Stanley is the name given to a player piano that takes requests via Twitter. And what is a player piano? Traditionally, it’s a self-playing piano that ‘reads’ music imprinted on a paper or metal roll. Common about a century ago during the vaudeville era, they were found in almost every smoky saloon. Stanley, created for the Seattle Capitol Hill Block Party music festival, is a new breed of player piano.
American creative agency Digital Kitchen wanted to make something that was both physical and digital to honour the spirit of Seattle. Similar to the musical umbrella that we wrote about earlier, Stanley can translate digital input into wonderful music. A custom-made moderation program scans for tweets @StanleyPiano and slots requests into a queue. Tweeters get a message when Stanley is about to play their song. With a large MIDI music library, Stanley can also ‘learn’ new songs, which is what he did for each of the 100+ artists performing in the festival.
While this foray into player piano revival has been short-lived as the festival ended this past weekend, Stanley is alive and well in the DigitalKitchen office. He has no upcoming engagements as of yet, but no doubt Stanley will be the life of future office parties. Equal parts player piano, jukebox, and digital interaction, what more can be asked for?