What the Flap?! Adele to Arch Digest: Celeb Stylists’ Epic Piano Gaffes

What the Flap?! Adele to Arch Digest: Celeb Stylists’ Epic Piano Gaffes

These high-profile artists failed in opening their pianos; we’ll show you how it’s done.

The iconic sight of a grand piano, wide open and displayed at a concert hall or music venue, just waiting to be played, is one we’re all used to seeing. What often gets overlooked by those less familiar with the instrument is the proper folding back of the lid. 

For those less familiar with this vocabulary, we’re referring to the front lid. For safety purposes, it should be folded over, along the piano hinge, resting over the main lid. See photos below for examples.

There is a safe way to open your grand piano lid, and let the notes sing. The photos below show the process:

The Steinway piano lid is carefully lifted up and folded back.

Our team also created this video to illustrate the proper way to open your piano:


Many non-pianists forget this, resulting in some hilarious photos of musicians and home designs where the flap was never folded. Prepare yourself to say… What the flap?! 7 times:

Tom Petty and the Forgetful Flap Flippers

Photograph of Tom Petty's home studio from the Mansion Global article featuring Petty's Malibu mansion with the aforementioned unfolded flap.

Although Tom Petty (the leader of the band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) was famously known as a singer/songwriter and guitarist, you'd think he would have been around enough pianists to know about the flap. In this Mansion Global piece, which details the selling of his Malibu beach home, someone forgot just one tiny detail (seen in slide 8 of 9), to fold the freakin' flap! 

Marcus Roberts: The Fear of Flipping

The album cover for Marcus Roberts' 'The Joy of Joplin'.

Famed jazz pianist and composer Marcus Roberts has zero flap shame. The musician is pictured above on the cover of his album, The Joy of Joplin, with the flap down -- without a flappin' care in the world!

$130 Million Penthouse Left Flapping in Midtown

A shot of the living area from the real estate listing for the $130 million penthouse.

As the age old saying goes, "money can't buy you everything," and it didn't for this photoshoot. This $130 million Manhattan penthouse (see slides 2 and 3) has everything and more, except of course a piano with a correctly folded lid!

(Upon closer inspection, our team discovered that this is a digitally generated piano and backwards, in addition to having the flap open. If only whoever made it had read our article first).

 A close-up shot of the piano and its lid in this penthouse worth millions.

"Come On!"

Singer/songwriter Ben Jelen had the misfortune to record an entire music video, albeit one with a beautiful performance, where he plays a grand piano with the flap unfolded. Whether or not Jelen was responsible, we won't point fingers. We only have one thing to say, "come on!"

 The music video for 'Come On!'

"Ceci n'est pas une" unfolded piano lid

Parreno's installation at Bourse de Commerce pictured above.

Philippe Parreno's installation titled, "Quasi Objects: My Room is a Fish Bowl, AC/DC Snakes, Happy Ending, Il Tempo del Postino, Opalescent Acrylic Glass Podium, Disklavier Piano" installation is composed of "quasi objects," which he describes as objects with an "interactional nature," that "exist beyond themselves." It's classic modern art in the Pinault Collection at the Bourse de Commerce. Many modern art installations, forget to fold the lid, when utilizing a grand piano. It's a total "flap paux," dare we say it.

 The 8th Wonder of the World 

The grand piano that resides in the lobby of the historic Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan (Egypt).

A competing wonder with the Great Pyramid of Giza rests in the lobby of The Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan. Come for a visit, tinker on the keys, and yes, another unfolded flap. History does indeed repeat itself.

"I won't go home without" an Unfolded Lid

Architectural Digest published this photo of a grand piano residing in Adam Levine's Hollywood Hills home. 

We asked him to flip his piano flap, but he wouldn't listen. (We're kidding). What isn't a joke, is that even Grammy winners, like Adam Levine forget to fold their piano lids. You'd think he would have remembered for the Architectural Digest article photoshoot of his home. Alas, he left us with this — "just give me one more chance to make it right."