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#1355345 - 01/22/10 07:29 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Puck01]
Puck01 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 54
Loc: Bern, Switzerland, Europe
5


Attachments
fantasia23.zip (15 downloads)


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#1355346 - 01/22/10 07:30 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Puck01]
Puck01 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 54
Loc: Bern, Switzerland, Europe
6


Attachments
fantasia24.zip (10 downloads)


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#1355347 - 01/22/10 07:34 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Puck01]
Puck01 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 54
Loc: Bern, Switzerland, Europe
I have uploaded my pictures and sound samples, but I think the site administrator has yet to allow the files to be published ...

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#1355374 - 01/22/10 08:24 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Puck01]
Puck01 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 54
Loc: Bern, Switzerland, Europe
Here is another server I have put my stuff on temporarily, in case my uploads here do not work:

http://bildung.freepage.de/pinboard/piano/

You may have to download the sound files to your desktop (or any other folder) by rightclicking the links.

Notice the "sobbing" quality of the sound, which normally is not found on a standard Yamaha grand and hardly on a good Steinway grand, but this is typical of early fortepianos. I was playing with only little dynamic changes. My neighbor is a nurse and at the moment doing her night shifts. I promised her to 'behave' so that she could sleep in the daytime...


Edited by Puck01 (01/22/10 01:05 PM)

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#1355691 - 01/22/10 05:22 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Del]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Del
Originally Posted By: acortot
you will need to balance the keys again.. you can get rid of a bit of lead probably and make the action lighter.

in the future you might consider lowering the tension of the string-scale and using softer wire like puresound or the like.

might have some problems with the thick and stiff soundboard though..

Maybe Del might have a better grasp of this issue.


Had I been doing the whole job, yes, I would probably have replaced the soundboard and ribset with something thinner and lighter. And I'd have dropped the tensions down some. But this would have driven the cost up considerably. It sounds like the solution Puck01 has come up with on his own is satisfactory for now. Five years from now – who knows? – he may be ready to try soming more advanced.

Personally I was delighted to read this account. I’ve long been an advocate of toning down the modern piano. It would be ever so much better for the industry to offer a broader range of options. I’d like to see a modern version of the fortepiano offered in various lengths and styles. Picture a nice 200 cm grand built on a lighter physical scale (saving quite a lot of mass and even some floorspace) using lower tensioned scales that could be driven by hammers weighing perhaps 2/3 what the typical modern piano hammer weights. Key travel could be reduced without requiring muscleman fingers and arms. Quick, light and expressive actions. A more balanced tone palette optimized for smaller homes and apartments. I could really get carried away with this...Oh, yes, did you read about that rim I just pressed? Kind of like that....

ddf



Please, anything you can do to move something like this forward would be a good thing. I think that there really is a demand for a tamed grand piano for the home.

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#1355717 - 01/22/10 05:49 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: theJourney]
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
Quote:
Please, anything you can do to move something like this forward would be a good thing. I think that there really is a demand for a tamed grand piano for the home.


theJourney,

What you said! Fully agree!

Grands suitable for small room?

schwammerl.

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#1355823 - 01/22/10 08:49 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: theJourney]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5242
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Please, anything you can do to move something like this forward would be a good thing. I think that there really is a demand for a tamed grand piano for the home.

If they make it through the system intact the new Weber (by Young Chang) should be at least one small step in this direction.

I’ve dropped the scale tensions (the Weber scales are no longer the same as the Young Chang scales) and they will have somewhat softer hammers. The new hammers for both the Weber and the Young Chang will be cold-pressed but the Weber hammers will not be compressed quite as much.

As well, there are a few other changes to the plates, soundboards and ribs and the rim assemblies that should make them a bit more balanced and improve their dynamic range some.

