Have you ever wondered why grand pianos have these holes in their plate? Piano plates are made of cast iron, and as such are forged at very high temperatures. These “cooling holes” are strategically placed in the plate to break up large contiguous areas of cast metal so that the entire plate can cool more evenly and quickly, avoiding warping and cracking. As cool as it would be, they are unfortunately not “subwoofers” or “sounding holes” and having more of them does not necessarily make your piano better. There is minimal impact on sound and that is not the purpose of the holes. What IS cool though, is that various manufacturers trim and decorate the holes in different ways, and it can be a unique identifying element of a piano’s history! This one is a 1926 Steinway L baby grand.
This piano is a 45-year-old Steinway upright, which only seems half its age thanks to this Dampp-Chaser humidity control system. The Dampp-Chaser “Piano Lifesaver” system is a humidity control system designed specifically for pianos. It truly is a lifesaver, particularly for pianos in churches, schools, and other institutions where the climate is not controlled as consistently as a home. I highly recommend the system for any instrument, and especially for church and school instruments. It can’t resurrect an already dead piano (sorry), but it will help to significantly preserve the life of your instrument! If you’d like to read more about humidity control, visit: http://www.sjpianoservice.com/humidity_control.htm
One last fascinating piece of history from the new Steinway showroom in Manhattan: this was Henry Steinway’s work desk from the 1800’s when he started making his first pianos. Like a lot of tools piano technicians use, it was completely handmade. And it has held up pretty well!
The concept of the player piano has reached a new level with the Steinway Spirio. Not only have they recorded numerous performances by Steinway artists into the piano, but for a number of them you can even watch their performance at the same time! Oh, and the iPad comes with the piano… Glenn Gould performing J. S. Bach’s E-flat major fugue from the Well-Tempered Klavier, Book 2. Steinway Spirio video
Visited the new Steinway Hall showroom in Manhattan today. Well worth the visit for any pianist – you’ll never look at pianos the same way again! More pics and a video to come…
Virtually all pianos have a serial number, which can be used to determine the age of the instrument and often the location of its manufacture. Sometimes, however, serial numbers are hard to find, particularly in older pianos and those that have been rebuilt. This 1960’s Steinway had been rebuilt, and the rebuilder not only painted over the serial number next to the pin block, but also did not write or etch it anywhere else on the piano as is often done on rebuilds. Thankfully, there was one remaining place that the serial number had been inscribed – on the back of the keyslip! This is the piece that runs across the front of the keyboard, covering most of the front of the keys. Sometimes finding a serial number makes for a fun scavenger hunt. Most often, though, they are easy to find and provide helpful information both to the piano… Read More
1969 Steinway & Sons model M (5’7″) Henry Steinway, a German immigrant, founded the Steinway company in 1853. It quickly became one of the leading piano manufacturers, and for the past century Steinway pianos have been the instrument of choice for a majority of performing artists. All Steinway instruments are still manufactured by hand in one of two factories: New York City (supplying North and South America) and Hamburg, Germany (supplying the rest of the world).