John Birge saw a "Da Vinci keyboard"…in 1984

In an e-mail to the Classical MPR team, host John Birge shared a story about his personal experience with what’s become Internet-famous as “the Da Vinci keyboard.” With his permission, I’m sharing it here.

“Since David Letterman spoofed the CBS news coverage of ‘the Da Vinci keyboard,’ this classical music story has now officially gone mainstream. When the story broke last week, it touched a dim memory, but I couldn’t figure it out exactly what, until Norman Lebrecht posted this article.

“Aha! That’s when it came back to me: I actually saw one of these instruments back in the summer of 1984 on vacation in Brussels, at the fantastic musical instrument collection there. I dug around my old photos and found a postcard image from the museum store (above), and a personal snapshot–which shows the instrument in a less handsome state.

Da Vinci Keyboard.jpg

“It wasn’t in any way playable, so the video making the rounds this week is wonderful to hear as well as see!”