You might have read the newspaper article (in our local paper—there was a link posted here a few days ago) about pressing the rim for my own new piano. This will be another step in that direction. As planned there will be two sizes; a 2.0 m (6 7) and a 2.5 m (8 2 1/2). Both share a similar shape; quite narrow and slender. They will take up less actual floor space than pianos somewhat shorter. For example, the 2.5 m pianos will take up about the same amount of floor space as a typical 2.15 to 2.2 m piano.

As designed both will have very low scale tensions (for their sizes), very light soundboard systems and very light hammers and actions. They will use WN&G composite actions and keys that are specially designed to keep the weight down yet be stiff enough to avoid premature action saturation. It is my intent to also keep the key stroke a bit on the short side—more like 9.0 to 9.5 mm rather than the current “standard” of 10.0 to 11.0 mm. (With lighter hammers this will still make it possible to balance the action with a minimum of lead.)

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1355857 - 01/22/10 09:58 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Del]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Del, it speaks volumes about your stature in this industry that you were able to get YC to go for those scale changes - and to dump the front duplex, too. You previously posted re YC being favorably impressed by the demos, but I don't recall your mentioning cold pressed hammers. Did you include those on your demos?

I'm asking about these things because what you're doing with the Albert Webers constitutes, IMO, a bit of a sea change at YC.

Ah yes, the 6'7" piano. To my eyes that's where grands begin to have a graceful appearance. The lighter 'board may pay dividends, too. There have been a few posts re people preferring the CW 175 over the 190.

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#1355898 - 01/22/10 11:15 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: FogVilleLad]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5242
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: FogVilleLad
Del, it speaks volumes about your stature in this industry that you were able to get YC to go for those scale changes - and to dump the front duplex, too. You previously posted re YC being favorably impressed by the demos, but I don't recall your mentioning cold pressed hammers. Did you include those on your demos?

I'm asking about these things because what you're doing with the Albert Webers constitutes, IMO, a bit of a sea change at YC.

Ah yes, the 6'7" piano. To my eyes that's where grands begin to have a graceful appearance. The lighter 'board may pay dividends, too. There have been a few posts re people preferring the CW 175 over the 190.

The cold-pressed hammers have not shown up in any production pianos as yet. They, like most of the other design changes, should be phased in during the next year but I don't know the schedule.

With these new hammers I'm trying to eliminate the need for most voicing at the factory. I want the pianos to achieve their design voice without the need for a lot of needling or sanding or chemical hardening; especially the latter. Still, I want to give the technician a hammer that can be worked with to take that voice up or down (within limits) fairly easily to suit a particular customer’s musical taste.

Early sample hammers have been on some of the demo pianos I've heard at the factory but there is still some work to do on felt selection and dimensioning. I've not wanted to say anything about these—or the other changes that will be coming along—until the company made their own announcements. As they have now done this I am somewhat freer to discuss the changes that are being made.

As the 2.0 and 2.5 m pianos are my own project I can say anything I wish. Or not—there are some aspects of the design I’m not yet willing to divulge. Before deciding on the 2.0 m length for the shorter of the two pianos I made several mock-ups to scale but wasn’t really happy with how they looked. I’m after a modern version of the mid-19th century pianoforte and this was the shortest size that pleased my eye. It’s not that I don’t like shorter pianos—I have a cute little 160 cm (5' 3") design that I’d like to see built someday!—but not for this project. Besides the 2.0 m piano is the shortest one I thought I could sell at a price that would compensate me for all the money and work I’m putting into the project. (How’s that for exhaustive market research!)

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1355991 - 01/23/10 02:03 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Del]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
There should be a market for shallow key dip/lighter touch pianos. I'm looking out for a mid 1800's upright to play Chopin on myself. It's another world of experience to play on the appropriate instrument.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1356422 - 01/23/10 03:16 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Del]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Originally Posted By: Del
I’m after a modern version of the mid-19th century pianoforte and this was the shortest size that pleased my eye.
Well, the length is spot on. First impressions are important and these pianos will score high on aesthetic appeal.

