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#1280883 - 10/05/09 12:29 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: sotto voce]
Keith D Kerman Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3327
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Some might find this an interesting read.

http://www.speech.kth.se/prod/publications/files/999.pdf
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Keith D Kerman
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Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
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keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1280990 - 10/05/09 05:16 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: sotto voce]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: VirtuosicOne
I took this post, quoted verbatem, from a guitar forum thread that discusses "tone" from guitarist to guitarist:

**************************************

It's understandable that someone would want to get into the ballpark of a specific musician's tone, but I thought it would be helpful to note some of the factors, major and minor, that effect things. I'm open to contributions.

Factors that effect tone: [...]

Do those factors effect tone or affect tone? I imagine that some do both, but the distinction is central to the topic.

Steven


Those weren't my words. As I said, I lifted the direct quote from a post on a guitar forum re a discussion on tone. IMO, affect and effect are interchangeable or can be combined, as tone is AFFECTED by all and more of the factors he mentioned and the resultant tone is a byproduct of variable EFFECTS, some occuring in nature and others, electronically.
The primary thing to consider is that alot of our listening is through electronic mediums that impart a huge influence on the tone of the music.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

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#1281050 - 10/05/09 08:13 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: VirtuosicOne]
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
It was clear that those weren't your words, but the two verbs have different meanings. I suspect the original writer meant to use "to affect" instead of "to effect," and I thought it was worth considering what factors are responsible for the existence of tone and which are responsible for altering it.

They're not interchangeable, unless there's no difference between creating tone and merely having impact on it.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1281183 - 10/05/09 12:25 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: sotto voce]
Schubertian Offline
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Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
I have ideas about Journey's original question - and if everybody is nice to me I will share them.

Classically trained, jazz trained, pop trained or whatever, the question of beautiful tone is either important to a pianist or not. Conceivably a jazz pianist might opt for a harsh tone at times for expressive purposes. But that said, someone who has heard a good pianist at a good piano produce a singing melody, or a perfectly even scale, or a bell-like tone - the famous broken pearl necklace - might be moved to try to produce the same thing in his or her playing. Classical music demands very fine attention to all sorts of expressive resources, and so does certain types of jazz performances. It is not as simple as 'classical pianists obsess over tone'.

When Bach said that playing the keyboard is easy 'you just press the right note at the right time' he was partly being facetious, but was also contrasting the keyboards of his time with the study of the violin and the voice, for which years have to go in to producing a beautiful tone. If you play on a modern 'acoustic' piano, regardless of the type of music you play, the issue of tone production can become something you 'obsess' over, if only because the results of perfecting this aspect of playing are so beautiful and compelling.

Certainly the piano itself contributes the most to differences in tone. But a well trained pianist will bring out the expressive qualities more dramatically than an ill trained one. The string of a grand are under thousands of pounds of pressure and they respond with great sensitivity to the input from the hands. The hands deliver an impulse to the mechanism - a signal with a high frequency content. The transients from the initial impulse quickly die out and the boundary conditions imposed by the fixation of the strings themselves support a set of vibrations related harmonically. Because of the random nature of the initial transients, and the high pressure of the strings, it is very easy to overdrive the mechanism and create a harsh tone - a tone with a loud transient and unavoidable non-linearities. The limits of useful tone - tones which are both full and not harsh - are narrower than a novice player might suspect at first. The piano can be tricky this way.

The challenge of the situation is to be able to produce a full tone without overdriving the mechanism, on the one hand, and the production of an exquisitely soft tone without the notes 'dropping out' or sounding weak. The first task, limiting the transfer of power from the arms to the strings, is overcome by keeping a flexible wrist - a shock absorber - and using fluid motions with the hands. THe second task, producing a full tone at low dynamic levels, is a matter of practice at that keyboard and finding the point at which who have given it just enough.

And then all the other techniques mentioned above- timing, balance, etc - are used to support the illusion of a singing tone. If you listen carefully to recording of Richter or Kempff or Rubenstein you can hear that they create the illusion of a singing tone - or an orchestral brilliance, or clarity of tone, or separation of voices - by an almost superhuman exercise of control of the parameters mentioned.

