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#2271781 - 05/06/14 08:46 AM The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Italy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Use7P3tLkKI&list=UU1YXuoUQn9SlpZAVp3rrGFw

action centres are still loose and some bridge pins are as well but not bad for a 170-year-old piano!
_________________________
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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#2271826 - 05/06/14 11:06 AM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
wouter79 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3639
Nice!
How much of this sound is due to the hammers, and how much due to the bridge, sound board etc?
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#2271965 - 05/06/14 04:19 PM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Italy
well, there are other pianos of this period that have been restored with 'different' felt on youtube.

Hammers are generally a huge part of the sound of any piano, though.

The soundboard in this case is much smaller than a modern one, the strings are parallel and there is a cutoff-bar which limits the surface area..

the piano is about two meters long and uses two strings per note in the bass (diameter 2.7mm at low C)
_________________________
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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#2272014 - 05/06/14 06:18 PM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 761
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Thank you Max. Even though we can only listen to a shadow of the original sound, the endeavour is always fascinating for me.
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#2272592 - 05/07/14 11:32 PM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Italy
Hi,

You're welcome.

It's always hard to have a clear idea of what an instrument could have sounded like from centuries ago.

The recording and performance would have to be of a professional level to do the piano justice but I had no time to organize one. The room is very small and the playing is amateurish.

But one gets the idea, I suppose.

What aspects of the sound do you think could have changed significantly during the ageing process?



Edited by acortot (05/07/14 11:35 PM)
_________________________
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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#2272687 - 05/08/14 08:20 AM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
If all felts are felted without layers (may be why they cannot be thick really ) . The tone is certainly much different.

The "natural" felt from Abel is using different king of wool, supposedly they are more felted than usual. WUrzen is also providing a similar felt.

I have seen such layered felts on Bechsteins from the 1910 era, they came from Weickert filtz factory.

I also understand some lanolin is reintroduced in the felt after felting. This have to be very well dosed. I had a recovering job with that felt where the lanolin was too much present, a simple ironing glued the fibers with it.

I dont know for sure but as the top layer is damping somewhat, I suggest that using a strip of cushion felt around the crown would produce similar results.

That thin layer of "different felt" is not enough to create dynamics in my opinion.

This is interesting anyway.



Edited by Olek (05/08/14 08:20 AM)
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2272958 - 05/08/14 07:00 PM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Italy
It is not wool felt and does not have lanolin I guess since lanolin is found on sheep?

It has increased dynamics over both wool and hatmaker's rabbit felt

I have a video on my youtube channel that shows this clearly from a few years ago

Wurzen tried to supply me with the closest thing they had years ago but the dynamic range was inferior

The fibres are highly crimped, 15 micrometers or so, like cashmere and felted like old damper felt.

If you can find a source of felt for me that uses high-crimp super-thin fibres (read: very expensive) I would love to try it

Have you ever worked with Pape felt?


Edited by acortot (05/08/14 07:02 PM)
_________________________
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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#2272962 - 05/08/14 07:08 PM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Italy
By the way, thick felt came about as a way to make cheaper hammers.

Before Alfred Dolge marketed the first modern hammer-making machines the 'layers' were discrete and made of leather (and later leather and hard colored felt with an outer 'pianissimo' layer), the outer layer being equivalent to the 2-3 mm that piano techs 'needle' onto modern hammers

So 4.5-2.5 mm is actually not so thin. How many tuners do you know that needle 4.5mm into the crown of bass hammers?


Edited by acortot (05/08/14 07:16 PM)
_________________________
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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#2273132 - 05/09/14 06:36 AM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Oh I think we may be talk of something different , between layered hammers and the layered felt .

The felt I have seen was 1920 possibly. and had those beige layers, I thought it was from a less bleached felt.

For your inquiry, may be you could ask Laoureux , they did make the first tests with those felts, and explained me that the time the felt is worked in the felting machine (2 persons are there to manipulate it) is about 12 hours for that quality, while many felts are obtained in half that time.

Now finding the thin wool, I dont know, I was explained there are only 5 or 6 possible provenances for the wool used to make hammers, so the choice seem to be reduced.

The felt you used gives indeed some resiliency for the soft nuances, but not sure it is so different from using a modern soft felt, without much tension. I tested yesterday with a strip of cushion cloth 4.5mm, I am waiting for it to set and will see what it gives.

But you cannot play FFF, the damping part surpasses the dynamic part soon. It sound as playing with a moderator. the spectra is cut. I would at last put a finger on each unison and bang the hammer strong on the strings 50 times, or it will take much time to have some partials showing.


You did make a huge work of putting that felt back. that is neatly done.

I will make a nice experiment : glue a strip of cushion without tension

And with some tension on another hammer.

Regards

PS there is also something that is difficult to obtain : the hammers once glued are installed in individual wooden cauls that press them somewhat and avoid any slippage.

You do not obtain that compressed state from the installation of strips only glued around.
I dont expect the tension to add much when using the strips of cushion, but hammering may do something.






Edited by Olek (05/09/14 07:33 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2273340 - 05/09/14 04:54 PM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Italy
hi Isaac,

The gray Pape felt (which is felted different than the blue felt used in the early 1900's) is a kind of red herring

Before the use of this felt only different kinds of leather were used and only one or two people in the factory had the necessary skills to make hammers, after, as you can read in my article, the piano industry used the Pape felt almost exclusively (probably between 1830 and 1850) because anyone could cover the hammers.

they were not glued in cauls like leather or later white tensioned felt because just the tack of the glue was enough to keep them on the hammer. You must remember that the felt is even glued on the tip.

It was just a temporary period where this Pape felt was used and, since wool does not have the same mechanical or felting qualities, later when wool was used, the outer layer became thicker and thicker and more dense.

I have tried all kinds of felt and they do not behave like Pape felt.

I suspect that perhaps Cashmere felt might be close, but do you know anyone who makes Cashmere felt?

The mechanical difference is that the Pape felt has very fine and curly fibres that when compressed flatten completely and couple to the hard layers underneath..

if you use rubber as an outer layer, the hammer rebounds and almost makes no sound (I have tried) so not having much resiliency is good in a way. The felt has this low resiliency because of the rabbit fibre.

I have tried all kinds of felt.. I have been looking for a substitute since 2007 and have contacted every major Felt Manufacturer including Laoureux. Nobody makes anything similar

The felt is applied without tension, and if tension is used it just stretches and falls apart.

The reason that it is glued on the tip, unlike Leather and White Wool felt is that if it was only glued on the sides with no tension, there would be a pocket of air under the felt after it was used a while
_________________________
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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#2273345 - 05/09/14 04:59 PM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Italy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0_D65bedTc

as far as the sound not being bright enough for your taste, the above link was recorded with Adelina Patti's London Erard from the late 1800's

The sound is very muffled compared to modern piano sound

this is not a result of the frequency response of the recording as her voice has harmonics which go up to at least 3 KHz and the piano has a 'plummy' soft attack

we are used to the later, more modern bright sound but if you listen to other pianos before world war 1 there were some that had kept the dark singing tone and not adopted the bright and percussive tone that came to dominate the piano world, especially since the 1970's
_________________________
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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#2274573 - 05/12/14 05:21 AM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Hello,

I have read your document an find it highly interesting.

The videos are very interesting, thanks for the link, but I believe you hear there more than what is.
This is not the good era, the piano have not a so muffled tone, probably also use for accompanying it was choose or prepped to be discrete.

I would not be too much surprised it would be a Pleyel piano with hard German strings.

It was in an intermediate era, I totally agree on what you said about volume, but listen to the 3ds at 1:30 they have yet a "modern" shape.

The pianist is supposed to be very discrete. I would look for pieces where he need more power.

Regards









Edited by Olek (05/13/14 04:38 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2275041 - 05/12/14 06:52 PM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Italy
It was an Erard London Piano, I think from the 1880's or so.

but as you know, Erard pianos do not have that much felt on the outer layer.

you cannot judge a piano sound of the Romantic Period with a modern piano.

Romantic pianos were built for small rooms, not concert-halls and they had half the tension of modern pianos.
_________________________
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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#2275243 - 05/13/14 03:42 AM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
chopin_r_us Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 1016
Loc: UK
The problem is with microphones. I've tried 100 ones and they don't capture any of the Pleyel sound. I'm looking in to renting.

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#2275264 - 05/13/14 05:50 AM Re: The sound of original Hammer Felt used by Chopin [Re: acortot]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Yes certainly the nuances are when you are playin,g or near the piano. on the recordings the soun is a little similar to my tests with a strip of cushion on a modern hammer.

BTW I have to agree that it seem to me the tension in that case will muffle the tone, as it is not enough to make it resilient and it makes it damping more efficiently . Strange
need more testing
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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