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Estonia Pianos
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TIL (Today I learned}...

That it sort of makes no sense to have this monogamous fixation over one piano maker because some piano pieces sound better on specific pianos.

Am I right or wrong?

https://youtu.be/T2GYYV8JSqM

Last edited by onaiplatigid; 07/18/20 01:08 AM.

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The basic tonal characteristics of some brands of piano when compared with that of others may differ. Therefore some artists may prefer an American Steinway for Romantic piano repertoire and others may prefer a Bösendorfer for Classical piano literature. The truth of the matter is that many artists and amateurs play repertoire from many eras but most of us can afford only one piano.

We have, therefore, to make a choice based on what pleases us most about a given instrument, regardless of brand, even though that may result in a compromise.

Regards,


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BruceD makes a very good point.
Also, the typical American Steinway has a fairly broad range of possibilities in terms of voicing, so it's kind of ignorant to put them all together as having the same tone. This holds true for other brands, to some extent as well, which is why concert halls will sometimes have a selection of two grands of the exact same brand and model. (of course, unless the hall is used extensively for 2-piano work, I much prefer having the choice of two different brands)


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I always felt that S&S sound "right" for pretty much anything which is not the case for all manufacturers but I'm happy to be persuaded otherwise.

On a sidenote: this is why I still prefer my digital stuff occasionally even though my acoustic feels better to play.

Still waiting for that high-tech acoustic instruments that can change its characteristics to my liking by the push of a button...

Last edited by Keybender; 07/19/20 05:22 AM.
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While the Steinway Model D, Bösendorfer Imperial, and Yamaha CFX sound quite different from each other, I can't imagine anyone feeling that any one of them is lacking.

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Not only does different music sound different and/or better on different pianos, some pianists playing the same repertoire sound better/different on different pianos.


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Originally Posted by johnstaf
While the Steinway Model D, Bösendorfer Imperial, and Yamaha CFX sound quite different from each other, I can't imagine anyone feeling that any one of them is lacking.


Those sounds very specific. Is Model D the best of the best by Steinway? Imperial for Bosendorfer?


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The make of piano does make a difference, but that's only one factor. There's the venue, the recording techniques if it's being recorded, the pianist, the piano technician, etc.

I've found that most new grand pianos in a certain price range can pretty much handle all the repertoire equally well, although there are strengths and weaknesses. Steinways of both factories have this ability to project a long sustained line to the back of even the largest halls. Basically every good pianist playing pretty much any repertoire sounds good on a concert-ready D from either factory.

Some people would say that Steinways aren't as clear as a Bösendorfer or a Blüthner, which is probably to some extent true, but then these two makes don't sound as unified, perhaps, as a Steinway. So for instance when you play a chord on a Steinway you hear a chord, but on the Bösendorfer or Blüthner you really hear the notes in the chord. The Fazioli is kind of similar in that respect but it has more of the projection of a Steinway. These are questions of aesthetics and personal taste. That Steinway sound is very rewarding to play on, it's kind of instantly gratifying, and it's very versatile.

Then of course, you can get the same pianist playing on different pianos and each piano inspires the pianist to play in a different way. When I'm playing a Bösendorfer or Blüthner, I like to play a little slower, and point the phrases a bit more, take more breaths if you like. When I'm playing the Steinway, and this is particularly true of the New York Steinway, I like to play in longer phrases. Someone else might respond differently to these pianos than I do, and it wouldn't be wrong. Again it's a question of aesthetics.


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Originally Posted by Keybender
I always felt that S&S sound "right" for pretty much anything which is not the case for all manufacturers but I'm happy to be persuaded otherwise.

On a sidenote: this is why I still prefer my digital stuff occasionally even though my acoustic feels better to play.

Still waiting for that high-tech acoustic instruments that can change its characteristics to my liking by the push of a button...

Remember "S&S" could also mean Stuart and Sons.

I've heard many jazz pianists prefer Yamaha for its brighter sound. I prefer Kawai, because to me it's the closest thing to Steinway sound without incurring Steinway cost.

I enjoy playing my Motif synth as well, and it's certainly true that such instruments allow an incredible degree of control over the sound. But I always gravitate back to the natural sonic beauty, and the playing experience, of the GX6, where I spend the vast majority of my musical hours. The Motif has great piano samples, but they can only be heard via headphones or speakers, which just don't approach the quality of a live acoustic piano.