The shallow key dip, you do realize that those of us who occasionally resort to a slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am Jerry Lee Lewis imitation will feel a little awkward when first encountering this action;-)

Gotta love the goal, tho. So often we read about performance grands which have to be played with their lids down. I'm new to piano and can still recall the first time I played a grand, c.6 years ago. It was a parlour from Steinway Hall - not a Steiny. Played a song I'd written. Lid was down. Wasn't impressed. The owner then raised the lid. Immediately the tone bloomed and also immediately I understood the appeal of a grand. IMO if you can market a 6'7" piano which can be played at home on full stick, you'll have a winner - and one which we can recommend on PW.




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#1356433 - 01/23/10 03:44 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: FogVilleLad]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5242
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: FogVilleLad
The shallow key dip, you do realize that those of us who occasionally resort to a slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am Jerry Lee Lewis imitation will feel a little awkward when first encountering this action;-)


The dip won’t be all that much shallower. Bearing in mind that when I started in this business the “standard” key dip was 9.5 mm (≈ 0.375”) for most pianos. Steinway was 10 mm (≈ 0.39”). And then hammers started getting heavier…and heavier…and heavier…. Pretty soon the limits of what the human fingers and wrists can handle were exceeded and action ratios had to change.

As may be, there will be power aplenty for those who need it. Funny thing is, I’ve noticed over the years that as I provide a better, warmer and richer pianissimo the need for that crashing, strident forte tends to disappear. Folks who used to bang and crash don’t do so all that much. The only conclusion I can draw is that folks are looking for range, not just power. If the piano provides an expanded range the whole level of play comes down.


Quote:
Gotta love the goal, tho. So often we read about performance grands which have to be played with their lids down. I'm new to piano and can still recall the first time I played a grand, c.6 years ago. It was a parlour from Steinway Hall - not a Steiny. Played a song I'd written. Lid was down. Wasn't impressed. The owner then raised the lid. Immediately the tone bloomed and also immediately I understood the appeal of a grand. IMO if you can market a 6'7" piano which can be played at home on full stick, you'll have a winner - and one which we can recommend on PW.

I will be very disappointed to see these pianos played with their lids down. I’ll be even more disappointed if it is necessary. Maybe I’ll have to put some sort of interlock device in there to prevent that from ever happening.

I’ll also be disappointed if any type of hydraulic lid lift device is necessary to help one lift the lid.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1356449 - 01/23/10 04:25 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: FogVilleLad]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: FogVilleLad
[quote=Del] IMO if you can market a 6'7" piano which can be played at home on full stick, you'll have a winner - and one which we can recommend on PW.



Hear! Hear!

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#1356454 - 01/23/10 04:31 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: theJourney]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 473
Loc: Italy
I agree that the key to dynamic range is pianissimo.

here is my Erard at home..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTSdZ70m2gI

a friend is improvising..

the sound is not so good because it's the audio from my JVC emerio videocamera.

consider that the piano you see is 2.12 meters, but because of the low-tension scale and parallel stringing it occupies less space than one would think..

and the weight of the piano is about 300 Kg total, I can lift one side by hand

Erard was the heaviest and loudest french piano..

my 1844 pleyel is so light that I've put it on it's side by myself (with the legs off) from the floor. it is a 2m piano and yet it is quite small-looking.
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn - Alfred Cortot

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

Max DiMario

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#1356455 - 01/23/10 04:32 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: acortot]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 473
Loc: Italy
consider that even on fortepianos, more layers of leather were added to the bass.
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn - Alfred Cortot

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

Max DiMario

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#1356480 - 01/23/10 05:40 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: acortot]
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
A 200 cm+ grand which has to be played with the lid fully open and which produces the ideal dynamic range appropriate for the home environment ........that leaves me with a practical question:

How is Young Chang going to market these Albert Weber grands?

Despite the fact that apparently quite a few piano lovers appaer to be interested in this concept how are these prospect buyers going to testdrive/audition these grands in the usual big factory like dealer showroom environments?

