It’s about that the parts of the octaves that are distributed between the two levels of keyboards. In the effect, it is better option than common grand piano to play Rachmaninov, Chopin and Bach… at least in theory. The system was invented by Emmanuel Moor in the 20s and 30s of the last century.
1928 WINIFRED CHRISTIE on BECHSTEIN MOOR DUPLEX GRAND PIANO J. S. Bach Toccata and Fugue – by http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oAuEN91cpU
Who was Emanuel Moor? He was born on 19 February 1863. He was a Hungarian composer, pianist and… the creator of musical instruments. His most famous invention is the Emanuel Moor Pianoforte, which consisted of two keyboards which were positioned one above the other.
He was born in Kecskemét, Hungary. He studied in Prague, Vienna and Budapest. He had tour in Europe and in the United States in years 1885-1887. Apart from his five operas and eight symphonies, he also wrote concerts for grand piano, violin, cello, viola and harp. He is also known for his triple concert for violin, cello and piano and a requiem. He died in 1931 in Vevey(Switzerland) at the age of 68. For a long time after his death, his wife – pianist Winifred Christie-Moor – promoted the device in Europe and America.
How does the piano work? It has 164 keys, four pedals, and… two keyboards.
Double keyboard of the grand piano makes sound more momentous. In contrast to organs, this piano’s keyboard has only one set of hammers and strings. The shorter keyboard is used to play notes an octave higher than those on a longer keyboard. Pressing a key on the keyboard activates the shorter mechanism inside the piano, which pulls down the appropriate key on the lower keyboard, but an octave higher.
Due to the way in which the keys are arranged -one above the other, like a staircase- the pianist can extend the reach of notes and can play beyond what is impossible on a traditional keyboard. The pianist can cover the range of two octaves, playing for example: C on the bottom keyboard with your thumb and C on the upper keyboard fifth finger.
Several leading companies were tempted to manufacture at least one copy of the instrument. There are brands such as Pleyel, Bosendorfer, Bechstein, Chickering and Steinway. They produced only about 60 pianos with double keyboard of Moor. Allmost all of that companies have lost the diagrams and plans of the mechanism (Steinway lost it during the bombing of World War II).
Initially, each manufacturer of pianos in the United States and Europe rejected the double keyboard designed by Moor. They considered it to be impossible to produce. Moor made a prototype on his own, only with the help of a carpenter. Winifred Christie Moor as a widow, had played on it for a long time. Some pianists also used the project.
The biggest problem with the invention is that the pianist would have to learn to play his entire repertoire again. The idea of production of this instrument on a larger scale was doomed to failure from the very beginning and the instrument can be considered more as an interesting fact, then the instrument that changed the way we play piano.