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#2110637 - 06/30/13 02:01 PM German vs American
King Norre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/02
Posts: 59
Loc: Antwerp, Belgium
Hi,

I was wondering what everybody means with American sound or German sound. Is it safe to think that an American sound is more "in your face" and more powerful, and that a German sound is more soft and warm?
If so, is an American sound better for baroque pieces and a German sound better for romantic pieces?
I'm just starting to learn how to play so please forgive my ignorance and/or stupid questions.
And what about a Japanese sound? Is it somewhere in between?

Thanks,

KN
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#2110640 - 06/30/13 02:12 PM Re: German vs American [Re: King Norre]
peterws Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 4075
Loc: Northern England.
Er, excuse me, but - what about the English sound? English pianos were very popular about 150 years ago . . I think we still make one or two..
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#2110641 - 06/30/13 02:13 PM Re: German vs American [Re: King Norre]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 958
This is a better question for the piano forum, not the ABF. But my understanding is that European pianos tend to prioritize the fundamental tone, while American pianos supplement that with richer overtones.
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#2110643 - 06/30/13 02:17 PM Re: German vs American [Re: peterws]
King Norre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/02
Posts: 59
Loc: Antwerp, Belgium
Originally Posted By: peterws
Er, excuse me, but - what about the English sound? English pianos were very popular about 150 years ago . . I think we still make one or two..


I'm sorry, I thought English sound was just a copy of American sound help
No just kidding, like I said, I'm a total beginner and wasn't really aware about the English sound. Sorry 'bout that.
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#2110644 - 06/30/13 02:17 PM Re: German vs American [Re: peterws]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 958
Originally Posted By: peterws
Er, excuse me, but - what about the English sound? English pianos were very popular about 150 years ago . . I think we still make one or two..


I've always understood the English sound as being sort of slightly awkward in social situations, with a dry, witty sound, and a propensity to stop playing at all around 4 pm due to this thing called "tea".

...imma gonna go hide in a corner in a fetal position now.
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#2110690 - 06/30/13 04:15 PM Re: German vs American [Re: King Norre]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
As much as there are general characteristic difference between American, Euro, and Japanese instruments, it is impossible to say what's appropriate for whichever kind of music because it's whatever the pianist expects. Each pianist has a particular sound in his or her own head, and it's different for everyone.

The stereotypical argument is that a Viennese piano is perfect for Mozart, but this unnecessarily limits the music. There is no reason to believe that Mozart's music had such intentions, but even I fell victim to this stereotypical thinking when a competitor in the recent 14th Cliburn chose an American Steinway with its fat warm sound for her Mozart when she also had 2 German Hamburg Steinway available to her. The sound was warmer and thicker than I would like for Mozart, but again, that's my expectation, and not hers. So I think there are no rules. Besides, she played so well, I quickly forgotten how the piano sound and was just awed by her expressiveness.
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#2110694 - 06/30/13 04:26 PM Re: German vs American [Re: King Norre]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1893
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: King Norre
Originally Posted By: peterws
Er, excuse me, but - what about the English sound? English pianos were very popular about 150 years ago . . I think we still make one or two..


I'm sorry, I thought English sound was just a copy of American sound...


It's true. What would the Beatles or Stones be without Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, etc.?
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