Basically, a piano which is being lifted via pully to be moved into or out of someone's high-rise apartment will always fall, almost always on someone/something, often with a resounding "BONG". Hilarity usually ensues.
A common gag more often seen in cartoons includes the character rising up from within the wreckage with a mouthful of piano keys like teeth. Bonus points if they start playing by themselves.
Anvil On Head
is a similar gag using an anvil
Not to be confused with Colony Drop
- In a commercial for Glad garbage bags, a piano breaks loose from the rope used to pull it up to a third story window. Two workers use a Glad bag to make a fireman's trampoline. The piano completely misses, breaks into a hundred pieces, and the workers use the trash bag to deliver the pieces to the piano's owner. "Where do you want the piano?"
- More advertising, this time featuring a piano being pushed upstairs. Part of the PG Tips "Chimps" campaign, and possibly the most famous ad in Britain.
- That Nespresso advertisment with George Clooney uses this premise.
- There's a wonderful commercial for Clarica investment company (now merged with Sun Life) in which a woman is sitting at a bus stop. Suddenly, a man at the bus stop across the street looks hectically up at the sky, then madly starts gesticulating, pointing, and yelling, but she can't hear him. Finally someone else comes along, sees what the man's so freaked out about, pulls out a piece of cardboard and a marker, draws a big up arrow, and shows it to the woman. She looks up, then dives out of the way an instant before a falling piano crushes the bus stop. The tagline: "There's a lot to be said for clarity."
- In a running gag in Gorsky and Butch someone is trying to kill the protagonists with a piano. At one point the attack is shown from the killer's perspective, with a crosshair on the heroes and the number of remaining pianos displayed on the killer's HUD.
Film: Live Action
- The Pixar Short "Presto" features a piano dropping from the upper recesses of the stage.
- Averted in Oliver & Company in this video in which a piano is being lifted seven stories into the air and does not fall, yet Dodger somehow manages to jump off.
- In A Goofy Movie Goofy and Max meet a mime who is pretending to haul on a rope; Goofy joins in, miming a pair of shears with which he cuts the rope. A rope-bedecked piano immediately falls onto the mime.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Eddie Valiant's brother and partner was murdered by a rogue Toon who dropped a piano on his head. One of the movie's many "barely inconvenient for Toons, lethal for humans" reminders. Unlike most examples this is not remotely played for laughs.
- The classic Laurel and Hardy short The Music Box - except that a pulley is only used briefly, and most of the business revolves around an incredibly long flight of stairs.
- In Zombieland, the "Zombie Kill of the Week" goes to a Bad Ass little old lady who sets up a Piano with a pulley on purpose to fall on a zombie.
- A deleted scene from Undercover Brother shows a black man trying to hail a cab. The Man (through his Dragon Mr. Feather) prevents this by having an agent shoot out the cab's tire, sending it careening into a storefront. Then for added measure a piano drops on the cab.
- Scary Movie has a variant, the piano push (which Ghostface evades, but not the poor grandma down the stairs).
- Iron Man 3 has not so much a piano drop, as a repulsor-backed piano throw.
- Actually done to save the series' main character in Pirate King, a 2011 Mary Russell novel by Laurie R. King. Another character pushes a piano (that had been brought to a rooftop to keep up morale for some kidnapped women) from a somewhat higher roof to a lower one, killing a character who is either the titular Pirate King or his brother. (It's rather unclear which was really in charge.)
- This is part of the villain's backstory in the first Alex Rider. Impoverished Lebanese boy Herod Sayle saved two wealthy men from being crushed under a piano. Out of gratitude, they paid for him to be educated in Britain - too bad Kids Are Cruel.
- Inverted in the song "Right, Said Fred", where Fred and his mates can't shift a piano. Fred tries to remove the ceiling to lift it out, and ends up buried in rubble.
- The song never actually specifies what they're trying to move- it's generally assumed to be a piano, but it's left deliberately ambiguous. The Claymation music video explicitly shows a piano.