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Originally Posted by MarianneØ
Originally Posted by Keybender
I always felt that S&S sound "right" for pretty much anything which is not the case for all manufacturers but I'm happy to be persuaded otherwise.

On a sidenote: this is why I still prefer my digital stuff occasionally even though my acoustic feels better to play.

Still waiting for that high-tech acoustic instruments that can change its characteristics to my liking by the push of a button...

Remember "S&S" could also mean Stuart and Sons.

I've heard many jazz pianists prefer Yamaha for its brighter sound. I prefer Kawai, because to me it's the closest thing to Steinway sound without incurring Steinway cost.

I enjoy playing my Motif synth as well, and it's certainly true that such instruments allow an incredible degree of control over the sound. But I always gravitate back to the natural sonic beauty, and the playing experience, of the GX6, where I spend the vast majority of my musical hours. The Motif has great piano samples, but they can only be heard via headphones or speakers, which just don't approach the quality of a live acoustic piano.

Or Steingräber & Söhne.
I absolutely second your opinion on Kawai, the sk series is just amazing. Too bad they don't do that for uprights, a shigeru kawai 118 would be my dream piano right now...

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Originally Posted by MarianneØ
Remember "S&S" could also mean Stuart and Sons.

I never understood the "and Sons" name. You mean the "Sons" are not "Steinway"s? Or am I missing something.

The "Kawai" name makes a lot more sense. The current president is their third generation leader. Grandfather, father, and now son, all are "Kawai"s.

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Originally Posted by noyes
[...]I never understood the "and Sons" name. You mean the "Sons" are not "Steinway"s? Or am I missing something.

[...]

I don't understand your question. A "son" is a second generation member of a family, while "sons" could mean successive generations, and the Steinway family started the company that we know today. A paragraph from Ronald V. Ratcliffe's book, Steinway (Chronicle Books, Los Angeles, 1989), should help clarify.

"A chronicle of the four generations of the Steinway family, who focused their energies, intellects, and talents to producing pianos that achieved international prominence, also defines the modern history of keyboard instruments in America."

In other words, the "sons" are (were) Steinway family members. So, surely, four generations of one family would justify adding "& Sons" to the Steinway name, wouldn't it?

Regards,


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The history of the Steinway family is too complex to be summarized in a couple of sentences. The very short version (lacking in precision) is that Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (b.1797, Wolfshagen, Germany) started manufacturing keyboard instruments as early as the 1820s; eventually, he was joined by three of his sons in the business: C.F. Theodor, Carl, and Heinrich, Jr. He was awarded a gold medal in 1839 for a grand fortepiano and two squares.

In early 1850, Heinrich, fearful of the effects of political uprisings in Germany and believing that business opportunities were better in the United States, emmigrated with some members of his family to New York, and was later joined by others of his sons. For reasons of expediency and to avoid pointed discrimination against German immigrants in the US, Heinrich and his three sons Americanized their names: Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg became Henry E. Steinway in the mid 1850s.

By 1860, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper noted the opening of the new Steinway piano factory, "... which can now boast of having the finest pianoforte store, probably, in the world."


Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
The history of the Steinway family is too complex to be summarized in a couple of sentences. The very short version (lacking in precision) is that Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (b.1797, Wolfshagen, Germany) started manufacturing keyboard instruments as early as the 1820s; eventually, he was joined by three of his sons in the business: C.F. Theodor, Carl, and Heinrich, Jr. He was awarded a gold medal in 1839 for a grand fortepiano and two squares.

In early 1850, Heinrich, fearful of the effects of political uprisings in Germany and believing that business opportunities were better in the United States, emmigrated with some members of his family to New York, and was later joined by others of his sons. For reasons of expediency and to avoid pointed discrimination against German immigrants in the US, Heinrich and his three sons Americanized their names: Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg became Henry E. Steinway in the mid 1850s.

By 1860, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper noted the opening of the new Steinway piano factory, "... which can now boast of having the finest pianoforte store, probably, in the world."


Regards,



I couldn't find a history of Grotrian pianos. My curiosity is what Grotrian pianos are by Henry. At what point did Grotrian pianos stopped used Henry's "technology"/ideas/designs?


