Pianist fights water pressure to play ‘Under the Sea’ beneath the waves

16 December 2022, 17:40

Pianist plays ‘Under the Sea’ deep in the ocean
Pianist plays ‘Under the Sea’ deep in the ocean. Picture: Joe Jenkins/YouTube

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A musical YouTuber dived into the sea to play a song from ‘The Little Mermaid’. And now we know how a piano sounds underwater...

‘Underwater pianist’ Joe Jenkins is a master in making videos of pianos being played in unusual places. From outside Buckingham Palace, to an actual hot air balloon, his acoustic adventures have gained him more than four million YouTube subscribers.

As his latest pianistic venture, Jenkins was challenged by one of his followers to sink a piano into the sea, and play it.

“In this video,” Jenkins says of his performance, “I play the song ‘Under the Sea’ actually under the sea.”

Wearing scuba diving gear and a two-piece red suit, the YouTuber dives into the deep waters off Swanage on the south coast of England and plays the song ‘Under the Sea’ from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Read more: Engineer fills his piano with water and climbs inside it like a swimming pool

I Played UNDER THE SEA, Under The Sea

Ahead of the shoot, he appeared on UK television to pledge that he would take on the challenge.

After speaking to millions live on air, Jenkins was informed that this challenge had already been done by the YouTuber Zealous, who filmed himself ‘playing’ a sunken piano sculpture underwater in the Bahamas, placed there by American illusionist David Copperfield.

But while the sculpture (see below) does emit soft classical music, the piano is in fact, unplayable.

Read more: 16 striking musical sculptures that adorn the world’s streets and parks

Logistically, Jenkins said that finding a piano whose keys wouldn’t expand when immersed in water, was a challenge in itself.

The piano he eventually landed on was a Shannon Lindner instrument, purchased from a family in Tewkesbury. Lindner pianos use plastic, rather than wooden, mechanisms, which do not expand. “I think that will be the key to solving my problem!” Jenkins says in the video.

Before moving the piano from the family’s house, Jenkins gave them a taster of its new home with a quick rendition of The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’.

“Like a yellow submarine, I turned my piano into a submarine and I waterproofed [the instrument],” he adds on the YouTube video.

Ready to play the piano underwater, Jenkins had one more problem to solve – getting the piano keys to sound underwater. He added pins to the piano’s hammers meaning it would be metal discs hitting the strings, rather than felt, producing a sound more akin to a harpsichord.

“This was amazing!!” one of Jenkins’ followers commented on the end result. “Now I doubt you could play Mr Blue Sky while in the sky.”