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Re: The blindfold test. [Re: Piano90X] #2567774
09/01/16 01:47 AM
09/01/16 01:47 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 708
California
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I definitely wouldn't be able to identify by sound. I'm not so sure I could identify by playing either, as it seems there is a lot of variation even within a brand. Still, I do feel that most of the Yamahas I have played (and that is not many), sound and play "bright", whereas the Steinways I have played are warmer. But is this because of branding or individual differences? I wouldn't know.


Piano teacher in training.
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Re: The blindfold test. [Re: bennevis] #2568062
09/02/16 12:05 AM
09/02/16 12:05 AM
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 239
CT
wolfgangmeister Offline
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Very interesting links! I've only been able to spend some time with the six Finalists, and when each played one of six different 18th Century/Mozart Concertos, five (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th prize winners) chose the Fazioli and one (3rd prize winner) chose the Shigeru Kawai. No doubt that for Mozart, the clarity and singing tone of that particular Fazioli is striking to virtually all the contestants (and myself). Hands down winner for this era of music.

When it came to 19th/20th Century Concertos, three chose the Hamburg Steinway (1st, 2nd, 5th prize - playing Prokofiev 3rd/Rachmaninoff 2nd), two chose the Fazioli (4th, 6th prize - playing Saint-Saens 2nd/Brahms 2nd), and the same (3rd prize - playing Rachmaninoff 2nd) contestant chose the Shigeru Kawai. I found it intriguing that the 1st and 2nd place winners chose Fazioli/Steinway, whereas the 3rd and 4th place winners stuck with the same instrument (Shigeru Kawai/Fazioli). The Hamburg Steinway D power and tonal shading really shines with the large Russian works, the Fazioli with the more lyrical and singing Saint-Saens 2nd, and I felt it was a very interesting selection of the Fazioli for the Brahms 2nd. Goes to show you that different instruments with differing tonal qualities can work better for some types of music and less well for others.

So for the finals, the only direct comparison of the same piece, being played in the same hall with the same orchestra, on consecutive evenings - but with different pianists was with the Rachmaninoff 2nd: Steinway D vs. Shigeru Kawai SK-EX

2nd Prize. Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev - July 22, 2016
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Concerto No.2 in C minor Op.18

Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia - Hamburg Steinway 8’11” Model D

https://youtu.be/p71OQzE5bE0?t=45m30s

3rd Prize. Moye Chen - July 23, 2016
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Concerto No.2 in C minor Op.18

Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia - Shigeru Kawai 9’1” Model SK-EX

https://youtu.be/TVuV1zgRJeU?t=54m55s

Perhaps someone else can fish out some of the earlier round comparisons of the Mephisto Waltz No.1, Prokofiev's 6th Sonata, Gaspard de la nuit, etc. played on the Fazioli, etc.


Jason Solomonides
Mason & Hamlin 7' BB 93623
Yamaha 6'1" C3 (w/WNG) D3010008
My Piano Recordings:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7aJcfJZZvg&list=PLkP65I5BsNirTcv-nAHm4BXXsCbB_EbAJ
Mason & Hamlin Artist
Re: The blindfold test. [Re: wolfgangmeister] #2568064
09/02/16 12:15 AM
09/02/16 12:15 AM
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 216
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Piano90X Offline OP
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Great write-up, Jason.

Brahms on the Fazioli struck me as an odd choice as well.

I want to play on a Shigeru Kawai so bad.


Re: The blindfold test. [Re: Cassia] #2568073
09/02/16 01:17 AM
09/02/16 01:17 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
ChickGrand Offline
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Originally Posted by Cassia
Here we go! See 8 Octaves post towards the bottom of the first page of this thread. http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2535150/1.html


That was fun. I got all four right with just one listen, but knowing the four that would appear made that not so difficult. All four sounded very good. But there are distinct characteristics to makes and if you listen to lots of them, you pick up on their distinctive sound. There are so many beautiful tonalities among the great pianos. My favorite of those four is the Steingraeber. Might be a different story if Fazioli 278 or Mason CC were in the mix, but that Steingraeber would be a tough one to beat to my ears.

