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Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: sue_deutscher] #2862296 06/24/19 10:04 AM
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120 + years ago (when many of these scales were designed) nobody cared about the break. It was just there, part of the piano sound. In fact it was considered poor quality piano making to add wound strings in the low tenor. It is actually a rather recent (50 years) phenomenon to try to SMOOTH out the break, particularly with the advent of computer technology.

I think you will find out as you progress through the book precisely WHY she was not drawn to any (most) of the uprights.

You are correct though that it is not intended as a tech reference but a personal experience...extreme maybe...but personal. I agree that her grasp of technical info is highly accurate. Only had an issue with one or two statements which I can't recall right now as I'd have to reread it. And I'm inclined to think that it was simply not thoroughly understood or recalled accurately. No big deal. Better than any other similar thing I've ever read.

ALMOST like a good suspense novel.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: oivavoi] #2862319 06/24/19 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by oivavoi
The discussion here piqued my interest, so I bought the kindle version, and I'm halfway through it now. I must say I'm impressed and thrilled. Very well-written, engaging and informative.

If you don't read it like a piano bible, but more as a personal essay, there is also less stuff to become riled up about... As for me, there are several things I see differently from the author. The book throughout is very "grand-centric", like much of the mainstream piano culture in the US has been for many years. The possibilities of the upright are not given serious attention, even though the author visits the Fandrich factory and is impressed by their action. I believe the best European uprights available - from Sauter and Steingraeber and Bösendorfer and Bechstein, possibly from Fandrich & Sons as well - rival quite a lot of grands, both in their sound and their action.

I also don't think personally that the "break" between bass and tenor strings is such a big deal. Obsessing about this break is a fairly new and modern phenomenon. Older manufacturers often voiced their pianos with a deliberate break, in order to get a more orchestral sound - with a warm and enveloping bass, and a more clear and distinct midrange and treble. A few manufacturers still do this kind of voicing, btw. I prefer that kind of voicing myself.

But these disagreements or differences in perspective don't make it into a lesser book. Many other things in the book align very much with my own experience. And there are things which were completely new to me, which I read with great interest. The one thing I didn't much care for is the less than flattering descriptions of some of the salesmen etc she mentions. I really hope those characters have been somewhat fictionalized. Otherwise they would be easily recognizable, and that would really be an uncool thing to do to them in such a widely read book.

It's very interesting to read about the piano world forum back in the old days, btw!

Some further thoughts: How things have changed in 20 years! The "piano renaissance" the author describes in the years before 9/11 seems like a faint memory now, effectively killed by smartphones and distractions and social media and financial downturns.

And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.

Anyway, thanks to pianoworld for bringing this wonderful book to my attention!

The issue of the wood used was also covered in The Piano Shop On The Left Bank, which was also an excellent book. It's mind boggling to think that I'm playing a piano built 100 years ago, made of wood from trees planted 200 years ago!


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Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: P W Grey] #2862326 06/24/19 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
120 + years ago (when many of these scales were designed) nobody cared about the break. It was just there, part of the piano sound. In fact it was considered poor quality piano making to add wound strings in the low tenor. It is actually a rather recent (50 years) phenomenon to try to SMOOTH out the break, particularly with the advent of computer technology.

Pwg


Yap, I also got to know this quite recently, that trying to smooth out the break is a recent thing in piano manufacturing. I had for quite some time assumed that this break could only be a bad thing, to be overcome as much as possible. Then I came across a restored old piano which had a tone I fell madly in love with (unfortunately the action was less responsive than I wanted, even after regulation). As I played scales up and down, I started to notice that this piano had a more pronounced break than many other pianos I had played. I said that to the dealer, who is a very knowledgeable tech as well. He responded:

"Well, yeah, of course. That's probably one of the reasons you like it. It's only in modern times that manufacturers have tried to smooth out this break. Previously many manufacturers thought that the different registries should have different tonal characteristics. That way the piano becomes more orchestral, i.e. like an orchestra, where different instruments with different characters complement each other. It's a feature, not a bug".

This surprised me, but after reading up a bit and discussing with other techs, I understood that he was right. I also realized that some of the modern pianos I like playing the most - Steingraeber for example - also have kept some of this voicing as a deliberate decision.

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: cmb13] #2862327 06/24/19 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13


The issue of the wood used was also covered in The Piano Shop On The Left Bank, which was also an excellent book. It's mind boggling to think that I'm playing a piano built 100 years ago, made of wood from trees planted 200 years ago!


Thanks, will check out that book when I finish this one!

Last edited by oivavoi; 06/24/19 11:42 AM.
Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: sue_deutscher] #2862399 06/24/19 04:24 PM
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I also enjoyed 'The Left Bank'.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: P W Grey] #2863012 06/26/19 01:29 PM
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Pwg,
I'm sure Marc would be glad to hear from you directly. He's at pianomarc@aol.com

Glad you enjoyed the book! I worked so hard to get the technical stuff right, thankfully I had a lot of help!

Last edited by piqué; 06/26/19 01:30 PM.

piqué

now in paperback:
[Linked Image]

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey
Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: sue_deutscher] #2863016 06/26/19 01:38 PM
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Quote
And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.


I'd love to hear everything you know about this.


piqué

now in paperback:
[Linked Image]

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey
Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: sue_deutscher] #2863022 06/26/19 02:01 PM
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It's in his book wink


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Boston 118 PE

YouTube

Working On
Chopin Nocturne E min
Bach Inventions

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: piqué] #2863243 06/27/19 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by piqué
Quote
And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.


I'd love to hear everything you know about this.


Sure! I'll finish your book first, and revisit some of the stuff I've read that could be relevant, and do a short write-up.

Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: piqué] #2863277 06/27/19 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by piqué
Pwg,
I'm sure Marc would be glad to hear from you directly. He's at pianomarc@aol.com

Glad you enjoyed the book! I worked so hard to get the technical stuff right, thankfully I had a lot of help!



I shall. Thx

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: piqué] #2863539 06/28/19 08:24 AM
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I just came upon this thread - I'd seen one about "Grand Obsession" about 8 or 9 years ago when I was dealing with issues with my previous piano (which was new), as well as the piano technician who was supposedly the factory trained technician for that brand. But no matter what he did, it never worked, or if it did, it was OK for a couple of days. I was pulling my hair out in despair.

Reading your book encouraged me to 1) engage a different technician who improved that piano out of sight; and 2) (a change in my financial outlook allowed) a change of piano - to a Grotrian Concert 7'4" - (named "Clara").

It took a couple of years and a second technician (the one I'd used on my first piano) to bring it to be the piano I thoroughly enjoy. I'm not sure what tuning he is using, but I just love how it now plays and sounds.

Thanks for the book!! I just pulled it off the shelf and put it in my "to be read" pile again.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: "Grand Obsession" by Perri Knize (a book) [Re: oivavoi] #2863963 06/29/19 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by oivavoi
Originally Posted by piqué
Quote
And concerning the very particular wood that is harvested for high-end soundboards, which is described so incredibly well in the book... It just dawned on me that high-end pianos might become one more victim of climate change. We usually think about crops, food, coffee, chocolate, etc when we think about how climate change is starting to impact vegetation and farming. But the kind of climatic stability that is required for the particular wood that is used in the most expensive pianos seems to be a thing of the past. Alas, piano civilization is a fragile thing, it seems.


I'd love to hear everything you know about this.


Sure! I'll finish your book first, and revisit some of the stuff I've read that could be relevant, and do a short write-up.



thank you!!


piqué

now in paperback:
[Linked Image]

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey
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