Testdriven in the above conditions I could imagine one would not find the sound and dynamic range to be splendid.

Will Young Chang need to instruct dealers to provide for the appropriate home environment like acoustic conditions in there showrooms? Or will one have to trial these grands straight in one own's home environment (which is not very practical, if at all feasable)?

I coulod see a tough job for both YC and the dealers.

schwammerl.

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#1356662 - 01/23/10 09:20 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: schwammerl]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5242
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: schwammerl
A 200 cm+ grand which has to be played with the lid fully open and which produces the ideal dynamic range appropriate for the home environment ........that leaves me with a practical question:

How is Young Chang going to market these Albert Weber grands?

Despite the fact that apparently quite a few piano lovers appaer to be interested in this concept how are these prospect buyers going to testdrive/audition these grands in the usual big factory like dealer showroom environments?

Testdriven in the above conditions I could imagine one would not find the sound and dynamic range to be splendid.

Will Young Chang need to instruct dealers to provide for the appropriate home environment like acoustic conditions in there showrooms? Or will one have to trial these grands straight in one own's home environment (which is not very practical, if at all feasable)?

I coulod see a tough job for both YC and the dealers.

schwammerl.


I wasn't talking about the Albert Weber or YC grands. I was talking about my own instrument. And I won't have dealers to worry about....

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1356841 - 01/24/10 02:59 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Del]
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
Quote:
If they make it through the system intact the new Weber (by Young Chang) should be at least one small step in this direction.


Quote:
I wasn't talking about the Albert Weber or YC grands. I was talking about my own instrument. And I won't have dealers to worry about....


So Del,

The Webers you were talking about are even not near your personal ideal?

If that is the case consumers will not have to worry in a foreseeable future about that practical concern,...... unfortunately?

schwammerl.

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#1356847 - 01/24/10 03:58 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: schwammerl]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 473
Loc: Italy
I think that once people get accustomed to the low-tension sound they will want to buy the pianos, even if they are not as loud.

the decay of a low-tension piano is more interesting to the ear. Hammers can be lighter, therefore making the action quicker and more sensitive. The soundboard can be made thinner and speaks quicker.

the difficulty with lower tensions is that the soundboard has to work ideally... you need to know what you are doing.
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn - Alfred Cortot

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

Max DiMario

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#1356875 - 01/24/10 06:44 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: FogVilleLad]
Puck01 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 54
Loc: Bern, Switzerland, Europe
Thanks for the positive response. By the way, the modern key dip was not changed at all. The 'feel' of playing changes though, because of the super-light hammers.

What you say about the lid up is entirely true. You want to hear the details when the hammers strike the strings. That's the nicest thing about a grand piano. The Yamaha A-149cm model has this disadvantage: The music stand is fixed in the front of the piano. On other grands, I used to shift the music stand far back into the piano, so that my ears got the sound from the treble hammers directly from under the music stand. The shifting music stand is one of the great developments which make a lot of sense to me.
However, the big volume is always a problem on modern grands. After playing for half an hour I usually have enough and my ears are ringing. I would love to have a, say, maximally 180 cm grand piano (with a lower volume, the piano does not have to be so very long to sound nice, and think of the people who live in apartments with narrow staircases), very low-tension strings, tiny hammers and a somewhat historical sound ideal, but still a modern piano. The price should not exceed $20 000, but this seems to be an absolute dream. People like Del are an inspiration. I am convinced, there really IS a market for such a grand piano. Design one model of a grand piano, that can be manufactured with a consistent quality, at a relatively low price, even in the US or in Europe, a grand piano that is supported by pianists, piano teachers and music-lovers alike, say some kind of soft-spoken Yamaha/Steinway, about 180cm, and at a price of say $20 000, then you will have a success story.

What was said about the abilty to have a large piano range as opposed to fortissimo is very true. In my opinion, a piano should rather have a voice like a human being. A piano should have an identity, like a person, rather than an orchestra or a hellish machine. We want to be touched by a piano, not shocked. That's why a piano should 'speak' and not 'shout'.

Now here is my problem with the piano I have been working on: After a few days of playing and about one and a half hours per session, I come to the following conclusion: The action is not ideal for this type of hammer. The key is on a rather long way down for such a light hammer. Maybe this could be better regulated by a piano technician. However, the sound in the middle range of the treble is always quite harsh and not convincing. I'm afraid of having this section restrung. Everyhing is mere guesswork. The bass and the higher treble is no real problem. It is difficult to differentiate between piano and forte. My fingers get easily tired when playing, though the weight is far less than standard. The overall volume of the treble is still too big and one slips too easily into a harsh forte. I would prefer a volume more similar to a fortepiano.
I would not say that this experiment is a failure. It indicates the direction in which I would like to go and the features my ideal piano should have. I pause here and have a think what next to do.


Edited by Puck01 (01/24/10 07:31 AM)

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#1356890 - 01/24/10 07:59 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Puck01]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 473
Loc: Italy
Quote:
We want to be touched by a piano, not shocked. That's why a piano should 'speak' and not 'shout'.


you've just touched on one of the major differences between musical aesthetics of the 1800's as opposed to post-20th century aesthetic.

music interpreted as speech as opposed to shouting..

initially the big divide was between the american-made shouters (including Steinway which was considered an american design I believe) and the european made talkers.

the shouters won the match... but who wants to have someone shouting in their private home all the time I wonder..

(this applies to playing style of old as well)


Edited by acortot (01/24/10 11:45 AM)
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn - Alfred Cortot

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

Max DiMario

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#1357166 - 01/24/10 04:01 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: acortot]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Originally Posted By: acortot
I think that once people get accustomed to the low-tension sound they will want to buy the pianos, even if they are not as loud.

the decay of a low-tension piano is more interesting to the ear. Hammers can be lighter, therefore making the action quicker and more sensitive. The soundboard can be made thinner and speaks quicker.

the difficulty with lower tensions is that the soundboard has to work ideally... you need to know what you are doing.
Fortunately, Del does know.

His design for the Charles Walter 190 moved in the lower tension direction and his design for their 175 added the thinner soundboard element.

Even more impressive, IMO, is his persuading Young Chang CEO B. J. Park to move in the lower tension direction. This represents a sea change at YC and gives that company the potential for marketing a distinctive tonal palette.

Change entails risk. YC would be wise to focus on dealer quality and education rather than dealer quantity, especially for their Albert Weber brand - that being the one whose tensions Del reduced the most.

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#1357190 - 01/24/10 04:29 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: schwammerl]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5242
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: schwammerl
Quote:
If they make it through the system intact the new Weber (by Young Chang) should be at least one small step in this direction.


Quote:
I wasn't talking about the Albert Weber or YC grands. I was talking about my own instrument. And I won't have dealers to worry about....


So Del,

The Webers you were talking about are even not near your personal ideal?

If that is the case consumers will not have to worry in a foreseeable future about that practical concern,...... unfortunately?

schwammerl.


I’m not quite sure where you found that conclusion in what I wrote, but….

Just as there are many piano buyers there are also many “ideals.” The piano I am building represents my own ideal without regard to its marketability or its broad appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Just as the designers of something like the Ferrari don’t have to worry overly much about how practical their ideal automobile might be as the only car in the garage of a family with three kids and the weekend shopping to contend with.

In designing—or in this case, redesigning—a product line for a piano maker with an already established market niche I think it would be unwise to completely ignore that existing market. In my opinion it is probably better to nudge the market along in the direction you want it to go rather than hit it with a sledgehammer.

