If you’ve recently used public transport in France – namely the train, you may have noticed the pianos on display in various stations of the capital. This large operation began in the Gare Montparnasse in 2010, before expanding to various Parisian stations and elsewhere across France.
Why are there pianos in stations?
This idea was inspired by a Briton who came up with the “Play me, I’m yours” idea. The original concept was to make 1300 pianos available to the general public in 45 cities across the world. Two years after the scheme began, the SNCF decided to install some pianos in Paris stations.
These pianos are fantastic for travellers of all ages. Now, the boredom of waiting for a train can be relieved through the joy of hearing a beautiful melody and the pleasure of watching someone playing passionately. Men, women, students, families, pensioners … everyone can enjoy a restful, musical moment in what are often busy and stressful places.
#It’s Your Turn
This operation has been so successful that SNCF decided to organize a piano competition in 2014. The contest was called “Your Turn,” and was run in partnership with the Yamaha brand that provided all of the pianos. The idea was that participants had to share videos of themselves playing the piano in the stations. About 900 participants shared videos of their musical performances.
Of course, the winners received prizes:
- 1st prize: an acoustic piano
- 2nd prize: a digital piano
- 3rd prize: a compact digital piano
Today, there are about a hundred pianos in various stations across France. You can find them here: http://www.concours-en-gares.com/ou-jouer/
Did you know?
The piano was invented in the early eighteenth century, in Italy, by Bartolomeo Cristofori, who served King Ferdinand de Medici. This invention was known as “gravecembalo col piano e forte”, meaning “with harpsichord shades sweet and strong”, before being shortened fto fortepiano and then to piano, as it is known today.