Whether or not someone has use for this level of control within a particular style of music seems to be entirely a personal choice.



Edited by Schubertian (10/05/09 01:18 PM)
_________________________
'Always remember: the higher we fly the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.""
- Nietzsche

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#1281399 - 10/05/09 06:44 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone" [Re: sotto voce]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: sotto voce

They're not interchangeable, unless there's no difference between creating tone and merely having impact on it.

Steven


With regards to tone, they most certainly are, used in the manner in which I'm thinking of. There's an entire world of acoustic instruments that can be AFFECTED tonally by electronic EFFECTS, which can AFFECT any of the sonic parameters, for one, TONE, once recorded electronically.
Electronic effects will AFFECT the entire sonic profile, especially with regard to the timbral spectrum, which is the major defining component of tone.
Effects affect tone.
Shouldn't we be discussing this on a grammar forum? Or do we really need to flog horses over grammar when we all know exactly what's being stated?
If you really need grammar to argue a point that I'm wrong somewhere along the line, that's fairly weak.
Why not used scientific FACTS about acoustics instead? Or are there no scientific facts available to dispute all the "holes" that you perceive in my theory of pianists being able to change the timbral profile of the piano, not by changing the piano itself, or moving it into a different environment, but by some arcane methods, for no other reason other than to prove me wrrong?
BTW: I put an extra r in "wrong" to give you fuel for your next argument.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

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#1281408 - 10/05/09 06:56 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Schubertian]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: Schubertian
I have ideas about Journey's original question - and if everybody is nice to me I will share them.

Classically trained, jazz trained, pop trained or whatever, the question of beautiful tone is either important to a pianist or not. Conceivably a jazz pianist might opt for a harsh tone at times for expressive purposes. But that said, someone who has heard a good pianist at a good piano produce a singing melody, or a perfectly even scale, or a bell-like tone - the famous broken pearl necklace - might be moved to try to produce the same thing in his or her playing. Classical music demands very fine attention to all sorts of expressive resources, and so does certain types of jazz performances. It is not as simple as 'classical pianists obsess over tone'.

When Bach said that playing the keyboard is easy 'you just press the right note at the right time' he was partly being facetious, but was also contrasting the keyboards of his time with the study of the violin and the voice, for which years have to go in to producing a beautiful tone. If you play on a modern 'acoustic' piano, regardless of the type of music you play, the issue of tone production can become something you 'obsess' over, if only because the results of perfecting this aspect of playing are so beautiful and compelling.

Certainly the piano itself contributes the most to differences in tone. But a well trained pianist will bring out the expressive qualities more dramatically than an ill trained one. The string of a grand are under thousands of pounds of pressure and they respond with great sensitivity to the input from the hands. The hands deliver an impulse to the mechanism - a signal with a high frequency content. The transients from the initial impulse quickly die out and the boundary conditions imposed by the fixation of the strings themselves support a set of vibrations related harmonically. Because of the random nature of the initial transients, and the high pressure of the strings, it is very easy to overdrive the mechanism and create a harsh tone - a tone with a loud transient and unavoidable non-linearities. The limits of useful tone - tones which are both full and not harsh - are narrower than a novice player might suspect at first. The piano can be tricky this way.

The challenge of the situation is to be able to produce a full tone without overdriving the mechanism, on the one hand, and the production of an exquisitely soft tone without the notes 'dropping out' or sounding weak. The first task, limiting the transfer of power from the arms to the strings, is overcome by keeping a flexible wrist - a shock absorber - and using fluid motions with the hands. THe second task, producing a full tone at low dynamic levels, is a matter of practice at that keyboard and finding the point at which who have given it just enough.

And then all the other techniques mentioned above- timing, balance, etc - are used to support the illusion of a singing tone. If you listen carefully to recording of Richter or Kempff or Rubenstein you can hear that they create the illusion of a singing tone - or an orchestral brilliance, or clarity of tone, or separation of voices - by an almost superhuman exercise of control of the parameters mentioned.

Whether or not someone has use for this level of control within a particular style of music seems to be entirely a personal choice.



Great explanation of overall DYNAMICS and internote DYNAMICS.

The carefully controlled amount of force applied to keystrokes, relative to the whole, and each other.
However, sure as the dynamics that Charlie Parker applies to his playing while playing a plastic alto sax (he used one on several sessions while his regular horn was in hock) versus Charlie Parker playing his usual top of the line Selmer remians the same, Parker didn't produce the same TONE on both instruments.

The timbral profile of any instrument will remain unchanged, regardless of how you affect the keys, unless you EFFECT the timbre, acoustically, electronically, or by altering the instrument in some fashion.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

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#1281409 - 10/05/09 06:58 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Schubertian]
jazzyprof Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2629
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted By: Schubertian

And then all the other techniques mentioned above- timing, balance, etc - are used to support the illusion of a singing tone. If you listen carefully to recording of Richter or Kempff or Rubenstein you can hear that they create the illusion of a singing tone - or an orchestral brilliance, or clarity of tone, or separation of voices - by an almost superhuman exercise of control of the parameters mentioned.

Whether or not someone has use for this level of control within a particular style of music seems to be entirely a personal choice.

Well said.
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#1281411 - 10/05/09 07:03 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: jazzyprof]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
Originally Posted By: Schubertian

they create the illusion of a singing tone

Well said.


ILLUSION being the key word here. An illusion created solely by overall and internote dynamics. Not by controlling the tone.

Possibly I listen differently. I would hear it as excellent DYNAMIC control, not a change in the TONE of the piano, or "singing tone" (vibrato, portamento, slurs, breaths, yodels, et. al.)

A superb pianist will use DYNAMICS to elicit the full POTENTIAL of the richness of tone inherent in the piano.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

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#1281439 - 10/05/09 08:36 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: VirtuosicOne
With regards to tone, they most certainly are, used in the manner in which I'm thinking of. There's an entire world of acoustic instruments that can be AFFECTED tonally by electronic EFFECTS, which can AFFECT any of the sonic parameters, for one, TONE, once recorded electronically.
Electronic effects will AFFECT the entire sonic profile, especially with regard to the timbral spectrum, which is the major defining component of tone.
Effects affect tone....

Do you think then that the person you quoted meant to list things that affect tone rather than effect it? Perhaps he wasn't even aware of the distinction or that the inadvertent choice of the wrong word would change his meaning completely; the way it stands, he's asserting that all those factors produce tone, not that they have an effect upon it.

I don't understand your aggro, your defensive posture for such a new member, or your wish to trivialize my query as an issue of grammar policing. It's not. If a simple typo or an obvious misspelling were made, it wouldn't be commentworthy—so you can discard your suspicion about any alleged "fuel for my next argument."

All I seek is insight into or speculation about whether that writer meant "some of the factors ... that affect things" and "Factors that affect tone" where he wrote "some of the factors ... that effect things" and "Factors that effect tone"; despite your remonstrations, that simple question hasn't been answered.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1281524 - 10/06/09 01:45 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: sotto voce]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
How about those of you who believe that the tone quality of a piano can be changed by a player explain to us nonbelievers how it is done?

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#1281526 - 10/06/09 01:47 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Affect with an a means "to influence," as in "The rain affected Amy's hairdo."

Effect has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but the meaning "a result" seems to be at the core of all the definitions. For example, you can say, "The effect was eye-popping," or "The sound effects were amazing," or "The rain had no effect on Amy's hairdo."

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#1281539 - 10/06/09 02:51 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
Affect with an a means "to influence," as in "The rain affected Amy's hairdo."

Effect has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but the meaning "a result" seems to be at the core of all the definitions. For example, you can say, "The effect was eye-popping," or "The sound effects were amazing," or "The rain had no effect on Amy's hairdo."


What they don't realize is that the word "EFFECTS", is indicative in ELECTRONIC music, or any ELECTRONIC RECORDING and PLAYBACK of even purely acoustical music, of a wide range of AFFECTS.

EFFECTS can be a blanket generalization referring to any one of the innumerable ways a sound wave can be compressed, enhanced, or altered, from equalization, which directly determines and AFFECTS the TONE to echos and reverberations.

An example of this is an EWI, here played by the incredible Michael Brecker, IMO only equaled technically on sax by the master technician Phil Woods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOEF7f2HGoE

Through the use of effects, not AFECTING the tone himself, has an 8+ octave range, and can play contrapuntally.

_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

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#1281897 - 10/06/09 05:16 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]
Horowitzian Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453

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#1281966 - 10/06/09 08:05 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Horowitzian]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
_________________________
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#1281968 - 10/06/09 08:15 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Gollum says...



We be nice to you if you be nice to us.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
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#1281978 - 10/06/09 08:41 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: eweiss]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Gollum says...



We be nice to you if you be nice to us.


First, you'd have to explain to me what's offensive with my post that generated his and your attack:

What they don't realize is that the word "EFFECTS", is indicative in ELECTRONIC music, or any ELECTRONIC RECORDING and PLAYBACK of even purely acoustical music, of a wide range of AFFECTS.

EFFECTS can be a blanket generalization referring to any one of the innumerable ways a sound wave can be compressed, enhanced, or altered, from equalization, which directly determines and AFFECTS the TONE to echos and reverberations.

An example of this is an EWI, here played by the incredible Michael Brecker, IMO only equaled technically on sax by the master technician Phil Woods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOEF7f2HGoE

Through the use of effects, not AFECTING the tone himself, has an 8+ octave range, and can play contrapuntally.

****************************************

_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

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#1281983 - 10/06/09 08:45 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
What attack dude? That was my first (and now last post) on this extremely stupid thread.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1281988 - 10/06/09 08:50 PM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: eweiss]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: eweiss
What attack dude? That was my first (and now last post) on this extremely stupid thread.


It's not an attack. I'm just being as "sensitive" as others that read offensive threats into stating pure fact.
Also, what's stupid about it?

The only thing I find humorous (what others may call stupid) is the belief that once the escapement removes the hammers from contact with the strings, that a pianist can still exert some type of mystical force on them with after-touch histrionics that will magically allow the skilled pianist to somehow alter the timbral spectrum of the instrument (tone).

I do understand that there are those that wish to believe it is possible. Those that have faith that it is possible, although the concept flies contrary to every known law of acoustical science and the construcion principles of piano actions.

Merely mentioning my opinion on the subject and explaining why my belief is that the tone is inherent in the piano and not the pianist is no reason to take it as a personal attack, anymore than Galileo pointing out to the medieval church that the Earth revolves around the sun, instead of the other way around.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

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#1282093 - 10/07/09 12:03 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
V1, I think they don't like being pawned by common sense.

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#1282136 - 10/07/09 01:40 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: Jazz+]
VirtuosicOne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 144
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
V1, I think they don't like being pawned by common sense.


In some ways, I wish I had their child-like type of faith to believe in miracles like Chris Angel being able to defy gravity, the sun remaining motionless in the sky until battles are won, Doug Henning being able to make elephants disappear, Santa visiting billions of children in one night, and pianists able to control the precise manner in which hammer shafts bend to alter tone.
I wonder when they watch Chris Angel how many realize that if someone could truly defy gravity, that the Earth and everything on it that wasn't defying gravity would spin by him at 700 mph orbitally, and about 66,000 mph eliptically/heliacally, likely forcing him right through or plastering him into the Earth dependent upon which hemisphere he was formerly standing on.

Knowledge, science, and logic are not the cup of tea for those that have that type of faith.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

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#1282198 - 10/07/09 06:14 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: VirtuosicOne]
ChicksfromCorea Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/21/09
Posts: 19
Loc: Norway
Perhaps they were just "fooled" by this video. smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muCPjK4nGY4&feature=popular

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#1282202 - 10/07/09 06:26 AM Re: Is only the Classical Pianist Corner Obsessed with "Tone [Re: ChicksfromCorea]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Thread closed. Too many personal attacks and silliness.

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