In my work with Young Chang I have attempted to give the company an updated product line that is smoother, better balanced and improved in most every way. More specifically I have separated the tone performance of the Young Chang and the Weber brands so that each will appeal to folks with somewhat different musical tastes. One of those brands—the Weber—should appeal to a market segment that has, in my opinion, been some underserved. They will have a warmer, more dynamic sound than is commonly found in the inexpensive grands of today. I’m hopeful that their sales history will demonstrate that this is a musically and commercially viable direction in which to go.

With my own piano I could care less about appealing to a mass market. I can afford to go in directions—and take both design and materials chances—that would almost certainly not be acceptable in a mass-market piano. The hard reality is that folks shopping for inexpensive pianos have to go through dealers and dealers are brutal on anything that hints of even evolutionary design let alone the occasional revolutionary idea or concept. Folks looking for the unusual very limited production piano are more willing to take a chance. And they do not have to go through that competitive dealer who will be doing his/her best to trash the design, construction, materials, look, feel, sound, name, reputation and even the smell of any remotely competitive piano. In other words, I can do whatever I personally want to do with my own pianos. If someone else likes what I’ve done enough to buy one, well, that’s great. If not, well, there are always the more common traditional pianos around.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1357231 - 01/24/10 05:35 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Del]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
The hard reality is that folks shopping for inexpensive pianos have to go through dealers and dealers are brutal on anything that hints of even evolutionary design let alone the occasional revolutionary idea or concept.


With all respect, this is not completely true - at least not anymore.

During NAAM, I met several other dealers who are are very much planning to build a niche of excellence for themselves.

This will perhaps involve putting a "dream team" of those pianos together that clearly cut through the middle.

Mediocricity is increasingly for those who wish to continue dwelling in it.

By picking and choosing the very best models from several makers all at once, and at same time refusing to stock those 'cheapy' type models traditionally made by them as well, a new generation of pianos is upon us.

This reinforces the claim I have made for long time namely that *brand name* by itslef will be perhaps a lesser concern in future with the true excellence of built and musical performance of each individual piano becoming more important.

Perhaps the piano market is finally following society as a whole - becoming a bit more "multi-cultural" in nature....

Norbert wink


Edited by Norbert (01/24/10 05:37 PM)
_________________________
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Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#1357303 - 01/24/10 07:11 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Del]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Originally Posted By: Del
In designing — or in this case, redesigning — a product line for a piano maker with an already established market niche I think it would be unwise to completely ignore that existing market.

In my work with Young Chang I have attempted to give the company an updated product line that is smoother, better balanced and improved in most every way. More specifically I have separated the tone performance of the Young Chang and the Weber brands so that each will appeal to folks with somewhat different musical tastes. The Weber should appeal to a market segment that has, in my opinion, been some underserved. They will have a warmer, more dynamic sound than is commonly found in the inexpensive grands of today.


IMO the most important aspect of selling the Albert Webers will be dealer selection and education. Encouraging dealers to have a dedicated auditioning area would be particularly helpful. Let's face it, even a lower tensioned modern piano will have all the power ever needed for playing at home. Give people an opportunity to experience the potential of a warmer piano with a broad dynamic range, and the Albert Webers should sell well.

Originally Posted By: Del
With my own piano I could care less about appealing to a mass market. I can afford to go in directions — and take both design and materials chances — that would almost certainly not be acceptable in a mass-market piano. The hard reality is that folks shopping for inexpensive pianos have to go through dealers and dealers are brutal on anything that hints of even evolutionary design let alone the occasional revolutionary idea or concept.


Because people who want to alert others to the opportunity for experiencing a unique tonal palette will not be able to suggest visiting their local dealers, high quality recordings on your site would, IMO, be a very good idea. (The one you made of that Knabe was good.) Are there any schools up your way which teach recording? If there are, the students will be eager for a professional credit and have access to equipment.

Please consider including popular music among the selections. I haven't forgotten your preference for the Classical repertoire, but that repertoire is neither played nor preferred by all. A fundamental principle of instruction is to begin by providing opportunities for students to immediately engage with the subject. You're a teacher.

