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Piano Moving & Care, Plus Piano’s in Hollywood

Piano Moving & Care, Plus Piano’s in Hollywood

If you have never seen the movie The Music Box with Laurel and Hardy you could probably youtube it and find this episode with them moving a piano, it is hilarious.

In the film ‘The Music Box’ Laurel and Hardy take a lot of trouble carrying a piano up, seemingly endless steps, leading to a house on the top of a hill.

When they finally arrive, wiping their faces, the spectator watches the piano slowly descending the stairs again, behind their backs.

First you hear the sound of the piano hitting the ground followed by a series of wild piano tones slowly fading out. All this time, the two faces of Laurel and Hardy are the only thing to be seen…

It was the longest up close in film history. They earned an Oscar for ‘The Music box’ in 1932


Moving a piano is no laughing matter. It takes much skill and experience to do it properly and safely. There are many links on the internet if you were to look up tragic stories about people moving their own piano’s, trust me you won’t like them. Or on the other hand don’t trust me, go check them out and I would guess you would think twice about moving your own piano. Storage is another important factor. I am sure being a piano owner you are aware of temperature playing a role in your maintenance and up keep of your piano. With temperature being a factor in keeping it in tune and caring for the outer structure of your piano. So, when having your piano stored for whatever reasons you need to know that the facility is about staying on top of it in a perfect temperature environment for its upmost care.

Facts: Your piano is made primarily of wood, a versatile and beautiful material ideal for piano construction. However, being made of wood, your piano is greatly affected by humidity. Seasonal and even daily changes in humidity cause wood parts to swell and shrink, affecting tuning stability and touch. Extreme swings in humidity can eventually cause wood to crack and glue joints to fail.

Other materials in your piano also are affected by changes in moisture content in the air. The many felt and leather parts in your piano’s action can change dimension, affecting regulation and friction, or stiffness of the touch. Very high humidity can even create condensation on metal parts such as strings, tuning pins and hardware, eventually causing them to rust.

Swelling and shrinking of the piano’s soundboard is the most immediate and noticeable effect of humidity change. The soundboard, a sheet of wood approximately 3/8 of an inch thick, is made with a slightly crowned shape. The strings pass over the soundboard and are connected to it by a wooden piece called a bridge. The upward crown of the soundboard presses the bridge tightly against the strings. As the moisture level in the soundboard increases during periods of high relative humidity, the crown expands and pushes the bridge harder against the strings. The strings are stretched tighter and the piano’s pitch rises. Because this increase in crown is greater in the center of the soundboard than at the edges, the pitch rises more in the middle octaves than in the bass or treble registers.


During periods of low relative humidity, the soundboard shrinks, reducing the crown and decreasing pressure against the strings. The pitch drops, again with the greatest effect noticeable in the center of the keyboard. When relative humidity returns to its previous level, the average pitch of all the strings will return to normal, although the exact pitch of individual strings will be slightly changed from their original settings. Thus, a piano only will stay in tune as long as the relative humidity level in the air surrounding the soundboard remains constant. Extreme humidity changes require making greater changes in string tension to bring the piano into tune. This upsets the equilibrium between the string tension and the piano frame, and the piano never becomes stable.


Here are a few piano related movies.

Amadeus (1984) *****

Director Milos Forman and starring Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham


The Pianist (2002) ***** (already mentioned by healdie)

Director – Roman Polanski and starring Adrian Brody


The Piano (1993) ***** (your suggestion)

Director – Jane Campion and starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin


Piano for Mrs. Cimino (1982) **** (Not sure if it has anything to do with a piano other than the title.)

Director George Schaefer and starring Bette Davis, Keenan Wynn


The Piano Lesson (1995) ****

Director Lloyd Richards and starring Charles S. Dutton


The Piano Teacher (2001) **1/2

Director Michael Haneke and starring Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot