The secret behind the frenzied piano playing in “The Penthouse”: Kim So Yeon had to video-call her sister to practice the segment 

Her effort somewhat paid off as the scene became the most memorable after the series wrapped up. 

The Penthouse” is arguably the most well-loved chaebol infighting drama that subsequently popularized this TV genre. Among the stellar cast, Kim So Yeon was one of the best performers in the drama as the antagonist Cheon Seo Jin. Her talent for acting expressed itself from her battle with others through to the conflicts within herself. Among the memorable scenes from the series, her manic piano playing sequence after murdering her own father was a hall-of-fame-worthy shot. The soaking wet outfit, blood-stained hands and mad expression while banging on the piano were imprinted on the mind of viewers. 

Kim So Yeon penthouse
Kim So Yeon’s splendid performance 
Kim So Yeon penthouse
Her expressions for the scene was flawless 
Kim So Yeon penthouse
They leapt from anger to resentment, fear to regret 

The piano segment in the series was an excerpt from the “Mazeppa” by Franz Liszt. Notably, the player of the piece, Kim So Yeon had no prior knowledge of piano. When she received the script and learnt there would be a piano scene, she spent two months practicing the segment despite not knowing how to read the music sheet. However, in those two months, she could not go out to practice with her instructor due to COVID-19 restriction in Korea and eventually had to go to her oldest sister, who is a violinist, for help. 

Kim So Yeon penthouse

Her sister had her husband video-call Kim So Yeon while playing the piece and they kept the routine for two months. As the actress could not learn all the fundamentals in such a short time, she tried to memorize the keyboard and practiced until it was perfect. 

Kim So Yeon penthouse
The highly elaborate piece 

In the end, the edit process still cut out the sound of her playing and kept the visual only. In response Kim So Yeon said: “I only practiced that one piece. It was really my fingers playing the piano in that scene, but since my playing was amateurish, they used audio of a professional.”  

Image source: SBS

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