Underground Pianola

Underground Pianola

– New music for the next generation

We create new musical arrangements and new compositions for the mechanical piano. In 2012 we are regarded as the only outfit regularly issuing new music for this format. We also assist music venture and concert projects and photography projects. Our clientele is worldwide and we are based in England. To discuss the creation of a new title or project send us an email anytime.

Square Piano Tech

Square Piano Tech

– A resource for the restoration of  18th and early 19th century square pianos.

Thomas Strange has an extensive background in materials science, and is the author of forty three patents and numerous papers over the last two decades, covering all aspects of capacitor development, with an emphasis on foil development for aluminum electrolytics.

Lucy Coad Square Piano Conservation and Repair

Lucy Coad Square Piano Conservation and Repair

Following an initial training in modern piano technology Lucy Coad completed a three year apprenticeship with conservator Tim Hamilton specialising in the conservation and restoration of historical pianofortes.

Johannes Mercken square piano
Johannes Mercken. Made in Paris, 1784.

In response to the growing need to conserve and repair surviving instruments in private and public ownership, Lucy later chose to further specialise in square pianos. This led to the establishment of Lucy Coad Square Piano Conservation and Repair in London in 1985, later moving to our current location between Bristol and Bath. Our work ranges from the making of a single string through to the complete rebuilding of structurally failed instruments. Our experience is considerable, with a huge number of instruments having come through the workshop, from clients worldwide that include national heritage bodies, museums, private collectors, dealers, colleges of music, royal schools and performers both amateur and professional. Pianos are prepared to meet differing requirements, from conservation for display only through to performance standard, and always with the expertise, care and respect due to early instruments. The workshop continues to work primarily with square pianos dating from the 1760s-1860s, however, in recent years the business has grown and now employs a specialised team to undertake the conservation and repair of grand pianos of the same period.

Our methods aim to conserve, where possible, all original components. When it is not possible to conserve, or components are missing, an accurate replacement is made and the original returned for future historic reference. Thorough research into original materials allows us to use only suitable replacement woods, cloths, leathers and alloys, all being vital to achieve the correct ‘touch’ and sound. All work is documented in detail in an accompanying photographic report.

Friends of Square Pianos

Friends of Square Pianos

Website of David Hackett of Chelveston.

We are also happy to welcome owners of very old grand pianos – say before about 1837 – as they do not seem to have a website of their own.  We hope that you will find something of interest, and also feel free to contribute – please e-mail any questions or contributions to David at  friends.sp@btinternet.com

Our aim is to encourage ownership and enjoyment of these historic instruments, and to help owners to keep them in playing condition.  There is a special pleasure in playing (and hearing) music played on the instruments for which it was composed.

Three Approaches to Piano Restoration

Three Approaches to Piano Restoration

WHEN REBUILDING A PIANO, the restorer is presented at every turn with questions concerning the extent to which the piano’s original design, parts, and materials should be preserved or, conversely, altered or replaced. The philosophies that guide these decisions fall, roughly, into three camps, which might be called, respectively, Conservative, Modern, and Innovative. Of course, this division is, to some degree, a generalization; a particular restorer may combine elements of more than one approach in his or her work.

With the conservative approach, the restorer places a high priority on preserving as much of the original instrument as possible, even, if necessary, sacrificing some degree of performance in the interest of maintaining historical authenticity (not just to save money). So with this approach, for example, rather than replace a cracked soundboard, a restorer would shim the cracks with wood (if possible, with old wood); and rather than discard and replace old wooden action parts, the restorer would replace only their worn leather and cloth surfaces. Design changes, even minor ones, are unthinkable.

With the modern approach, the restorer places a higher priority on the instrument’s performance, and so replaces as many parts as possible with new ones. But the restorer attempts to make the piano only as good as it was when new, closely maintaining the original design. Sometimes minor design changes will be made to correct known defects, especially ones the manufacturer itself corrected in later instruments.

With the innovative approach, the restorer not only replaces worn parts with new, but also feels free to modify the design of the instrument in any way that, in the restorer’s judgment, would make it perform better — even in ways the manufacturer never contemplated and might not approve of. So the thickness and taper of the soundboard might be changed, the bridges moved, the stringing scale altered, even new holes made in the cast-iron plate and pinblock to accommodate new strings — anything that can be done within the confines of the original case and plate is on the table for consideration.

In this article, several well-respected piano restorers, each approximately representing one of the above positions, explain their approaches to restoration in general and, specifically, how they might be applied to various eras of Steinway grands.

Source: http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall10/67.html

Pianist finds forte with Mozart

An appreciation of style and grace fuels Kris Bezuidenhout’s long-held passion for Mozart, writes Steve Dow.

Kris Bezuidenhout is in the process of recording Mozart's entire works. Photo: Marco Del GrandeRead more: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/pianist-finds-forte-with-mozart-20110805-1ifj9.html#ixzz2G7kPOqR3
Kris Bezuidenhout is in the process of recording Mozart’s entire works. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Bezuidenhout will play, as he often does, on fortepianos similar to those Mozart played and composed on. A fortepiano is the early version of a piano, lighter in both construction and sound. But the instrument has been neglected in recent recordings of the classical repertoire.

Bezuidenhout, 32, who also plays piano and harpsichord, is changing that situation by using fortepiano in his planned recording of nine volumes covering all of Mozart’s solo keyboard music, at the rate of two volumes a year.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/pianist-finds-forte-with-mozart-20110805-1ifj9.html#ixzz2G7jIon98

100 Years on, RMS Titanic and Steinway & Sons

RMS Titanic
April 15, 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the most famous maritime disaster in history, the sinking of the luxury ocean liner RMS Titanic.

The sinking of the Titanic is an epic story that has stirred up interest and emotion in countless people over the decades, as well as inspiring literature, music, art and of course, film.

While most of us are familiar with the history and events surrounding the Titanic disaster, you may be interested to know the story from a Steinway & Sons perspective.

Read the full story at http://www.themeandvariations.com.au/front-page/2012/04/april-15-2012-100-years-of-titanic

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