In Knives Out, when the detectives start investigating the family, Benoit Blanc just keeps hitting a single note on the piano, which builds tension.

I remember there was such technique in other thriller.

What is the reference for using this technique?

  • 1
    This question has been edited substantially from its original intent, and the answer reflects a totally different question than what was originally asked. I tried editing to clarify the original question, but that edit was rejected. I’m leaving a comment in hopes someone else with a bit more reputation can come along and put things right. Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 21:03
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    @LessPop_MoreFizz I'm confused. Are you talking about the change from revision 1 to revision 2 ? What's the difference in the question, apart from tidying the language?
    – AakashM
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 15:12

3 Answers 3


From the IMDB trivia page, and having just watched it, the piano is a cue to ask a specific question:

When Benoit Blanc is first seen by the audience, he is sitting in the study listening to Lieutenant Elliot question the Thrombey family members, playing the same note on the piano at seemingly random intervals. This was not random at all; after Blanc hits the piano key Lieutenant Elliot always asks the same question; "What time did you arrive at the house?" The piano key was Blanc's signal to Elliot to ask the question.


Director Rian Johnson also addressed it in an interview with The Verge. It seems to link with the idea that the piano is a prompt to ask a specific question, but also that it breaks up a long scene:

What’s the purpose of Daniel Craig’s character hitting the piano keys during the interview scenes?

It’s just a weird goofy thing. I had written in the script that originally Blanc was going to tap the back of Detective Elliot’s chair with his foot every time he wants him to ask a specific question. And when I worked out the geography of it, I saw that Daniel was going to be too far away for his foot to reach, but there was going to be a piano back there. And so just on the day I said, “This is kind of weird, maybe plink the piano.” And Daniel kind of blinked at me and said, “Well, okay.” It’s also very intentionally odd, it’s meant to have you say, as Don Johnson says, “who the fuck is this guy?” And because it is a long scene, it’s a scene where you could easily get in a lull of question, question, question. So just to throw a couple of drum hits in there that are offbeat, I think there was a benefit to it there.

  • Thank you, I wanted also to know there was such technique in other thriller. What is the reference for using this technique
    – Ori Marko
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 11:42

It seemed to be he hit the piano each time he suspected the one being questioned was lying. If I remember correctly it occurred after the flashbacks to what actually happened and to what the person says.

It also got a reaction from the person being questioned, making them nervous.

  • yes, but I think it's taken from previous movie or book
    – Ori Marko
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 14:29
  • @user7294900 then you should edit the question back to ask that in the title. I know you didn't edit it this way - but if that is the specific question you want answering, then I would make that change.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 16:28

To be honest, he was hitting the keys (or rather that one particular key) to indicate his lieutenant (Lakeith Stanfield) to ask a specific question. He just seems to enjoy the theatrics of it.

Though initially, I thought he was hitting the key whenever the investigation got derailed from the main objective. It was an annoyingly, polite way to tell the lieutenant to get back to the point.

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