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#2196719 - 12/12/13 09:15 PM interesting Steinway selection....  
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Interesting to watch this selection process in Hamburg.

Listen in carefully: can predict which pianos will be 'winners'?

Have fun!



Norbert smile


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#2196730 - 12/12/13 09:31 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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White tie and tails?

I'm speechless!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2196773 - 12/12/13 11:28 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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White tie and tails?


Don't you know anybody working at Hamburg Steinway has to be concert pianist himself?

Norbert wink


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#2196801 - 12/13/13 01:28 AM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Boy, the piano concert giving profession is certainly far beyond market saturation if this is the case Norbert.


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#2196869 - 12/13/13 05:57 AM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
White tie and tails?

I'm speechless!


Marty, I'm shocked. Whatever do you wear in the evening?

#2196901 - 12/13/13 08:14 AM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Its a dirty job but someone's gotta do it wink

Now the question is, would a lay person or an occasional hobbyist player be able to discern any differences between several pianos from the same batch?


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#2196938 - 12/13/13 09:29 AM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Jean Claude]  
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Originally Posted by Jean Claude
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
White tie and tails?

I'm speechless!


Marty, I'm shocked. Whatever do you wear in the evening?

J-C, well, I was assuming it was a daytime shopping trip. I would wear black tie for the occasion, unless an early dinner was planned and then I would choose a grey cutaway.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2196955 - 12/13/13 10:18 AM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: LarryShone]  
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Originally Posted by LarryShone

Now the question is, would a lay person or an occasional hobbyist player be able to discern any differences between several pianos from the same batch?


Sure you can, they vary a lot more than you think.

#2196962 - 12/13/13 10:29 AM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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...and a "D" which can be found on 97% of the worlds concert halls. Now THAT is market saturation.


Quid est veritas et mendacium, cum orbis terrarum.
#2197016 - 12/13/13 12:26 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by Jean Claude
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
White tie and tails?

I'm speechless!


Marty, I'm shocked. Whatever do you wear in the evening?

J-C, well, I was assuming it was a daytime shopping trip. I would wear black tie for the occasion, unless an early dinner was planned and then I would choose a grey cutaway.


Thank heavens! I feel entirely reassured.

J-C.

#2197058 - 12/13/13 01:40 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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What happens to the remaining pianos that aren't perfect? Dealer prep?


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#2197071 - 12/13/13 02:03 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: kippesc]  
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Originally Posted by kippesc
What happens to the remaining pianos that aren't perfect? Dealer prep?


For auto dealerships they have a saying "there is an a.s.s for every seat"

Someone will like the other pianos. They are not necessarily not as good, but probably.

That's why it's not a good idea to go to selection towards the end of the year. All the "bad" pianos have been skipped over and they are all that is left.

In my opinion the hamburgs are all good, but they are still different from one another. It really depends what they will be used for.

But in my personal opinion, a D should always be a "monster" and be capable of filling a large hall with sound. If not, what's the point of it being a D?

#2197081 - 12/13/13 02:20 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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I liked the mellow one(for my home)but I can hear the differences and understand the gentleman's explanation for choosing different sounding pianos for their particular situations..I didn't hear "bad" ones..
no humbugs from those Hamburg's! smile

#2197093 - 12/13/13 02:40 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Mellow D is good for a home, but you can always tame a monster. Cant make a monster out of a dud.

Some pianos just cannot produce big sound no matter how much you harden the hammers. The sound starts to break up at certain volume and doesn't sound good. This has to do with the individual soundboard, rim, bearings etc...

I read this in an article a while back.

One method is to press the sustain pedal and thump on the bottom of the keybed with equal strength on each piano. The piano that resonates the most at higher volume has the potential to be louder.

This article also makes a good point that even while choosing a D for your home, you never know one day if you need to sell it, it will most likely sell to a concert hall, so having capability for big sound is a must.

Once the piano is at your home you can always raise the hammer line and or soften the hammers to make it more appropriate for a small space.

#2197111 - 12/13/13 03:37 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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The pianos chosen were just the personal preference of the people doing the choosing. Other professionals might just as easily choose different pianos or even hear the pianos very differently from the pianists in the video.

#2197127 - 12/13/13 03:57 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: ando]  
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by LarryShone

Now the question is, would a lay person or an occasional hobbyist player be able to discern any differences between several pianos from the same batch?


Sure you can, they vary a lot more than you think.

Yea I can believe it. Like acoustic guitars, pianos are very organic. I just never imagined there would be that much difference between pianos from the same factory. But its all down to the wood isnt it.
Boy would I like to visit that kind of factory!