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#1357997 - 01/25/10 07:23 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Puck01]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5242
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Puck01
Thanks for the positive response. By the way, the modern key dip was not changed at all. The 'feel' of playing changes though, because of the super-light hammers.

What you say about the lid up is entirely true. You want to hear the details when the hammers strike the strings. That's the nicest thing about a grand piano. The Yamaha A-149cm model has this disadvantage: The music stand is fixed in the front of the piano. On other grands, I used to shift the music stand far back into the piano, so that my ears got the sound from the treble hammers directly from under the music stand. The shifting music stand is one of the great developments which make a lot of sense to me.

However, the big volume is always a problem on modern grands. After playing for half an hour I usually have enough and my ears are ringing. I would love to have a, say, maximally 180 cm grand piano (with a lower volume, the piano does not have to be so very long to sound nice, and think of the people who live in apartments with narrow staircases), very low-tension strings, tiny hammers and a somewhat historical sound ideal, but still a modern piano. The price should not exceed $20 000, but this seems to be an absolute dream. People like Del are an inspiration. I am convinced, there really IS a market for such a grand piano. Design one model of a grand piano, that can be manufactured with a consistent quality, at a relatively low price, even in the US or in Europe, a grand piano that is supported by pianists, piano teachers and music-lovers alike, say some kind of soft-spoken Yamaha/Steinway, about 180cm, and at a price of say $20 000, then you will have a success story.

Well, the $20,000 part is certainly a dream. Getting the price down to that level pretty much dictates manufacture in China or Indonesia or some such location. It also dictates a reasonably high rate of production. It would be some trick to convince an volume manufacturer to tool up to build what they would see as a speculative and esoteric (i.e., outside of the norm that they are used to) in any kind of volume.

It would be an untested market and piano makers have not shown themselves to be exactly daring when it comes to testing new markets.


Quote:
What was said about the ability to have a large piano range as opposed to fortissimo is very true. In my opinion, a piano should rather have a voice like a human being. A piano should have an identity, like a person, rather than an orchestra or a hellish machine. We want to be touched by a piano, not shocked. That's why a piano should 'speak' and not 'shout'.

Generally when I discuss this subject with pianists who already possess what I consider to be excessively hard-sounding pianos is that their pianos do have good range. They can play loud and soft. The difference, as I see it, is that all pianos can be played loud and less loud. That is, they can be played at reduced volume levels when the keys are not struck as hard. But there is a difference between “less loud” and “soft.” It is the volume and timbral change between loud and soft that I am after.


Quote:
Now here is my problem with the piano I have been working on: After a few days of playing and about one and a half hours per session, I come to the following conclusion: The action is not ideal for this type of hammer. The key is on a rather long way down for such a light hammer. Maybe this could be better regulated by a piano technician. However, the sound in the middle range of the treble is always quite harsh and not convincing. I'm afraid of having this section restrung. Everything is mere guesswork. The bass and the higher treble is no real problem. It is difficult to differentiate between piano and forte. My fingers get easily tired when playing, though the weight is far less than standard. The overall volume of the treble is still too big and one slips too easily into a harsh forte. I would prefer a volume more similar to a fortepiano.
I would not say that this experiment is a failure. It indicates the direction in which I would like to go and the features my ideal piano should have. I pause here and have a think what next to do.

If you can find a technician who is familiar with modifying action ratios you can probably have this modified to suit. This is a very predictable result of the changes you’ve made to your action. It will take a bit of measuring and calculating but it shouldn’t be too difficult to relocate the key capstan and the wippen capstan block to come up with an overall action ratio that will give you a reduced key travel and a better action feel.

Revising the stringing scale would take a certain amount of preliminary trial and error work to come up with a scheme that would work with the original soundboard. It would be some easier coming up with a complete scale and soundboard combination if the soundboard could be thinned out and re-ribbed to cut down on the weight and stiffness some. But even with the original board it should be possible to tone it down some.

