Bach played by dancers running up and down the keys on a giant piano

These two amazingly talented women run up and down the keys on the giant floor-piano at FAO Schwarz, belting out an astounding rendition of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Bach never sounded so good.

Girls Rock A Giant Piano (via Kottke)


  1. bach never sounded so good? well, i’d have to differ on that part – i mean, it is just a glorified casio keyboard. still, pretty cool and well coordinated…

  2. No fair! She used her hands, which is a strict violation of Giant Piano Playing By Dancing Rule 2112.

  3. @#1: well maybe Bach never LOOKED so good is what he meant.

    Except maybe when the Amsterdam Nude Orchestra plays it.

  4. It’s not a piano piece–“Two girls play giant organ” would be more accurate, and that headline would probably have gotten more hits, too. :-)

  5. Just like in the movie, it’s obvious that the song is preprogrammed and hitting any key would create the correct next sound. They could hit the same key in the correct rhythm and the same song would play.

  6. It’s genius showmanship, but I think they’re effectively lip-synching. The rhythym of the music is way more precise than their footwork is, and the notes don’t exactly match what their feet are pressing, particularly when they’re in higher or lower octaves. Maybe the timing in the video is part of it, and maybe I don’t understand how giant foot pianos work, not being a virtuoso of same, but I do know my music, and I think this is for show.

  7. Two decades later and we haven’t advanced the giant keyboard technology past the movie Big.

  8. I think they screw up a bit around 1:11, which obviously suggests it’s “real”.

  9. @casper

    Watch the whole thing through. They get a little sloppy towards the end and hit double notes.

  10. Every time comments on some post degenerate into “I thought BoingBoing was a directory of wonderful things – this post sux – blah blah blah” people should link back to this post.
    This was a wonderful thing.

  11. Someday, given modern advances in electronics, we may be able to shrink the size of keyboards like this, perhaps making them small enough that they are played with FINGERS.

  12. I can play that in the piano (Bussoni’s transcription) and although I appreciate the gimmicky nature of this, to say “Bach never sounded so good” is laughable.

    Certainly a wonderful thing, but not from the musical point of view.

  13. Not lipsynching, they make mistakes and you can see & hear them. . .unless the mistakes were preprogrammed.

  14. I call bull as well. Between 0:16 and 0:22, the same four notes repeat, but she moves up the scale. Looks cool, though.

  15. What’s amazing is they have people doing this several times a day on weekends and holidays, and it’s been different people every time I’ve seen it. Which means that FAO Schwartz has some kind of Toccata and Fugue employee training program.

  16. Oh, and totally not fake – I’ve seen them screw up completely and laugh and start over.

  17. ” Video files store two completely different types of data. Video, a series of images at, say, 12 or 25 or 29.9997 or 30 images per second. Audio, a series of samples, at 22500 or 44100 or 48000 samples per second. Then (particularly in the case of streaming video) these have to be “muxed” together, so you have a little section of audio data in the file, followed by a little section of the video data, followed by some more audio, followed by some more video.

    Changing things – editing the video, cutting sections, adding sections, changing the framerate to suit different playback formats, combined with the fact that the framerate of the video and the samplerate of the audio probably don’t divide into each other evenly, means that keeping all this stuff in sync is surprisingly difficult.”

  18. A four footed pianist never sounded so good. Sounds like live music to me, with the imperfections. Still, all good.

  19. Never played DDR, never played Guitar Hero–but this? I would love to get some friends over and play with this.

  20. as the son of a piano teacher (who used to belt out classical pieces for Hours, Every night, for Years of my childhood), that’s a damn poor recording if they’re not playing live. If you allow for a slight lag in the video/audio synch, it matches up, plus if you’ve heard that piece enough times you’ll notice where playing with only two fingers at a time on each hand (two feet on two dancers) doesn’t get all the notes.

    fun to watch on video, bet it was damn fun to see in person

  21. Nerd Alert: Last time I was at FAO, the cabinet with the hardware that runs the piano was open, and it looked like it all goes through a rack-mounted PowerMac G4.

  22. Very fun, and to me, it seemed pretty apparent that it’s genuine, given the mistakes.

    But it’s not really Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor – it’s just bits of said work, chopped up and pressed together, much like a fast-food chicken nugget.

    Still left me with a goofy grin, though.

  23. It would be better with someone playing the Bass part by walking on their hands…

  24. Arg, clapping. Please stop clapping during performances people.

    That is all, thank you.

  25. I think I prefer my Toccata and Fugue without the jazz hands, thanks.

    Also, Christov (#18) FTW.

  26. how could you think that it is not real or that it is preprogrammed. could you not hear the error when the person started clapping. these gals are talented!

  27. Well, now isn’t this special….the humans have managed to analyze this into the ground and forgot what it was for in the first place….to simply entertain you….love to all….

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