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#2197173 - 12/13/13 05:24 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Hamburg-D]  
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Quote
I read this in an article a while back.


noambenhamou,

I suppose this must be the article you have read?:

Buy Concert grand fro Sally Phillips in PB, Fall 2011

schwammerl.

#2197176 - 12/13/13 05:35 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: schwammerl]  
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Nothing against a Hamburg Steinway but I find this video showing us more in depth the chosing of a concert grand:

Kimiko Ishizaka chooses her Bösendorfer

schwammerl.

Last edited by schwammerl; 12/13/13 05:36 PM.
#2197180 - 12/13/13 05:43 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: LarryShone]  
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Originally Posted by LarryStephone
Yea I can believe it. Like acoustic guitars, pianos are very organic. I just never imagined there would be that much difference between pianos from the same factory. But its all down to the wood isn't it.
Besides natural variances in the wood there are factors like consistency of production, different voicing done on purpose to appeal to different customers, differences due to the different people working on the piano for a particular step, etc.

#2197196 - 12/13/13 06:32 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: schwammerl]  
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Originally Posted by schwammerl
Nothing against a Hamburg Steinway but I find this video showing us more in depth the chosing of a concert grand:

Kimiko Ishizaka chooses her Bösendorfer

schwammerl.


That IS a very nice video of a careful selection and I was surprised that the recording does indeed capture the details she talks about (to some extent). But to be fair, her repertoire was a (beautiful but) rather narrow one, not probing certain areas of these wonderful pianos...

PS. Sorry to say but the video in the OP is actually just an advertising video and does not tell you much about the individual pianos.


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#2197220 - 12/13/13 07:45 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: maurus]  
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Originally Posted by maurus
Originally Posted by schwammerl
Nothing against a Hamburg Steinway but I find this video showing us more in depth the chosing of a concert grand:

Kimiko Ishizaka chooses her Bösendorfer

schwammerl.


That IS a very nice video of a careful selection and I was surprised that the recording does indeed capture the details she talks about (to some extent). But to be fair, her repertoire was a (beautiful but) rather narrow one, not probing certain areas of these wonderful pianos...

PS. Sorry to say but the video in the OP is actually just an advertising video and does not tell you much about the individual pianos.


I agree. That's no how I act in a selection room but hey, everyone has their own style.

I usually focus on 15-20 second of specific bars from a specific piece and sprint between pianos hysterically. That way the sound from the previous piano is still ringing in my mind.
I'll do this with over 20 pieces ranging from some nocturne to a concerto that should make my ears bleed playing fff.

I also like plucking the strings in order measure sustain.

But that's just how I tend to do it...

Last edited by noambenhamou; 12/13/13 07:49 PM.
#2197226 - 12/13/13 07:58 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Hamburg-D]  
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Originally Posted by noambenhamou
Mellow D is good for a home, but you can always tame a monster.


While I can certainly appreciate the mellow D, I do like harmony...




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#2197232 - 12/13/13 08:26 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: OperaTenor]  
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Originally Posted by OperaTenor
Originally Posted by noambenhamou
Mellow D is good for a home, but you can always tame a monster.


While I can certainly appreciate the mellow D, I do like harmony...




Yeah, I personally like my D at concert prep level. I'm in ramona. You should come try out my piano.

#2197233 - 12/13/13 08:28 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Now the question is, would a lay person or an occasional hobbyist player be able to discern any differences between several pianos from the same batch?


Absolutely.

There's nothing a professional pianist hears an occasional hobbyist can't.

In fact some of the latter happen to be sometimes among the most discerning and "critical" I have come across in my entire career.

"Gary" - you're wife's reading here by chance?

Norbert wink

Last edited by Norbert; 12/13/13 08:29 PM.

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#2197247 - 12/13/13 09:15 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Originally Posted by Norbert
Quote
Now the question is, would a lay person or an occasional hobbyist player be able to discern any differences between several pianos from the same batch?


Absolutely.

There's nothing a professional pianist hears an occasional hobbyist can't.

In fact some of the latter happen to be sometimes among the most discerning and "critical" I have come across in my entire career.

"Gary" - you're wife's reading here by chance?

Norbert wink


Interesting point. I personally know an amazing concert level pianist who doesn't ever really focus on the instrument. His technique is magnificent. For some reason, he just could care less. Guess he just makes the "best" of whatever he happens to play.