Don’t give up. What you are doing is, at the least, interesting. And in the end you should end up with an instrument you actually enjoy playing.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

Top
#1358013 - 01/25/10 07:36 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Norbert]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5242
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Quote:
The hard reality is that folks shopping for inexpensive pianos have to go through dealers and dealers are brutal on anything that hints of even evolutionary design let alone the occasional revolutionary idea or concept.


With all respect, this is not completely true - at least not anymore.

During NAAM, I met several other dealers who are are very much planning to build a niche of excellence for themselves.

This will perhaps involve putting a "dream team" of those pianos together that clearly cut through the middle.

Mediocricity is increasingly for those who wish to continue dwelling in it.

By picking and choosing the very best models from several makers all at once, and at same time refusing to stock those 'cheapy' type models traditionally made by them as well, a new generation of pianos is upon us.

This reinforces the claim I have made for long time namely that *brand name* by itslef will be perhaps a lesser concern in future with the true excellence of built and musical performance of each individual piano becoming more important.

Perhaps the piano market is finally following society as a whole - becoming a bit more "multi-cultural" in nature....

Norbert wink


I'd like to think you're right, but experience tells me otherwise.

Competitive dealers still trash Kawai’s “plastic” actions, not for performance reasons but because they use “plastic.” And we all know plastic is bad.

Competitive dealers will continue to trash the “features” found in some competitive pianos simply because they are different from those in the pianos he/she sells.

Dealers still trash the idea of laminated soundboards even though the piano containing it (located at a competitor’s store, of course) might well sound better than the piano on their own floor.

Sadly, not all piano buyers can play the piano well enough to make an informed decision on the piano voice they will come to prefer over time. And it is this inability that the dealer I describe is still quite willing to exploit.

I’d love to see the general marketplace evolve beyond this. But I doubt it will do so any time soon. I agree that there will be a few enlightened dealers selling in the way you describe—there always have been—but I don’t see the mainstream dealerships becoming that enlightened any time soon. At least not until market pressures force them to do so. And until that happens piano manufacturers will rightly (in terms of their business survival) continue to be reluctant to introduce new ideas, materials and technologies. Even though that reluctance may well lead to collapse for many.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

Top
#1359286 - 01/27/10 10:15 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Del]
Puck01 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 54
Loc: Bern, Switzerland, Europe
Thank you, Del, for giving me courage. Today, at lunch time, a local piano technician came at short-notice to do one and a half hours of basic regulation on my piano. First he levelled out the hammer line, then he changed the release point. The release of the hammers was to early, it happened at about 1 cm from the strings instead of 2 mm. In a Yamaha grand piano, the let-off buttons are screwed on a wooden batten, one batten per section. This batten can be unscrewed and raised, if a new type of hammer is installed in the piano. After that, the seperate release-buttons can be fine-tuned to set the release point correctly at 2 mm distance from the strings. In the bass, the distance can be slightly more.

This intervention basically solved my problem. Playing is now absolutely satisfying. The new hamers just need getting used to a little, but it is a huge difference from the rough ride I got at first. I feel that this piano technician (Christof Bucherer) will be my most important reference in the future, because he is fast, straightforward, uncomplicated and efficient.


Edited by Puck01 (01/27/10 10:24 AM)

Top
#1359298 - 01/27/10 10:51 AM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: keyboardklutz]
Puck01 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 54
Loc: Bern, Switzerland, Europe
Answer to one of the replies: I did not like the square pianos I came across. Neither the sound nor the general feel. I am not really going for ramshackle antiques. I suppose I am too much of a spoilt child of the 21st century ;-)


Edited by Puck01 (01/27/10 10:54 AM)

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#1359469 - 01/27/10 02:23 PM Re: A Modern Fortepiano [Re: Puck01]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Originally Posted By: Puck01
I feel that this piano technician (Christof Bucherer) will be my most important reference in the future, because he is fast, straightforward, uncomplicated and efficient.
Happiness is a good tech.

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