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Originally Posted by onaiplatigid
[...]
I couldn't find a history of Grotrian pianos. My curiosity is what Grotrian pianos are by Henry. At what point did Grotrian pianos stopped used Henry's "technology"/ideas/designs?

Maybe this will help:

Grotrian-Steinweg

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by noyes
[...]I never understood the "and Sons" name. You mean the "Sons" are not "Steinway"s? Or am I missing something.

[...]

I don't understand your question. A "son" is a second generation member of a family, while "sons" could mean successive generations, and the Steinway family started the company that we know today. A paragraph from Ronald V. Ratcliffe's book, Steinway (Chronicle Books, Los Angeles, 1989), should help clarify.

"A chronicle of the four generations of the Steinway family, who focused their energies, intellects, and talents to producing pianos that achieved international prominence, also defines the modern history of keyboard instruments in America."

In other words, the "sons" are (were) Steinway family members. So, surely, four generations of one family would justify adding "& Sons" to the Steinway name, wouldn't it?

Regards,

Too late to edit this post, but it may be obvious from subsequent posts that the firm was started by Heinrich E. Steinweg and three of his sons at the outset, so "Steinway & Sons" was - can we assume? - the original name.

I wonder if someone has an answer to the question: "Why are Hamburg Steinway pianos labeled 'Steinway & Sons' in English, rather than in German?"

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by noyes
[...]I never understood the "and Sons" name. You mean the "Sons" are not "Steinway"s? Or am I missing something.

[...]

I don't understand your question. A "son" is a second generation member of a family, while "sons" could mean successive generations, and the Steinway family started the company that we know today. A paragraph from Ronald V. Ratcliffe's book, Steinway (Chronicle Books, Los Angeles, 1989), should help clarify.

"A chronicle of the four generations of the Steinway family, who focused their energies, intellects, and talents to producing pianos that achieved international prominence, also defines the modern history of keyboard instruments in America."

In other words, the "sons" are (were) Steinway family members. So, surely, four generations of one family would justify adding "& Sons" to the Steinway name, wouldn't it?

Regards,

Thanks for the clarification Bruce. I guess I didn't state my question clearly. I meant the name "XXX and Sons" sounded as if only the father could bear the "XXX" name, whereas in fact they (including father and sons) all had the same family name. In a sense it seemed the founder was purposefully establishing a legendary status, or creation myth, by separating himself from the "sons".

The question wasn't meant to be serious, but it gives rise to some interesting thoughts nevertheless. It may reflect some cultural difference between the west and east. In eastern culture family comes before an individual (therefore family name precedes given name), a father would be more proud to stand together with the "sons", and jointly they glorify the family name. In western culture is it that an individual is more important compared to the east (important such that given name precedes family name), so that it feels more natural for a founder to emphasize more on himself.

I cannot imagine Koichi Kawai (in fact Kawai Koichi to be precise) would ever think of naming his company "Kawai and Sons", or any eastern company for that matter. It's just not how eastern people think.

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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by noyes
[...]I never understood the "and Sons" name. You mean the "Sons" are not "Steinway"s? Or am I missing something.

[...]

I don't understand your question. A "son" is a second generation member of a family, while "sons" could mean successive generations, and the Steinway family started the company that we know today. A paragraph from Ronald V. Ratcliffe's book, Steinway (Chronicle Books, Los Angeles, 1989), should help clarify.

"A chronicle of the four generations of the Steinway family, who focused their energies, intellects, and talents to producing pianos that achieved international prominence, also defines the modern history of keyboard instruments in America."

In other words, the "sons" are (were) Steinway family members. So, surely, four generations of one family would justify adding "& Sons" to the Steinway name, wouldn't it?

Regards,

Too late to edit this post, but it may be obvious from subsequent posts that the firm was started by Heinrich E. Steinweg and three of his sons at the outset, so "Steinway & Sons" was - can we assume? - the original name.

I wonder if someone has an answer to the question: "Why are Hamburg Steinway pianos labeled 'Steinway & Sons' in English, rather than in German?"

Regards,

I would fancy a guess that by the time C.F. Theodore Steinway returned to Germany to set up the Hamburg factory, Steinway's HQ had been in New York and the company's name/brand has been in the anglicized version since the founding in US.

Last edited by Davdoc; 07/21/20 11:00 PM.

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