Phyllis Chen: Miniature music

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Phyllis Chen not only collects tiny toy pianos, she also composes beautiful music with them.

Originally created as a child’s toy, the toy piano has become the inspiration for many musicians. Phyllis Chen not only collects these instruments, she composes beautiful music with them.

“It definitely has helped to play the piano to play the toy piano, obviously, with the keys, but, it does feel different,” explained Chen. “It’s much lighter and it feels much more intimate. It’s not a very loud instrument.”

Phyllis Chen: Minature music

Phyllis Chen: Minature music

Phyllis Chen not only collects tiny toy pianos she also composes beautiful music with them.
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Chen’s compositions are elaborate and complex. She prefers to use the nostalgic sounds of childhood by sometimes incorporating music boxes.

Recently, she launched the first Bienniel UnCaged Toy Piano Festival – a festival for toy piano composers to launch their new works.

“You have to come in with an open mind,” said Chen. “You just don’t know what you’re going to get.”

Chen has released four albums and three solo albums using this unique instrument. In this week’s Full Frame Close Up, she takes us on a quirky musical journey back to our childhood.

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