On the other hand, I have a very musically gifted friend who's technique suffers severely, but he can discern very quickly and instinctively between 2 new steinways. And he can explain it in words, just like I can. I took him with me to the steinway selection room back 2 years ago when choosing a D in NY. We played this game, we played each piano and on the "honor" system we discussed how that piano felt, regardless of the other person's input. It was identical, we were hearing the same thing, and critiquing the same way.

Me and him both are pretty objective individuals so we never said "piano #1 reminds me of the ocean and piano #2 reminds me of red roses scattered on a lake".

We quickly judge the piano's dynamic range. How easily it can be played softly / or loudly.

Then we comment on the immediacy of sound. Does it go straight to our ear, or travel around the room then reach our ears? And also - some pianos posses a "blossoming" sound, that once a note is played, it gets louder for a moment, then starts to decay. Some pianos decay as soon as note is struck.

Some pianos you can hear the percussion thumping of the hammer against the strings. There is a fine balance "in my opinion" of how much you want of this vs the actual sound from the string.

Then we use words such as bright, shiny, and the opposite - mellow and dark for the "flavor" of the notes.

Obviously most is matter of personal preference, but if you find two people with similar preferences who use the correct "dictionary" of terms, they both could describe the piano identically even if one may not posses good technique in piano playing and the other one does.

Also, our understanding of music is fundamentally different although we both appreciate the same repertoire. He is one of those "freaks" (just kidding!) that sees color in music. For me music deep inside is more felt as a rubber band, stretching and contracting with each chord progression, and this rubber band can stretch in all directions in a 3 dimensional world. But regardless, we still perceive the instruments in the exact same way.

But again - that's just my opinion.

Last edited by noambenhamou; 12/13/13 09:21 PM.
#2197257 - 12/13/13 09:40 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Noam:

Good point and very interesting! thumb

What surprised me somewhat in the tape is that the remarks by the pianist at Steinway were almost exact same we hear in our own showroom.

All of world's true premium pianos seem to have certain qualities which draw people to them - whatever make or brand that might be.

In one way it's 'personal' but in another perhaps not quite as much as we sometimes like to think...

P.S. Anybody would have chosen the other piano?

Norbert smile


Last edited by Norbert; 12/13/13 09:41 PM.

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#2197261 - 12/13/13 09:49 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Originally Posted by Norbert

In one way it's 'personal' but in another perhaps not quite as much as we sometimes like to think...


BINGO!

#2197294 - 12/13/13 11:33 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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I do not think hearing tone quality differences is difficult once they are placed within the musical context that exposes them. The "common" man can hear tone quality-but the way it is exposed makes all the difference.

Those who have more experience with the types of expression sought from a piano can discern important elements quickly.

One technique that I have noticed for evaluating the projection and dynamic range of a pianos treble is to close the lid completely, and play music on the piano. If you can still hear the treble at all dynamic gradients used-most likely this piano will "project" well. I know it seems counterintuitive, but the case should not "swallow" all the treble tone.

All the talk about "wood differences" being the pivotal variable between piano tone quality is overblown in my opinion. Workmanship differences are far more significant.


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#2197295 - 12/13/13 11:36 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Als:
The pianos not selected get left behind to benefit from more service to improve their musicality. When I prepared new Steinways for Sherman,Clay in Seattle-I would get the salespeople to pick the worst one-and prepare it first. It would usually sell first after that.


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#2197296 - 12/13/13 11:41 PM Re: interesting Steinway selection.... [Re: Norbert]  
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Yes, but there is alot of taboo science behind piano's and certain pianists that can create a certain sound.
Ed, you have quite a good reputation. Correct me if I'm wrong.

the sound of the middle C on a particular piano, as it sits, is set and predetermined.

What I mean, is that a pianist's exhadurated body gestures, and movement of the arm etc etc will not effect the tone.

In other words, if you mic up the piano, and I play the C at 80 decibels, the middle C hammer would have to strike the string at lets say 10 feet per second. 11 fps would get us higher than 80db and 9fps lower than 80db.

So when some pianist with a "magical" touch comes, at 80db, there would be the exact same sound, same timbre, same decay, same sustain. What we are dealing with here is velocity of hammer which "lets off" 2mm or so before striking the string. A projectile. And velocity at point of impact is what makes sound, and that sound cannot be change unless velocity is change and you start making contact deeper in the hammer felt etc etc...

I guess my point is that having good timbre and a good piano is important. A great pianist can make a bad piano sound better, but they really don't have as much effect as we would like to think. That's why I'm a big believer in having my piano voiced perfectly, to my taste of course smile

Last edited by noambenhamou; 12/13/13 11:41 PM.
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