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#2122848 - 07/25/13 03:04 PM "Art case" pianos different from normal ones?
Dwscamel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 454
Many manufacturers have pianos designated as "art cases". They're very ornate, pretty, and typically smaller grands or uprights.

I've never played such an instrument, or heard one.

Do these art cases sound different from their "regular" counterparts of the same size, by the same maker?

Does anyone own one? What does it sound like, and do you practice on it regularly?

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#2122961 - 07/25/13 07:09 PM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Dwscamel]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6225
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Dwscamel

Do these art cases sound different from their "regular" counterparts of the same size, by the same maker?


The few I've actually seen and played (Steinways) didn't sound any different than their "regular" counterparts. As far as I could tell, their internal components were the same.
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#2122972 - 07/25/13 07:24 PM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Dwscamel]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
It's nothing but decoration. The basic piano is the same as production instruments. It's just frosting on the cake.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2122975 - 07/25/13 07:29 PM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Dwscamel]
Steve Cohen Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10452
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Due to the higher selling price Art Case pianos are usually VERY well regulated and voiced at the factory.
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#2122999 - 07/25/13 08:22 PM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Dwscamel]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 912
Loc: California, USA
They are the same pianos inside. They are available in all sizes - check out what may be the most famous large Steinway artcase:

http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/furnishings/piano.htm

Most "artcase" pianos aren't that fancy or that custom of course. Many are simply another cabinet option alongside satin black or walnut.
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#2123001 - 07/25/13 08:32 PM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Dwscamel]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
The "Eagle & Muse" piano in the White House is interesting. It is longer that the standard S&S-D due to the piano being "wrapped" in a fa├žade exterior. At the tail, you can clearly see the extension case extending from the rim of a standard 'D.' At first glance, it appears to be more of a huge harpsichord, due to the shape of the case.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2123056 - 07/26/13 12:02 AM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Steve Cohen]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1201
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Due to the higher selling price Art Case pianos are usually VERY well regulated and voiced at the factory.


Hi Steve,

That has not been my experience, on two occasions with the "commemorative" Art-Case instruments, even with the newest instruments. Rather the opposite. Imagine trying to play an entire Debussy set (second half, 40 minutes, to be precise, a nice portion of the mature output) where the scale was not even in the mid- and upper registers voicing-wise, and didn't sound really good deep down anyway...not to mention the Mozart...no matter what I did, disregarding all those fancy expensive lessons in Paris with famous Debussy players...

...and in front of presenters (and one critic, once)...so much for "VERY well regulated and voiced..."

And these POSs cost, what, $150k+ for the "B"s? Yes, I feel like Steinway let me down...and more than once...

And just to be clear, I would NEVER spend that much money on an instrument that responded so poorly...an held so little (sonic) interest...OK, many more times than once....they made me sound BAD...

...thank GOD I never found it on stage, ever...

Put simply. Don't spend that money. Rather, put into a health savings account for all the good it might have done you...
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#2123065 - 07/26/13 12:38 AM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Dwscamel]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 550
I had to play on one once. It was "fully restored," which is to say that the case looked great, but it didn't play well at all. I realize it might not be fair to pass judgement from just one experience, but whoever rebuilt it put a lot more effort into the appearance than into the playability. In other words, it was more a piece of furniture than an instrument, something to be collected and had.

My guess is that this is not unusual, but I could be wrong.




Originally Posted By: musicpassion
They are the same pianos inside. They are available in all sizes - check out what may be the most famous large Steinway artcase:

http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/furnishings/piano.htm

Most "artcase" pianos aren't that fancy or that custom of course. Many are simply another cabinet option alongside satin black or walnut.
Cool!
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"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2123075 - 07/26/13 01:01 AM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Dwscamel]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21303
Loc: Oakland
I have a customer with a beautiful parquetry Hamburg Steinway B which is about 100 years old. Everything is original on it. Many art case pianos are too ornate for my taste, but this one is just right.

A club near our home has a Mason & Hamlin BB from the 1930s which has original carved legs, and the case was painted here. It is not bad.
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#2123106 - 07/26/13 01:41 AM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Steve Cohen]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 912
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Due to the higher selling price Art Case pianos are usually VERY well regulated and voiced at the factory.

I've played some Steinways, an old Chickering, a Knabe, and a Mason and Hamlin art case. In my experience they're musically neither better nor worse than the "standard" case instruments.
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#2123206 - 07/26/13 09:17 AM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Dwscamel]
Steve Peterson Offline

Bronze Level Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 03/15/13
Posts: 138
Loc: Texas
Speaking of art case pianos, has anyone seen Steinway's 500,000th piano? They keep it in the basement of Steinway hall in New York. When I was there earlier this year, I saw it and got a chance to play on it.

The piano is pretty cool too look at. I was told it wasn't worked on regularly, and it showed. The piano didn't sound great. Still, it's a pretty special piano.

There are signatures from Steinway artists all over the piano.









Sorry for the blurry pics. It wasn't very bright in there!


Edited by Steve Peterson (07/26/13 10:23 AM)
Edit Reason: Damn typos!
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#2123225 - 07/26/13 09:58 AM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Steve Cohen]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Due to the higher selling price Art Case pianos are usually VERY well regulated and voiced at the factory.


I played on a Karl Lagerfeld A at Steinway Hall a few years back. It didn't sound any better than all the other A's in the room ...
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#2123424 - 07/26/13 05:04 PM Re: "Art case" pianos different from normal ones? [Re: Steve Peterson]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Originally Posted By: Steve Peterson
Speaking of art case pianos, has anyone seen Steinway's 500,000th piano? They keep it in the basement of Steinway hall in New York. When I was there earlier this year, I saw it and got a chance to play on it.

The piano is pretty cool too look at. I was told it wasn't worked on regularly, and it showed. The piano didn't sound great. Still, it's a pretty special piano.



When that piano was new, my father was the one that tuned it when it came to Vancouver on "tour"
My father at the time was the head tech for the Steinway dealer.
I thought it was cool to look at. I think that was around 1987.
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