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Re: Why 88 keys?
bennevis #2263391 04/18/14 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
We had a person here who posted details of a piano he claimed was 6'+ wide. I got snapped at for suggesting he would need an ape to play it. A piano can only be a certain width if a person is going to be able to play it. Pity the 5'0" lady pianist.

Ravel's Concerto for LH has the first piano solo starting on the lowest A, and culminating in a glissando that finishes on the highest D. All on LH. As a pianist you use your body to get you to where you need to be...... wink.

Here's a petite French lady pianist playing it:
http://youtu.be/KJTUUKAdZDU

Notice also the blood on her fingers after that traumatic glissando.

Sometimes, a pianist's gotta do what a pianist gotta do.........


One of my favorites. Found the cadenzas but no bloody glissando.

(Correction: Yes, I see it at 15:50)

Last edited by bkw58; 04/18/14 07:11 AM. Reason: correction

Bob W.
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Re: Why 88 keys?
bkw58 #2263398 04/18/14 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bkw58

One of my favorites. Found the cadenza but no bloody glissando.

(Correction: Yes,I see it at 15:55)

Notice that she grimaced and dabbed her fingers on her hanky soon after that first ff glissando, which did all the damage...


"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: Why 88 keys?
gsmonks #2263405 04/18/14 07:34 AM
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Yes, I noticed this but didn't see the damage until later. (Piano makers and rebuilders please take note.)

Last edited by bkw58; 04/18/14 07:35 AM. Reason: typo

Bob W.
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Re: Why 88 keys?
gsmonks #2263450 04/18/14 09:17 AM
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Did you notice her use of vibrato at 2:37? Very impressive!

Re: Why 88 keys?
bennevis #2263639 04/18/14 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by prout

I play a work by Busoni that has G#0 in it. Likely for visual and musical consistency of line.

If a ('classical') composer has access to a piano with extended range, sooner or later, he's going to make use of those extra notes. Beethoven couldn't wait to use the extra range as soon as he got them....

Ravel's Érard grand had that low G, so he used it. As, presumably, did Busoni.

If Debussy had a Bösendorfer Imperial, I think he'd have used that lowest C in La cathédral engloutie on those pedal points (octave Cs in LH): the effect is overwhelming, as played by Carol Rosenberger in her "Water Music of the Impressionists" CD.


It is very true in the past while the piano was undergoing rapid change that composers adopted ever increasing range, with all makers following, but that was before. Today is quite a different story.

For whatever reason, I think at some point, the piano makers decided to stick to the past instead of look to the future.

Also there is no living composer today that is as prominent as Beethoven, Debussy or Rachmaninoff in their day. There is no shortage of concert virtuosic pianists but how many of them are composers? In the old days, all piano students were taught composition along with playing, not anymore.

Does Steinway even design pianos anymore? When was the last time Steinway made a single design change in any piano? (I don't know, just asking.) Even if a composer performs and travels everywhere with his/her Stuart & Sons piano with the extra range, would this act compel the industry to begin making piano with more range as a standard as it would have in Beethoven's day? I would say very unlikely. I don't know why we are stuck at 88 keys, but we are very much stuck.

Re: Why 88 keys?
4evrBeginR #2263670 04/18/14 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 4evrBeginR
Even if a composer performs and travels everywhere with his/her Stuart & Sons piano with the extra range, would this act compel the industry to begin making piano with more range as a standard as it would have in Beethoven's day? I would say very unlikely. I don't know why we are stuck at 88 keys, but we are very much stuck.

Even the Australian composer Carl Vine (no mean pianist himself), whose piano music is often performed on Stuart & Sons (and recorded on it) in his native country, doesn't make use of the extra notes on that piano, though his music frequently uses the extreme ends of the keyboard (e.g. his Piano Sonata No.1 starts with the lowest possible A minor chord, and keeps returning to the low A, as well as hitting the top C).

Almost certainly for pragmatic reasons - if you want pianists around the world to play your music, you can't expect them to have access to a Stuart, or a Bösendorfer 290 or 225. You end up writing for the 'standard' 88-key piano.

In other words, for Steinway.......


"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: Why 88 keys?
4evrBeginR #2263699 04/18/14 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 4evrBeginR

Does Steinway even design pianos anymore? When was the last time Steinway made a single design change in any piano? (I don't know, just asking.)


Greetings,
Steinway changed back to felt bushings in 1984, (and within that realm, they have changed the bushing processes trying to get some consistency, which I haven't seen happen). They changed the leg plate system two or three years ago. In between, they have gone to plastic bushings in the trap work, adjustable nuts on the pedal rods, the flange screws have gone through constant interations, they no longer use belly rail felt, the action brackets no longer have oversized holes for the rails. At one time, soundboards were hand planed to create the diaphragm, now the boards are machine sanded to dimension. Pre-war cases were made with hide glue, now they are made with a thermosetting glue, (it's faster).

It is what they call "improvement" when they change the design, yet, they call the piano a "Steinwas" when others do.
Regards,

Re: Why 88 keys?
Diane... #2263958 04/19/14 06:23 AM
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Diane, that Bösendorfer has got 97 keys, not 96 smile

Re: Why 88 keys?
gsmonks #2264546 04/20/14 11:39 AM
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I saw a piano back in the mid-80's that had a flip-up panel in the low end that revealed extra keys. Can't recall how many. The dealer told me they were there mainly as sympathetic strings. My Jurassic memory is telling me it was a Bosendorfer, but I may be wrong.

The average man has an arm-span of six feet. That's how mariners used to measure a fathom (= six feet). You therefore could make a piano with a span of six feet, but you'd have to do a face-plant into the keys in order to pull it off.

Re: Why 88 keys?
gsmonks #2264566 04/20/14 12:40 PM
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Did you count the extra white keys? If it's 5, it's an old-style Imperial. If 2, either a 275 or a 225. Old Imperials and 2/25/75s had the key cover.

Re: Why 88 keys?
gsmonks #2264576 04/20/14 12:54 PM
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I'm still chuckling about the idea of a full wingspan face-plant.

I shall compose a new concerto which uses this marvelous technique as a glorious ending. Ah, with contra glissandi ...

Splat!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Why 88 keys?
pianolive #2264633 04/20/14 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pianolive
Diane, that Bösendorfer has got 97 keys, not 96 smile

Wow! Most impressive pianolive! Congratulations! You caught that! That's what I get for counting the keys too fast!!! grin but you are correct, it is 97!

So then ... most standard pianos have ... 89 keys? like this, right? hahahahaha Now this would be hard NOT to notice! grin

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Diane...; 04/20/14 03:20 PM.

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Re: Why 88 keys?
Diane... #2264837 04/21/14 03:48 AM
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No no, I think that model runs a kind of automatic, just press down the right pedal and there you go. No messing around with keys smile

Re: Why 88 keys?
gsmonks #2264863 04/21/14 07:12 AM
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Well, if it's a Chevway, you might have a problem with one of the keys and then it just stops.


Marty in Minnesota

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