- In the Sesame Street song "Danger's No Stranger" (the video for which parodies the Music Video trend of The Eighties of a rock band playing in a dark alley), someone is dropped like this to go with the lyrics "And don't walk under a fallin' piano"
- In one story of the Dutch audio series "Ome Henk", taking place on April Fool's, Koos Korswagen thinks dropping a piano from his balcony on the titular character's head is the height of hilarity. Henk disagrees.
- One of the more notable objects in Crazy Climber that the player has to dodge is a falling piano.
- In the TRS 80 Text Adventure game Asylum, if you ever look up, a piano immediately falls on your head and kills you.
- In a kart-style racing game 'Looney Tunes Space Race', one of the objects you can inflict on your fellow racers is a piano. It's one of the worst, as not only are you hit by it, you're also stuck under it when a bust of a generic classical music composer falls on it too.
- Peacock in Skullgirls can drop a piano on you, and roughly 20 other items of varying sizes as well.
- Works as a Kaizo Trap near the very end of Brain Dead 13, but it can be avoided if you wait until the last possible moment... which is the right moment to press any button and escape.
- One of the heavier weapons in Crash Tag Team Racing involves throwing a piano on the track, causing an explosion of wood, ebony and ivory that obliterates all who cross it.
- In Justice League, Zatanna telekinetically batters Circe with the entire contents of a fancy restaurant, finishing with the grand piano.
- The Critic: When Jay decides to audition to be Siskel's and Ebert's replacement (they had split up), he sings "Nothing's gonna stop me now!" So an anvil falls on his head. Then a piano. Then a whale.
- One of these is set up by Dr. Doofenschmertz to catch Perry The Platypus in Phineas And Ferb, revealed with dramatic music - played by someone sitting at the piano.
- There's a Rube Goldberg device to drop a piano on Charlotte in Making Fiends, but it fails to Vendetta's dismay.
- In the Family Guy episode "Untitled Griffin Family History," there's a montage of silent Slapstick shorts starring Peter's ancestor, Black-Eye Griffin, all of which involve him getting a black eye from various objects, including a falling piano.
- This happens to Peter himself in "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing", as predicted by a fortune cookie he got.
- Rocko's Modern Life episode "Teed Off" featured a Kill Sat that launched grand pianos.
- In one episode of Gerry Anderson's stop-motion animated show Dick Spanner, a mobster offers the titular PI "a grand" to drop his current case. The grand in question is a grand piano, which misses Spanner by an inch or so. The piano player who was dropped first is not so lucky.
- Kenny from South Park has died in pretty much every way imaginable, so naturally this was one of them.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Twilight Sparkle failing to heed Pinkie Pie's Spider-Sense about falling things in "Feeling Pinkie Keen". Cue a flower pot falling on her head, followed by an anvil, followed by a hay wagon, and finally, a piano. The camera then tilts up to Derpy Hooves and a couple of other pegasi who were working on a pegasus-drawn moving truck that the things fell out of.
- The Esther episode of Veggie Tales involved a piano drop as part of a plot to assassinate the king.
- A piano is among the many, many, many things dropped on the abusive bulldog in "Bad Luck Blackie."
- Wile E. Coyote tried dropping one of these on the Road Runner once, with predictable results.
- In the Tom And Jerry short "Heavenly Puss", Tom is pulling on a stair rug to try to catch Jerry. He ends up pulling an upright piano down the stairs, which flattens him against the wall. Notably, this actually kills him.
- Tiny Toon Adventures: During the Expository Theme Tune Furball is minding his own business sniffing a flower and gets hit with a piano from nowhere, to the lyric of "Furball's unlucky."
- Garfield and Friends episode 73: "Rainy Day Robot", a robot, advertised as being able to bring about any weather on command, never actually causes rain to fall from the sky, although a number of other things do... including 27 pianos.
- The Pink Panther short where the Panther makes several attempts to cross a busy street ends with him succeeding by dressing up as a mother cat with kittens, only to end up being crushed by a piano on the other side.