Re: The blindfold test. [Re: Piano90X] #2568108
09/02/16 08:40 AM
09/02/16 08:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 40
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Narj Offline
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Originally Posted by Piano90X

I ask because so often people talk about the "bright" or "warm" or "clear" tones that are associated with particular brands. If the tone is so particular, can you identify it blindfolded?


I probably couldn't. I've been doing a lot of "eyes-shut" testing of pianos with very deliberate listening now I'm almost at the end of my piano hunt. I can honestly say that it's a case of a sound I like, don't like or am neutral about, although I probably couldn't tie it down to manufacturer in a proper test.

I could definitely tell the difference in touch and response between a number of the pianos I've tested, though. smile


Re: The blindfold test. [Re: Piano90X] #2568116
09/02/16 09:12 AM
09/02/16 09:12 AM
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 239
CT
wolfgangmeister Offline
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wolfgangmeister  Offline
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Posts: 239
CT
Having noticed the various Piano Manufacturer selections at the 2016 Sydney Piano Competition and qualities of each instrument, in the hands of the right artist, in the right hall, with the right concert technician, and with the right orchestra and conductor, one might reach a completely different conclusion. Case in point - Let's listen to the incomparable Maria João Pires (one of the finest Mozart interpreters I have ever heard) playing the 2nd movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 in B♭ with the delightful Chamber Orchestra of Europe on a Hamburg Steinway Model D and then compare this to the soulful Moye Chen, 3rd Prize Winner of Sydney, playing the same movement on an extraordinary Shigeru Kawai SK-EX. No slight on Mr. Chen, but Ms. Pires makes her Hamburg Steinway sound like the finest Mozart instrument ever constructed, with the greatest ease and intimacy! (I also love watching cellist Luise Buchberger interact with both Ms. Pires and concertmistress Lorenza Borrani throughout the performance)

Just a note: none of the finalists selected a Hamburg Steinway to play their Mozart concerto in the Sydney Competition.

1970 Beethoven Bicentennial Competition - 1st Prize Winner. Maria João Pires. pianist - January 21, 2014
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto No.27 in B♭ Major K.595 - 2nd Movement
Chamber Orchestra of Europe - Trevor Pinnock - Hamburg Steinway 8’11” Model D

https://youtu.be/c9gvTKdZhD4?t=14m25s


2016 Sydney International Competition - 3rd Prize Winner. Moye Chen, pianist - July 20, 2016
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto No.27 in B♭ Major K.595 - 2nd Movement
Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia - Shigeru Kawai 9’1” Model SK-EX

https://youtu.be/kad39L6PJr0?t=59m27s


Jason Solomonides
Mason & Hamlin 7' BB 93623
Yamaha 6'1" C3 (w/WNG) D3010008
My Piano Recordings:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7aJcfJZZvg&list=PLkP65I5BsNirTcv-nAHm4BXXsCbB_EbAJ
Mason & Hamlin Artist
Re: The blindfold test. [Re: wolfgangmeister] #2568117
09/02/16 09:29 AM
09/02/16 09:29 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 326
Omaha, NE
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adamp88 Offline
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Omaha, NE
Originally Posted by wolfgangmeister

So for the finals, the only direct comparison of the same piece, being played in the same hall with the same orchestra, on consecutive evenings - but with different pianists was with the Rachmaninoff 2nd: Steinway D vs. Shigeru Kawai SK-EX

2nd Prize. Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev - July 22, 2016
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Concerto No.2 in C minor Op.18

Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia - Hamburg Steinway 8’11” Model D

https://youtu.be/p71OQzE5bE0?t=45m30s

3rd Prize. Moye Chen - July 23, 2016
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Concerto No.2 in C minor Op.18

Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia - Shigeru Kawai 9’1” Model SK-EX

https://youtu.be/TVuV1zgRJeU?t=54m55s


Both are great pianos, but I much prefer the Steinway here. The Shigeru's treble is a little thin and metallic in comparison to the Steinway, particular at louder volumes (which are needed to project over the orchestra in this piece).

Last edited by adamp88; 09/02/16 09:35 AM.

Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
Piano Technician, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ASB Piano Service
Re: The blindfold test. [Re: Piano90X] #2568126
09/02/16 10:03 AM
09/02/16 10:03 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,415
Owen Sound, Ontario
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Greener Offline

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Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,415
Owen Sound, Ontario
Unless practiced, I doubt anyone could accurately identify brands by sound alone.

It is not the only factor when people buy of course. If it were, if people made the choice solely on the sound alone, they could easily end up with an unthinkable brand they would never have considered otherwise.


Re: The blindfold test. [Re: wolfgangmeister] #2568142
09/02/16 11:26 AM
09/02/16 11:26 AM
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 216
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Piano90X Offline OP
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Piano90X  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 216
Originally Posted by wolfgangmeister
Having noticed the various Piano Manufacturer selections at the 2016 Sydney Piano Competition and qualities of each instrument, in the hands of the right artist, in the right hall, with the right concert technician, and with the right orchestra and conductor, one might reach a completely different conclusion. Case in point - Let's listen to the incomparable Maria João Pires (one of the finest Mozart interpreters I have ever heard) playing the 2nd movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 in B♭ with the delightful Chamber Orchestra of Europe on a Hamburg Steinway Model D and then compare this to the soulful Moye Chen, 3rd Prize Winner of Sydney, playing the same movement on an extraordinary Shigeru Kawai SK-EX. No slight on Mr. Chen, but Ms. Pires makes her Hamburg Steinway sound like the finest Mozart instrument ever constructed, with the greatest ease and intimacy! (I also love watching cellist Luise Buchberger interact with both Ms. Pires and concertmistress Lorenza Borrani throughout the performance)

Just a note: none of the finalists selected a Hamburg Steinway to play their Mozart concerto in the Sydney Competition.

1970 Beethoven Bicentennial Competition - 1st Prize Winner. Maria João Pires. pianist - January 21, 2014
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto No.27 in B♭ Major K.595 - 2nd Movement
Chamber Orchestra of Europe - Trevor Pinnock - Hamburg Steinway 8’11” Model D

https://youtu.be/c9gvTKdZhD4?t=14m25s


2016 Sydney International Competition - 3rd Prize Winner. Moye Chen, pianist - July 20, 2016
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concerto No.27 in B♭ Major K.595 - 2nd Movement
Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia - Shigeru Kawai 9’1” Model SK-EX

https://youtu.be/kad39L6PJr0?t=59m27s


Great links!

How, though, can you isolate the piano from the performer?

I would like to see Maria João Pires play the same piece on both the Steinway and the Shigeru.

Re: The blindfold test. [Re: Piano90X] #2568201
09/02/16 03:09 PM
09/02/16 03:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,600
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by Piano90X

How, though, can you isolate the piano from the performer?

I would like to see Maria João Pires play the same piece on both the Steinway and the Shigeru.

I don't think you can isolate the two. An experienced pianist will likely find the 'sweet spot' of the piano he/she is playing and modify his touch to get the sound quality he wants.

I play on a wide range of pianos, of which two are on a regular basis - my own (a high-end digital grin ) and the C.Bechstein grand that I perform on once a month. The latter (which is re-built, and over a century old) has a mellow tone through its range, and shallower key-dip compared to modern pianos (and has only 85 keys and two pedals). Despite being over six feet in length, it doesn't have the depth of tone of the Fazioli F156 I occasionally play on, nor has it got the latter's tonal and dynamic range. So, I can't 'pull out all the stops' on it the way I can with modern grands, or indeed, my own digital. But its tone is, in its own way, very sweet (and 'olde-worlde'), and I want to make full use of its qualities when I play on it, not make it protest.

So, when I play on it, I modify my touch and often have to work harder to produce the desired singing tone in the melody when there is a very busy accompaniment (especially if the melody is in the middle of the texture) by lightening the accompaniment a lot and stressing the melody much more, relatively, otherwise the melody gets submerged. Whereas with the Fazioli - or the K.Kawai that I also play on occasionally (but to a somewhat lesser extent), or my digital, I only have to stress the melodic line just a little to get the balance right.

It's all done unconsciously as I'm used to the pianos, but I look for different things from different pianos, and never try to make them do what they can't, or 'dislike' doing.

Just like humans, in fact wink .


"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."
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