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#160988 - 02/21/08 02:16 PM How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,188
Piano World Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,188
Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
How Many Technician's Does It Take To String a Piano?

[Linked Image]


Just kidding smile


It takes 10 musicians armed with fishing line, Popsicle sticks, and plumbing tape to play the bowed piano.

This is a "Bowed Piano".
© From NPR

February 5, 2008 - What happens when you take a perfectly good invention — one that's been around for several hundred years — and completely rethink it? That's what an enterprising musician and composer named Stephen Scott has done with the grand piano.

For the past 30 years, Scott has been exploring, obsessing over, and pushing the sound of the piano far beyond its traditional boundaries, creating a new kind of instrument he calls the bowed piano.

To get a sense of what the bowed piano is, imagine a grand piano with the lid lifted off. Ten musicians crowd around, leaning over the innards of the instrument, like a team of surgeons performing an operation.

Scott says you won't find any traditional-looking bows — like the ones violinists use — in his ensemble.

"The primary sound is produced by a bow of nylon fish-line, which is rosined, and that's just threaded under the piano string and across it. There's another kind of bow, which is a stick of wood which has horse hair affixed to it, and that's rubbed against the strings to produce a short, percussive sound."

The bowed-piano ensemble also uses guitar picks, Popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, and even rubber plumbing tape to expand the palette of sound colors for Scott's compositions.

The Rest of the Article


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#160989 - 02/21/08 03:52 PM Re: How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,789
bitWrangler Offline
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bitWrangler  Offline
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OK, call me grumpy or just "missing something", but this hardly seems like "completely rethinking" the piano. After all, my son has already "completely rethunk" the piano by going a step further than our intrepid Mr. Scott by utilizing Matchbox cars, Transformers, and in a sign of his range of empathetic skills, stuffed dolls. Little could I appreciate that the time I caught, um I mean "observed", him having his stuffed Beethoven doll "play" the piano by actually hitting the strings themselves that he was simply pushing the piano far beyond it's boundaries. Unfortunately, and as is the bane for all true artists, his audience could not fully appreciate the magnitude and originality of the work and his reward for innovation was to spend 5 minutes in his sanctuary to further ponder the context of his actions against the backdrop of a more rigid and rule based society.

#160990 - 02/21/08 04:29 PM Re: How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,379
Rickster Offline
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Rickster  Offline
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Georgia, USA
Hi Frank, interesting post.

I guess it is fine to want to do something out of the ordinary from time to time, but when I want to play my fiddle, I get out my fiddle and bow and cut down on “Orange Blossom Special” laugh .

When I want to play my piano I sit down and play it the way it is supposed to be played.

Interesting concept though.

Best regards,

Rickster


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#160991 - 02/21/08 05:49 PM Re: How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,755
mdsdurango Offline
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mdsdurango  Offline
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Durango Colorado
Cool!
I like it.
I would never let them near MY piano but I think it sounds great!

MIke


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#160992 - 02/21/08 06:18 PM Re: How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 295
HappyGoLucky Offline
Full Member
HappyGoLucky  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 295
Arlington, VA
I particularly like their matching black blouses to complete their "ensemble" performance.

Virgina (from Virginia)

#160993 - 02/21/08 07:49 PM Re: How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 10,801
Rich Galassini Offline
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Rich Galassini  Offline
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Terry Riley has written for this group. Our own "Realplayer" will be playing some Riley compositions in concert himself quite soon

Shameless Plug (page down to March 7,2008):

http://www.roulette.org/events/2008_03.html


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
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(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Check out the Science Channel's "How Its Made" featuring our piano restoration:
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#160994 - 02/22/08 01:35 AM Re: How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 285
faucon Offline
Full Member
faucon  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 285
Missouri USA
Quote
Originally posted by bitWrangler:
OK, call me grumpy or just "missing something", but this hardly seems like "completely rethinking" the piano. After all, my son has already "completely rethunk" the piano by going a step further than our intrepid Mr. Scott by utilizing Matchbox cars, Transformers, and in a sign of his range of empathetic skills, stuffed dolls. Little could I appreciate that the time I caught, um I mean "observed", him having his stuffed Beethoven doll "play" the piano by actually hitting the strings themselves that he was simply pushing the piano far beyond it's boundaries. Unfortunately, and as is the bane for all true artists, his audience could not fully appreciate the magnitude and originality of the work and his reward for innovation was to spend 5 minutes in his sanctuary to further ponder the context of his actions against the backdrop of a more rigid and rule based society.
This conjures up such a cute image---if you're not the owner of the piano! smile There are lots of ways to push other instruments "far beyond (their) traditional boundaries", but I have mixed feelings about such endeavors. Air compressors could be hooked up to trumpets or trombones; a harp could be played with dulcimer hammers or dental instruments. To what point do the absurd and the creative overlap?

#160995 - 02/24/08 12:12 AM Re: How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 15
Noah Frere Offline
Junior Member
Noah Frere  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 15
Knoxville, TN
OK, call me grumpy or just "missing something", but this hardly seems like "completely rethinking" the piano. After all, my son has already "completely rethunk" the piano by going a step further than our intrepid Mr. Scott by utilizing Matchbox cars, Transformers, and in a sign of his range of empathetic skills, stuffed dolls. Little could I appreciate that the time I caught, um I mean "observed", him having his stuffed Beethoven doll "play" the piano by actually hitting the strings themselves that he was simply pushing the piano far beyond it's boundaries. Unfortunately, and as is the bane for all true artists, his audience could not fully appreciate the magnitude and originality of the work and his reward for innovation was to spend 5 minutes in his sanctuary to further ponder the context of his actions against the backdrop of a more rigid and rule based society.


you said it.


Noah Frere
www.knowapiano.com
Knoxville, TN
#160996 - 02/24/08 08:15 AM Re: How Many Technician's Does it Take to String a Piano?  
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,290
Starting Over Offline
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Starting Over  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,290
Toronto
Interesting post Frank. I wonder if the piano could be played normally at the same time as all the bowing and plucking is going on. That would add to the cacophony. The overall effect is quite distinctive in character, almost verging on a synthesizer sound at times. Actually, I'm less critical of the method, which looks like it could be fun for the ensemble players, than I am of the monotonous New Age compositions themselves wink .

Let's hear some Mozart or Beethoven arranged for bowed piano! laugh


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