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Piano length #2814933
02/14/19 04:05 AM
02/14/19 04:05 AM
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Bulgaria
PhilipInChina Online content OP
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I have never had a satisfactory answer to this question. There is a thread running on similar points, but I didn't want to hijack it.

I know there is a few exceptions from the rule, but why do pianos top out at more or less 9'?


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Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815063
02/14/19 10:53 AM
02/14/19 10:53 AM
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Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
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Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
I have never had a satisfactory answer to this question. There is a thread running on similar points, but I didn't want to hijack it.

I know there is a few exceptions from the rule, but why do pianos top out at more or less 9'?

I don't have a technical answer, but I do have a philosophical one... convenience, tradition, formalities, no exceptions to the rules (or at lease very few)? I suppose when someone paves the road to somewhere and no one else bothers to pave a new one, it is generally accepted as a precedent.

On the other hand, I have read of oddities or experiments of pianos being built that exceed the 9' threshold. But they seem to be few and far in between...

Good question.

Just my .02.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815068
02/14/19 11:01 AM
02/14/19 11:01 AM
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Hakki Offline
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Maybe it is related to the manufacturing processes. Both technically and economically.

Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815075
02/14/19 11:07 AM
02/14/19 11:07 AM
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j&j Offline
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Just a piano hobbiest guess here: maybe bigger than 9 feet doesn’t improve the sound enough to justify the cost of a 10 to 12 foot soundboard? With significantly longer strings, would you need bigger hammers and action? I’m sure it’s probably been tried before. Of course I’m still wondering why you would need more than 88 keys?


J & J
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Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815090
02/14/19 11:22 AM
02/14/19 11:22 AM
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Indianapolis
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Mason & Hamlin and Bosendorfer produce production pianos in the 9.5 foot range, and they are wonderful instruments. I think it gets into what size produces a quality musical sound vs. practical in terms of space required in the venue, cost to build / own / transport, etc. I just don't think there's a market for a larger piano produced en mass. The market for the 9' piano is so very limited as it is. Larger pianos are just a novelty. When pianos were going thru the major evolution of the mid to late 1800's, performance halls were much smaller, especially in Europe. The 9' piano became the standard. Now we do have much larger performance spaces, but sound reinforcement equipment aids in volume control.

I've heard it said that Yamaha's point of view was that the 7.5 foot range of pianos was the "sweet spot" -- where the physical size and costs of the piano balanced with tonal characteristics and power of the piano per inch (or something like that). Maybe that's a fairy tale, or maybe that's why the C7 was so successful for them.

Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815093
02/14/19 11:27 AM
02/14/19 11:27 AM
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If you want a piano larger than 9', you certainly can order one.


Maker of Fine Piano Soundboards
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Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815147
02/14/19 01:16 PM
02/14/19 01:16 PM
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There have been a few novelty pianos at 17 ft and 25 ft, etc.

Nine seems to be a subjective consensus, that's all....


-- J.S.

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Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815148
02/14/19 01:16 PM
02/14/19 01:16 PM
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Doesn't Fazioli produce a 10 foot grand?



"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
P E R F O R M A N C E over p r o v e n a n c e

Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815150
02/14/19 01:21 PM
02/14/19 01:21 PM
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The most compelling rationale may be economic. As GC13 points out, the market for concert grands is very small, and as I believe has been pointed out here before (Dell?): the largest number of grands sold are less than 6 feet.



"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
P E R F O R M A N C E over p r o v e n a n c e

Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815160
02/14/19 01:35 PM
02/14/19 01:35 PM
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astrotoy Online content
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Of course, the Boesendorfer 290 (9'6") also has 97 keys. The Australian Stuart and Sons recently introduced piano has 108 keys. There have been others through history which have had over 88 keys. Our Boesendorfer 225 has 92 keys. Supposedly the original reason was Busoni wanting an instrument that could play transcriptions of Bach organ music that went below the normal range of the piano.

Last edited by astrotoy; 02/14/19 01:37 PM.

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Re: Piano length [Re: JohnSprung] #2815204
02/14/19 02:50 PM
02/14/19 02:50 PM
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Southwest
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

There have been a few novelty pianos at 17 ft and 25 ft, etc.

Nine seems to be a subjective consensus, that's all....


I just can’t imagine moving a 25 ft grand from the manufacturer to the dealer and again to the hall. You’d have to use a semi.


J & J
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Re: Piano length [Re: j&j] #2815206
02/14/19 02:57 PM
02/14/19 02:57 PM
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Indianapolis
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GC13 Offline
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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by JohnSprung

There have been a few novelty pianos at 17 ft and 25 ft, etc.

Nine seems to be a subjective consensus, that's all....


I just can’t imagine moving a 25 ft grand from the manufacturer to the dealer and again to the hall. You’d have to use a semi.


And there would be very few buildings where you could maneuver a 25 ft instrument -- narrow hallways and doorways, etc. I remember how carefully I measured to make sure the movers would be able to get my S&S B in the house. Coming in the front door was a close, close call b/c my front door is on a 45 degree angle to the front of the house and the front porch. It barely cleared a support column on the porch to make the turn. eek

Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2815389
02/14/19 08:33 PM
02/14/19 08:33 PM
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Miguel Rey Online content
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The law of diminishing returns.




Re: Piano length [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2815981
02/15/19 09:38 PM
02/15/19 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
If you want a piano larger than 9', you certainly can order one.



Exactly!!
How big are you going to go?!
You've got the space, and you know you want it!!


Learner
Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2816003
02/15/19 11:26 PM
02/15/19 11:26 PM
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
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There is also the complication of action geometry, which hasn't been mentioned yet.

The longer the piano, the farther out on the string the hammer must reach. So, getting substantially larger than 9 ft. would introduce challenges that have not had to be dealt with by modern makers before.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
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Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2817570
02/19/19 06:26 PM
02/19/19 06:26 PM
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Reseda, California
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For any maker to introduce a new length they have to build some expensive special tooling -- the form for gluing up the case laminations, the pattern for casting the plate, etc.

These things have to be amortized over a lot of pianos before the project becomes profitable.


-- J.S.

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Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2817818
02/20/19 09:30 AM
02/20/19 09:30 AM
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GC13 Offline
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To the OP -- do any of our thoughts satisfy your curiosity? What are your thought on the subject? What ideas have peaked your curiosity?

Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2817847
02/20/19 10:38 AM
02/20/19 10:38 AM
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Piano makers are in business to make a profit. So if say a piano maker we’ll call “Fazistein” decided to make a 14 foot Piano instead of the standard 9 to 9 1/2 foot concert grand, they’d first have to do extensive research on whether the sound projection, tone, and responsiveness of 14 foot adequately surpasses the 9ft. They’d have to set up all the required tooling and casting and build several prototypes with the major action and geometry changes as Rick mentioned, and then ask concert pianists and orchestra leaders to try out the prototypes. A 9 foot concert piano is a huge beast. It really is. A 14 foot concert grand would be “ginormous”. Special crating, special moving techniques would be required. The new 14 ft piano would take up a lot of floorspace and might be rather intimidating to play much less voice and regulate. The huge piano would also be rather weighty. There’s probably just not enough of a potential market to make the significantly bigger piano worth the effort.
I would travel and pay to see a 14 foot piano made, played, and voiced, if it were to ever happen.😁


J & J
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Re: Piano length [Re: PhilipInChina] #2817853
02/20/19 10:48 AM
02/20/19 10:48 AM
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JohnSprung Offline
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Here's a twelve foot. It's the largest I've seen that's a serious instrument rather than an experiment or a gimmick.

http://davidrubinstein.net/RubensteinR371.html


-- J.S.

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Knabe Grand # 10927
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Re: Piano length [Re: JohnSprung] #2817984
02/20/19 02:37 PM
02/20/19 02:37 PM
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JohnSprung - has Mr. Rubenstein produced any more 12 foot pianos? The link inside for the article has been changed. I also wonder in the succeeding 14 years if Mr. Rubenstein thinks the time and effort to build that piano was worth it or not. Would he do it again?


J & J
Yamaha C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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