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Catalog Data

Manufactured by:
Baldwin Piano Company, American, founded 1862  Search this
Used by:
Thelonious Monk, American, 1917 - 1982  Search this
wood, iron, metal, ivory, ebony
H x W x D: 38 5/8 × 58 1/2 × 70 in. (98.1 × 148.6 × 177.8 cm)
grand pianos
Place made:
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, United States, North and Central America
Although he had long had the admiration of his fellow musicians and dedicated fans, Thelonious Monk’s move to Columbia Records in 1962 signaled his acceptance by mainstream jazz audiences. This piano figured in many of Monk’s successes during the middle and late phases of his career. In late 1962, he purchased the instrument from Baldwin’s New York showroom using the money from his first Columbia advance payment. Monk’s Baldwin was the first and only piano he ever owned, after spending his earlier career practicing and composing on rented instruments or house pianos in nightclubs. Monk likely used this instrument to compose many of his later compositions, including well-known pieces like "Green Chimneys," "Stuffy Turkey," and "Ugly Beauty."
A Baldwin grand piano owned and used by Thelonious Monk. The piano is dark brown with a hinged lid. Gold pigment at the center of the fall board at the front of the piano reads “Baldwin.” The fall board can be closed to hide the keyboard. When the lid of the piano body is open the cast iron frame, pins, dampers, hammers and strings are visible. The frame has raised embossed lettering at several locations. This lettering reads “BALDWIN TRADE MARK” and “BALDWIN” at the top of the frame. At the center of the frame the lettering reads “GRAND PRIX PARIS 1900 GRAND PRIZE ST. LOUIS 1904 THE BALDWIN PIANO COMPANY CINCINNATI 9. U.S.A.” At the bottom of the frame next to the keys the lettering reads “L / 156171” and “ACOUSTIC / PATENTED / CONSTRUCTION.” Printed in black lettering at the top of soundboard, beneath the iron frame is “THELONIOUS MONK / 843 WEST 63RD STREET / NEW YORK 23. N. Y.” This text is visible through the left circular cut out of the iron frame. The piano has four legs with metal caster wheels. The piano has two lyre posts and a pedal rod attached to three pedals at the front, beneath the keyboard.
African American  Search this
Composers (Musicians)  Search this
Instrumentalists (Musicians)  Search this
Jazz (Music)  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of T.S. and Gale Monk in memory of Thelonious Monk
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
No Known Copyright Restrictions
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Musical Instruments
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture