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Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: John Pels] #2016954
01/18/13 10:29 PM
01/18/13 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by John Pels
Del, as regards those key travel specs, though many American companies of yesteryear subscribed to the shallow 3/8" dip, it was never to my taste as a pianist. My first rebuild was a vintage 9' Knabe and it called for that spec, along with the 1/2" key height for sharps. When I completed the rebuild and set up the action, I was quite disappointed in how it felt. SO, I set about comparing specs with other pianos and I found that Steinway as an example used a 10mm dip and though they quote a strange method of measuring sharp height, in the final analysis it amounted to around 12mm. Actually their dip spec is 10-10.75 mm. It may just be that since I had played a lot of Steinways all through college that I was just accustomed to those specs, but I do note that these days they appear to be pretty much standard for European and Asian instruments as well. Anyhow, I figured that if it worked for Steinway it couldn't be all bad. I DID run into weight/inertia issues. It had some of the smallest and lightest hammers I had ever seen, and there was nothing available at the time (and not really now) that was/is comparable. I lightened the hammers as best I could and re-leaded the keys as well. I need to re-analyze that situation with info gleaned over the last 20 some years and seek a better solution. That said, I have played it all day many a day and it certainly has done me no harm. It needs a new set of hammers anyway, so it's definitely time!

As you undoubtedly know by now, the “ideal” key travel for any specific action is dependent on a number of variables that have nothing—at least not directly—to do with hammer mass.

Specifically, it has to do with hammer travel (how far the hammer has to travel from rest to letoff), the overall action ratio (how far the hammer travels in relationship to a given amount of key travel) and the need for some specific amount of key aftertouch. Once the action is built these things are all independent of hammer mass. The static downforce will still be affected by the amount of hammer mass, of course, but the lever ratios are fixed.

If a manufacturer has control over the action assembly process—many didn’t (and some still don’t)—then the overall action ratio can be set up for a specific amount of key travel and a specific—and, hopefully, reasonable—amount of key leading. In general, if a manufacture finds itself regularly installing too much lead to counterbalance excessively heavy hammers the practice has been to move either the key balance point or the capstan pickup point to decrease the overall action ratio, increasing the amount of key travel but decreasing the amount of force required to depress the keys. The downside of this is that it also increases the amount of key travel.

While this may be your preference, others—particularly those with smaller hands and/or shorter fingers—may struggle with certain fingering combinations. This is most noticeable on shorter pianos where both the dynamic touchweight and the arc of travel can change significantly from the front of the key’s playing surfaces to the back (close to the keycover).

Given the choice I will always set up the action in a shorter grand with lighter hammers, a moderately higher overall action ratio, a little less key travel and as few leads as possible in the keys.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
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Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2016971
01/18/13 11:03 PM
01/18/13 11:03 PM
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Dave B Offline
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A weight lifting program is not needed to develop the strength to break 55grams of inertia. It's simple. The faster the key goes down, the faster the hammer goes up, and the stronger (louder) the impact of the hammer. It's all technique.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: Dave B] #2016982
01/18/13 11:43 PM
01/18/13 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave B
A weight lifting program is not needed to develop the strength to break 55grams of inertia. It's simple. The faster the key goes down, the faster the hammer goes up, and the stronger (louder) the impact of the hammer. It's all technique.



Static down-weight is not the same as inertia (which is not measured in grams). You can have 55g of down-weight on two different pianos and have radically different inertia. In fact, one of my favorite pianos in grad school had something in the 65g down-weight range, and had extraordinarily light touch.

Inertia is determined by hammer mass (more specifically, strike weight) and the overall action ratio. Say you have a strike-weight of 9.5g on some midrange note on two different pianos. On one note, the action ratio is 5.4 and the other is 6.0. The inertia will be significantly greater on the instrument with a 6.0 action ratio, and thus feel much heavier to play than the one with a 5.4 ratio.

Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2016985
01/18/13 11:47 PM
01/18/13 11:47 PM
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Del, you're making it sound like I'm the exception rather than the rule. The point I was trying to make was that a preponderance of manufacturers, Steinway included use the specs that I settled on. The oddball out of the major manufacturers was Baldwin with a key dip of 7/16" with an aftertouch of .021-.060 which to my senses seems extreme.If I had that much dip, I think it would seem sluggish. My hands are pretty average sized. I reach a tenth, mainly because of webbing rather than really long fingers. I know what you mean by shorter pianos and how they feel though. I always felt that way about my childhood Baldwin model A grand. Since I just inherited it, I guess I'll finally be able to divine why it felt that way. I don't recall seeing a bunch of lead in there and the hammers were replaced with factory hammers 30 years ago in a piano tech class in college. They are not at all massive and were virtually identical to the originals. I fully apprehend the arc of travel and difficulty in playing when getting close to the fallboard. I worked like heck playing the Tchaikowsky concerto on that piano and the fallboard has the scars to prove it. I have tried to explain this to friends and fellow pianists, but it falls on deaf ears. For some reason, convincing them that longer keys are actually easier to play is a tough concept. I have tried the seesaw analogy, but that didn't work either. I think that most pianists/students don't fully acclimate to the larger instruments, since generally they play them seldom. It was a luxury for us in college certainly, but when you have one that you play every day the advantages just seem to multiply as you get accustomed to the instrument.

Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: Dave B] #2017056
01/19/13 02:43 AM
01/19/13 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave B
A weight lifting program is not needed to develop the strength to break 55grams of inertia. It's simple. The faster the key goes down, the faster the hammer goes up, and the stronger (louder) the impact of the hammer. It's all technique.

No, it’s not “all technique.”

And it is unfortunate that static downweight has become the standard specification by which action function is measured. It is misleading to the extreme.

Nearly forty years ago now I was called to tune what was then a relatively new Steinway Model M grand and, while I was there, see if I could do anything about the piano’s “heavy action.” In those days we technicians knew little about the subtleties of action geometry and weighting. Like the factories we primarily went by key down weight. We didn’t think about upweight, friction, hammer mass, overall action ratios or any of the other many parameters we’ve become so used to in the years since. So, when I arrived at the owner’s home the first thing I did was to measure the downweight of the keys. They all checked out pretty much in the “normal” range; about 52 grams in the bass dropping gradually to about 48 grams in the treble. So far, so good. My first impression was that the owner, a woman in her 60s, might be one of those people who had graduated from something like a spinet with a really light action to a grand and just hadn’t yet become accustomed to the moderately heavier touch of the grand. And perhaps her fingers just weren’t all that strong any more.

Then I started tuning the piano and by the time I got about half way through the fingers of my left hand—the hand I used to strike the keys while tuning—were becoming decidedly sore. I have always used a moderately hard blow while tuning. I’m not a pounder but I do aim for a good forte and by the time I finished I could well understand why the owner was complaining about the pianos heavy touch! My fingers and wrist were tired and sore and I was very glad this was my last tuning of the day.

When I pulled the action and looked at the keys I counted some eight to nine leads in the bass keys. The leads decreased down to three in the top octave and then two in the last two or three keys. All on the front side of the balance rail. Admittedly, some of those leads were fairly close to the balance pin, but still…. When I contacted the factory I was asked what the down weight was. When I gave them the down weight measurements I was told this was the factory specification and there was no problem. When I pointed out that the piano had up to nine leads in the keys and was painful to play I was told that, well, this was the factory specification and there was no problem. (Thankfully the factory takes a somewhat more enlightened view of these things nowadays)

This was my initiation into the subtleties of action geometry. After some staring and measuring and thinking I finally manage to figure out what all was wrong. Turned out the action geometry was way off for a variety of reasons and the overall action ratio was very high. The key dip was a little on the short side—about 9.5 mm—and yet there was still a huge amount of aftertouch. I no longer remember just what the overall action ratio was, but I don’t recall ever coming across another action that came close. After relocating the capstans, re-regulating the action and removing more than half the keyleads the keys still weighed off at 52 ‒ 48 grams but the action was now very nicely playable. The owner actually had tears in her eyes when she started to play the piano once the work was done; it had become the piano she’d always dreamed about.

So, no, it’s not always all that simple. And, no, it’s not just a matter of “breaking 55 grams of inertia” (whatever that means).

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2017081
01/19/13 04:39 AM
01/19/13 04:39 AM
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Del, you have a knack for making something as dull and arcane as action weighting interesting and compelling. I see you've authored at least one book but have you considered waiting something geared more for the mass market along the lines of Larry Fine's book? Maybe a collection of essays philosophizing about piano design and the impacts you see it having on people and their music?

You might not sell a million but I think you'd easily produce a classic in the space. You've already got beginnings of it just from your postings on piano world.

I tried to pm this, but apparently you don't accept PMs...

Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2017120
01/19/13 07:56 AM
01/19/13 07:56 AM
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Suffolk, England
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Concertina,

It seems to me that this thread contains all the advice you need to go ahead and buy a 1997 or 2001 Kawai RX1 with confidence. Unless, of course, anyone comes up with hard evidence to the contrary about those models. Kawai has high standards of design, manufacturing and product quality.

The main question is the condition of the instrument and only a good technician can tell you about that and, importantly, what needs to be done. It is likely that some routine servicing, regulation and voicing, will be necessary to bring it up to scratch. The price you agree to pay should allow for the cost of any work required.

Your technician will advise you about the hammers and voicing and you can get a good idea of what regulation may involve by looking through the photographs and text in the Kawai Grand Piano Regulation Manual.

Good luck with your quest.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: jawhitti] #2017167
01/19/13 10:21 AM
01/19/13 10:21 AM
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Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by jawhitti
Del, you have a knack for making something as dull and arcane as action weighting interesting and compelling. I see you've authored at least one book but have you considered waiting something geared more for the mass market along the lines of Larry Fine's book? Maybe a collection of essays philosophizing about piano design and the impacts you see it having on people and their music?

You might not sell a million but I think you'd easily produce a classic in the space. You've already got beginnings of it just from your postings on piano world.

I tried to pm this, but apparently you don't accept PMs...


+100

I think half the members on this forum would want to get a copy. I certainly would.

Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: jawhitti] #2017209
01/19/13 11:36 AM
01/19/13 11:36 AM
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Olympia, Washington
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Originally Posted by jawhitti
Del, you have a knack for making something as dull and arcane as action weighting interesting and compelling. I see you've authored at least one book but have you considered waiting something geared more for the mass market along the lines of Larry Fine's book? Maybe a collection of essays philosophizing about piano design and the impacts you see it having on people and their music?

You might not sell a million but I think you'd easily produce a classic in the space. You've already got beginnings of it just from your postings on piano world.

I tried to pm this, but apparently you don't accept PMs...

No, I don't accept PM's but I do provide two email addresses. And I check those every day unless I'm traveling and email is inaccessible (which sometimes happens in China when Google and the Chinese government are having a lover's quarrel). Or while I'm changing computers as I am right now and everything is moving around in a confused whirl.

My wife has also been telling me to write out some of these things and put them into a book. It's something I've started from time to time but then other projects get in the way and it gets set aside for a time.

Thinks for the kind words...maybe it's time to bring this back to a "Recently Opened Files" status.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2017360
01/19/13 03:35 PM
01/19/13 03:35 PM
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Canada
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concertina Offline OP
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Well, I played both pianos and they seem fine to me, although I'm no expert. I also brought my sister, who teaches piano, and she thought it seemed fine to. So I think that I will assume that it will also be fine for my kids.

This concern just came from a piano salesman who told me that young kids need a piano with a lighter touch, but I didn't know if I should believe him or not. I don't want my kids to injure themselves, obviously, but I don't want them to learn bad habits either!

I'm going to have the newer piano checked out by a technician, and I'll mention my concerns to him and get his advice. Very exciting!

Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2017376
01/19/13 03:57 PM
01/19/13 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by concertina
Well, I played both pianos and they seem fine to me, although I'm no expert. I also brought my sister, who teaches piano, and she thought it seemed fine to. So I think that I will assume that it will also be fine for my kids.

This concern just came from a piano salesman who told me that young kids need a piano with a lighter touch, but I didn't know if I should believe him or not. I don't want my kids to injure themselves, obviously, but I don't want them to learn bad habits either!



I learnt piano on a very light-actioned (with shallow key travel) console-sized Yamaha as a child, and can attest that practising exclusively on it wasn't conducive to playing on other pianos, as when doing ABRSM piano exams. Luckily, by the time I reached intermediate standard, I was at a boarding school where the practice rooms had much bigger Yamaha uprights with more 'normal' key weight and travel. Otherwise, I suspect I would have great problems developing my technique and adapting to playing challenging music on better pianos.

Memories can play tricks, but a few years ago, I revisited my childhood home where the little Yamaha still resides, and renewed my acquaintance with it. It was as bad as I remembered it - with such shallow and light key action (and shallow and strident tone to match) that it was difficult to control, and impossible to play softly. Not an instrument to develop a child's control of tone and dynamics. My parents told me the dealer sold them that piano (which was purchased new) on the basis it was 'perfect' for children.......cry.......and not being pianists themselves (nor musical either), they believed him.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2017381
01/19/13 04:09 PM
01/19/13 04:09 PM
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Grand Rapids Michigan
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Piano salespeople are often out for a sale for themselves so beware of that. Only a technician can tell you what that piano is really like. Nobody here can tell you what the touch of the piano is, right or wrong. That too, is a personal preference in many cases. Proper regulation would be very important to learning the correct touch. An even touch is crucial to anyone learning how to play the piano.



Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2017393
01/19/13 04:33 PM
01/19/13 04:33 PM
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Rochester MN
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Congratulations Concertina!

You've made it through the big part. Good luck with the inspection.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: beethoven986] #2017411
01/19/13 05:00 PM
01/19/13 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by beethoven986


Even some of the new Kawais feel heavy to me. I don't recommend that anyone get a piano that is hard to play, much less a young child. Professional pianists develop all sorts of serious hand injuries by playing on pianos that take too much effort to play, and they have fully developed hands.


I disagree with this statement. I don't think it's the pianos that they are playing that causes injury, it is the way they are playing and/or overplaying that causes injury. I've never heard of a professional pianist getting injured by playing a piano with a heavier action. Certainly, if there's something wrong with the piano it could be difficult to play if you are accustomed to a lighter action. I prefer a heavier action for myself because it forces me to use good technique and I can adjust easier to a lighter action piano.

Quote
Children are already at a disadvantage because the keys are so big relative to their hand size; a heavy touch will make this worse.


I agree with somewhat. If you have young students who do not yet have a good technique, a heavier action could be harder for them to play. However, the music beginners would be playing there's no risk of injury. The fingers are strong enough to maintain an arch (just ask them to pull your finger with their finger and that nail joint is quite strong) - it's more a matter of concentration on the proper hand shape that matters at this point. The repertoire gets more difficult as they progress technically, so it should not be an issue as long as the piano is not heavy due to poor maintenance.

As a teacher, I recently decided not to buy an upright whose action and sound I liked, because I knew it would be a heavier action than my young students were used to at home and I didn't want to make their lessons more difficult than necessary. I would not have had a problem buying if it were going to be their regular practice instrument.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: Morodiene] #2017491
01/19/13 07:36 PM
01/19/13 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by beethoven986


Even some of the new Kawais feel heavy to me. I don't recommend that anyone get a piano that is hard to play, much less a young child. Professional pianists develop all sorts of serious hand injuries by playing on pianos that take too much effort to play, and they have fully developed hands.


I disagree with this statement. I don't think it's the pianos that they are playing that causes injury, it is the way they are playing and/or overplaying that causes injury. I've never heard of a professional pianist getting injured by playing a piano with a heavier action. Certainly, if there's something wrong with the piano it could be difficult to play if you are accustomed to a lighter action. I prefer a heavier action for myself because it forces me to use good technique and I can adjust easier to a lighter action piano.


You're free to disagree with it, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. While I absolutely agree that many (if not most) hand injuries can be attributed to bad technique and/or over playing, Mack truck syndrome (and key width, but that's another topic) is definitely contributory, and probably causes a lot of that bad technique to begin with. I take issue with the notion that using a heavier action forces one to use good technique... good technique is just as important on a light action, if not more so. As a pianist, I don't believe I should have to fight with a piano; it's unpleasant, and if it's unpleasant, that defeats the purpose of making music. Fortunately, I have the ability to decline playing on pianos I don't like, a luxury to be sure. I am thankful for it.

Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2017566
01/19/13 10:34 PM
01/19/13 10:34 PM
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I apologize if 'inertia' is the wrong word, but I think it answers the op's question. The objective for the student is to develop technique, not strength. Ask any baseball pitcher. I've even talked to a shot put thrower who said, "Anybody can get strong. It takes technique to compete." I've seen a 4 month old baby push down piano keys down.

I get confused with all of the approaches to measuring and weighting keys. When playing, we push downward on the key at different distances from the balance rail. Rarely close to the front of the key where weighting measurements are normally taken. (I know a pianist who uses this mechanical advantage when playing long pianissimo passages.) Also how is the friction of the key bushings considered in the different formulas? The natural splay of our hands pushes the keys bushings against the key pins creating changing levels of friction with each key stroke. Take a look at the wear pattern on the key bushings. The keys are moving sideways. Not straight up and down.

I agree that it would be worth the time for Del and others to document their formulations for action weighting and design. The old recordings of players like Rachmaninoff seemed to have pianos that were mechanically fast and responsive. Are we recycling through the same series of trial and error developed through 1920's &30's?



"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2017572
01/19/13 10:54 PM
01/19/13 10:54 PM
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I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread, especially the technical information that Del provided. With a good piano teacher to show Concertina's children proper technique, appropriate beginner's music, and shorter practice times in the beginning of their lessons, the risk of injury is minimal with a quality grand. IMHO, you want to make sure that your children's practice sessions and lessons are as enjoyable and comfortable as possible so that they'll practice and look forward to each lesson. They will build finger strength as they grow, but they shouldn't have to fight their practice piano to learn. It sounds like either Kawai would be just fine.

One of the good things about taking piano lessons or piano group classes is that it gives me the opportunity to play different pianos with different actions, so I'm not as "thrown" by a different piano on the rare occasion I play in a recital.

Best of luck and let us know what you decide.


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: Dave B] #2018005
01/20/13 07:39 PM
01/20/13 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave B
I apologize if 'inertia' is the wrong word, but I think it answers the op's question. The objective for the student is to develop technique, not strength. Ask any baseball pitcher. I've even talked to a shot put thrower who said, "Anybody can get strong. It takes technique to compete." I've seen a 4 month old baby push down piano keys down.

Yes, but…that four-month-old baby pushes the keys down randomly and sporadically. She does not try to repeat the notes tens, or hundreds of thousands of time in rapid succession at ffff power levels. All piano actions can be played with relative ease if only one note is to be played and that only at a moderate level. It doesn’t really matter how heavy the hammers are or how much lead there is in the keys. It’s when the keys need to be repeated quickly that the matter of inertia comes into play. A good, strong pianist with good technique can play most any piano—at least for a time—but with some there is a physical price to pay. I’ve worked with enough good pianists over the years who have sustained permanent physical damage to their fingers and wrists with these pianos that I now believe that a “heavy” action is at least a contributing factor.

This seems to be somewhat like hearing damage. Many people seem to be able to listen to extremely bright and hard sounding pianos for years on end without suffering any adverse side effects. Others end up with permanent hearing damage after relatively brief periods of time.

My feeling now is simply that it is important make people aware of the potential for permanent physical damage and at least attempt to explain why this happens. And, perhaps, make them aware of how it can be avoided. For hundreds of years the piano community managed to get by with much lighter actions and with actions having somewhat shallower key travel. These actions did have hammers that were somewhat lighter than has been common over the past several decades.



Quote
I get confused with all of the approaches to measuring and weighting keys. When playing, we push downward on the key at different distances from the balance rail. Rarely close to the front of the key where weighting measurements are normally taken. (I know a pianist who uses this mechanical advantage when playing long pianissimo passages.) Also how is the friction of the key bushings considered in the different formulas? The natural splay of our hands pushes the keys bushings against the key pins creating changing levels of friction with each key stroke. Take a look at the wear pattern on the key bushings. The keys are moving sideways. Not straight up and down.

All of this is true; at least to a point. The keys do move relatively straight up and down but it is only because they are guided by a pair of vertical pins. There are at least some standards that are applied to measuring these things but, you’re right, not everyone measures the same way. My own standard is to measure both up and down weights along with key travel at a point 20 mm behind the front edge of the keys. This seems to be about where the average pianist spends most of his or her time.

While the methods in use today to measure key weighting, friction and inertia are still far from perfect they are considerable improvements over the tools we had at our disposal 40 or 50 years ago. They are good enough that we do well not to ignore them.



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I agree that it would be worth the time for Del and others to document their formulations for action weighting and design. The old recordings of players like Rachmaninoff seemed to have pianos that were mechanically fast and responsive. Are we recycling through the same series of trial and error developed through 1920's &30's?

I do nothing magical when it comes to weighing off keysets. I pay a lot of attention to controlling friction. Experience—and that of my clients over the years—has taught me that the excessively massive hammers are the biggest culprits in actions that are commonly labeled “heavy.” (Assuming, of course, that friction is under control.) So in that sense, yes, we are recycling through the same sort of trial and error process the industry went through from roughly the 1860s through the 1930s. This was a period of intense and wild experimentation. The result being that grand piano makers settled on a hammer mass progression that, by today’s standards, would be considered light to medium. Given this, most of the hammers that I use today also fall into that range.

The really heavy hammers didn’t start showing up until the Asian manufacturers started using them in their attempts to make their pianos more powerful. This practice was quickly emulated by piano makers around the world. The mass of the hammers was offset by modifying the overall action ratios and by leading. Now, finally, we are seeing some manufacturers backing away from very massive and hard hammers. Their tone quality is gradually becoming somewhat warmer and more dynamic.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2018026
01/20/13 08:07 PM
01/20/13 08:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
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B
bennevis Offline
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bennevis  Offline
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B

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Anyone who's ever played fortepianos (or modern reproductions) of the Classical era, or the early grands of Chopin's time (Pleyels and Erards) will know that not only are their actions lighter than modern pianos (upright or grand) but their key travel is also shallower, and their tone also lack brilliance, depth and power. OK if you're playing a Chopin or Liszt concerto with historically-informed forces but not with a modern symphony orchestra.

The only reason why key actions has gotten heavier and deeper since then is to gain more power - and metal frames also help with the increased string tension required. Octave glissandi was easy on those period instruments but very difficult with modern ones, especially if you have small hands.

But can we turn the clock back?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Heavy touch for young students? [Re: concertina] #2018040
01/20/13 08:59 PM
01/20/13 08:59 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014
Minnesota Marty  Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Not for young students learning to play in 2013.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
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