Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tickle my bones

You may not import a piano into this country if the keys are made of non-antique ivory, a measure which helps to protect the dwindling populations of ivory-bearing animals.

originally uploaded by woxy.
Steinway and other piano makers thus use synthetic material to cover their keys, something which I am sure grieves many an old-fashioned music lover.

But now does technology come to the rescue? You can already arrange to have a laboratory produce rings cultured from your own bone:
When you think about it for a while, it’s like ivory but more ethical, and the material has never been part of Harriet, just grown from her code taken from her body.

Well, pretty close - ivory comes from teeth, not bones, but they're both composed of the mineral apatite, and some craftsmen do use beef bone to cover keyboards.

So what could be better than to own a piano where the keys are covered in your own bone? I can only think of one instrument possibly cooler in this morbid way: a xylophone constructed of cultured strips of the player's bone. (I would rather call it instead an osteophone but that name seems to have been already usurped.)

It would be the perfect instrument on which to perform the Danse Macabre or perhaps some Tom Waits.


Kelley said...


That is really creepy. Kind of reminds me of LifeGem.


RichM said...

Well I'm not clamoring to get a set of my own bone rings either. But think of all the innocent elephants that can be saved (in the case of pianos, that is).

The LifeGem thing is just not my style.