in the woods it would have remained there.

  87. Anne K. says:

    This reminds me of one time out hiking in the backwoods of Minnesota and coming upon a large man-made pole complete with a phone. It had a dial-tone and everything. In the middle of the woods. Like the deep deep woods. Like bear fur on the pole.

    Maybe it was the bear’s party line?

  88. planettom says:

    Was a nude Terry Jones from Monty Python seen leaving the scene?

    Alternately, it might be an alien who’s come to Earth and assumed the form of a piano-shaped lifeform.

  89. Takuan says:

    I wonder if a branch bent down and tied could eventually be strung to the trunk as a harp?

  90. Anonymous says:

    jesse moya @ 83 – “My recently ex -girlfriend” ?

  91. buddy66 says:

    Leave it too long and something like this will happen.

  92. mellowknees says:

    all I have to say is: have you ever tried to get rid of a piano? No one wants them. Goodwill won’t take them; schools don’t want them; churches already have pianos. You can’t PAY people to take them most of the time. Maybe dumping it in the woods was easier than trying to take it somewhere legit to get rid of it.

  93. Daephex says:

    If you’re interested in the aforementioned Ross Bolleter, here’s a radio show from my archives:

    “This week’s show went very well. I attempted to keep things on track with a general theme. In this case, the theme was a reflection upon decay, and pianos. I know that sounds silly, but with the week I experienced– William Basinsky popping up in a variety of discussions, reading a book about John Cage’s early piano compositions, losing a hard drive, learning about decaying cassette loop art, etc– well, the show starts to make more sense. Topping it all off was a listener “request” (rather, a bit of musing, I suspect) wondering about the sound of a piano on fire. Even though I didn’t have any flaming pianos handy, I did have a nice recording of one being dropped by a crane. I also played more of the fantastic Danielle Palardy Roger release “Bruiducoeur, prieres des infideles” from the ever-amazing Ambiances Magnetiques label. I’m not so sure it didn’t scare the pants off the little boy who came to the studio to help his mother with the children’s music show that follows my broadcast!” –”It’s Too Damn Early,” WDBX-FM 2/25/06

    Here’s the download link

  94. mdh says:

    You guys call the police for the oddest shit.

    Nah, Harwich is a very small town, and expensive things like tuned pianos or cars or boats found on public land have a good chance of having been stolen and ditched.

    Small town Massachusetts law enforcement, even 40 years later, is still well described by Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving classic “Alice’s Restaurant”. I listen to it every Thanksgiving.

    CicadaI’m guessing Harwich, Massachusetts is a very, very quiet town.

    It really is, especially after the summer tourists go away and the cranberries are harvested, not far from where I am.

    I’ll bet the piano was brilliant in the foliage a couple weeks back. Harwich gets good colors.

  95. RedMonkey says:

    I’ve seen this piano story in a few places, and the lack of actual “newsworthy-ness” makes me thing this is some kind of viral marketing ploy. People leave junk lying around all the time, some of it is very nice junk, it doesn’t make it national news.

  96. pianomover says:

    We call it pianarchy.

  97. brokebutstilldrinking says:

    We did something very similar with all the furniture after our college tenure except we left ours in front of someone’s garage door.

  98. craniac says:

    Anecdote of the Jar
    Wallace Stevens

    I placed a jar in Tennessee,
    And round it was, upon a hill.
    It made the slovenly wilderness
    Surround that hill.

    The wilderness rose up to it,
    And sprawled around, no longer wild.
    The jar was round upon the ground
    And tall and of a port in air.

    It took dominion every where.
    The jar was gray and bare.
    It did not give of bird or bush,
    Like nothing else in Tennessee.

  99. jessemoya says:

    OH. MY. GOD. This is so embarrassing. It was mine. :(

    My recently ex-girlfriend really liked that song, “You Give me Something,” so I picked up a guitar six months ago and tried to learn so that I could surprise her and sing it to her (secret #1). I am AWFUL at guitar!

    Six months ago I had also started saving for an engagement ring (secret #2).

    I soon abandoned the guitar idea and signed up for piano lessons. My mom let me borrow a keyboard that she bought years ago when she tried to learn piano so that I could practice.

    By then the plan had been that I’d drive out the night before to these woods, plant the guitar in some place where it wouldn’t be stolen, and then happen upon it and perform a mini concert and – hey! – there’s a ring in my pocket, too!

    Well, the keyboard needs electricity, so that won’t work. Hey, thinks I, how crazy of a story would that be if I took an actual piano out to the woods? Surely she’d be impressed and have a story to tell for all her friends.

    So, with the help of my cousin Will, I bought a piano from Craigslist and took it out to the right spot Saturday night. Sunday we were supposed to take our little stroll to “admire the forest” before full on winter.

    Her dog died yesterday. MAJOR BUMMER. We postponed the trip. We WERE going to go today, but since my piano is gone, I have some quick thinking to do. And, I guess, some phone calls to the Harwich police.

  100. Cool Products says:

    [Obligatory "Cool Story Hansel" response]

  101. jayKayEss says:

    “Whoever” is correct here.

  102. tenner says:

    That photo looks downright Norman Rockwell.

  103. tokmik says:

    This reminds me of one time out hiking in the backwoods of Minnesota and coming upon a large man-made pole complete with a phone. It had a dial-tone and everything. In the middle of the woods. Like the deep deep woods.
    Houston Piano Lessons

  104. manicbassman says:

    #9 piano moving disaster…

    it fell off the lorry tailgate while trying to manouever it around

  105. jessemoya says:


    I thought of that, but wondered how the whole “public proposal” thing might go over with her. I, er, will have to look to find a bar like that around here.

Leave a Reply